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Tomlin on mobile QBs, Panthers

Q. When you look back at the players who have been categorized as "mobile quarterbacks" during your time in the NFL, who's the best?

A. I thought young Michael Vick created more problems than anybody ever has from a running or running ability standpoint at that position. From a preparation standpoint – and I'm not talking about how it might sort out once you get inside the stadium – the problems that those skill-sets create, Vick has been the most challenging. But I've seen him a lot, and so he created a lot of vivid memories.

Q. Do you subscribe to the theory that mobile quarterbacks cannot win big in the NFL?

A. I really don't. I think you have to have a balanced skill-set. If you're a quarterback, you have to be able to throw the football, your arm strength has to be above-the-line, and you have to be highly accurate. All of the other things that come with it assist you in doing your job. If you happen to run a 4.2 or a 4.3 (in the 40-yard dash) that happens to be a big-time assist.

Q. Is there a general Achilles heel in the games of these kinds of quarterbacks? Is there something a defense will try to exploit as a general rule?

A. I really think it's individual. You look at all of the guys' abilities to sort and read zone coverage, do they have the pinpoint accuracy to succeed against man coverage? How do they handle pressure – perimeter pressure, interior pressure? A checklist of things you go through to prepare for a quarterback, but it doesn't necessarily have to do with their physical skill-set. It's about how they mentally respond to things they see in the game, and that's what you work to exploit. You acknowledge the physical talents, but in terms of how you attack them, you really look closely at some of the things they can't handle well mentally.

Q. Do mobile quarterbacks, because they are mobile, fall back on their running ability too quickly?

A. It's different per guy. I've seen some guys who are very mobile who don't want to get type-cast, so they probably stay in the pocket longer than they should. That's always interesting to me. That's like the guy who rejects his God-given talent. You see some of that in football, but generally it's different from guy to guy. I deal with them on an individual basis, and I think that's the appropriate way.

Q. When you decide to make a lineup change not relating to injury, is it more about the replacement, or more about the guy being replaced? In other words, does a player have to lose his job?

A. It's all of the above. The alternative is always an element of the decision, but sometimes the performance is such that it dictates a change regardless of the alternative. It's inter-related, and one is weighed more heavily than the other, depending on circumstance.

Q. As a coach, do you believe in the strategy of taking an opponent out of the equation, such as not punting the football to a guy like Devon Hester?

A. Yes. I've been in the NFC North. We were going to play the Chicago Bears, and we talked all week about not punting the ball to that guy. We punted the ball down the middle of the field, he ran it back like 80 yards for a touchdown, and we lost, 17-14. How often do certain guys have to do it before you believe they have a unique skill-set and they're game-changers? If a guy has proven he's a game-changer, I don't want him to kick him the ball.

Q. Have you ever given that order?

A. Absolutely.

Q. What have you seen from Cam Newton while watching the Carolina video?

A. The same things he has shown on tape last year. He's a multi-dimensional threat. He's a great pocket passer, he can make all the throws on the field. He has great arm strength. He also developed some touch on the intermediate routes, so we have to do a great job on those 18-to-20-yard dig routes down the field because that's what he likes to throw. He also has the unique or distinguishing characteristic of being able to run. They do it by design, or they also do it ad lib as plays break down. He's a tough guy to deal with.

Q. Does Jerricho Cotchery still have some gas left in his tank?

A. Jerricho is a good football player who becomes a great situational football player. He's good in the slot. His game isn't predicated on speed, but he's very good above the neck. He's a very savvy, veteran football player.

Q. How has Carolina built their plus-six turnover ratio so far in 2014?

A. It starts with being able to take care of the football. They do a great job of taking care of the ball – they don't throw interceptions and don't put the ball on the ground. That puts them in situations where their defense can be opportunistic. They get opponents behind the chains, and then it's tipped passes, sack-fumbles, interceptions. One of the premises of what they do defensively is they're a spot-drop zone defensive team. That means everybody in coverage has their eyes on the quarterback, so tipped balls are less likely to hit the ground vs. a group like this than a group that plays man-to-man.

Q. How does the absence of Greg Hardy impact their defensive line?

A. Much like I preach to our guys – one man's misfortune is another man's opportunity – and Hardy's situation has created an opportunity for Mario Addison, who's delivering in a big way. He had 2.5 sacks last week and is a very disruptive force, one we have to reckon with. They are an attacking, penetrating gap-elimination defense that plays a multitude of people. They play seven or eight guys up front defensively.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the Panthers' two first-round picks at linebacker – Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis?

A. Those are two good football players. They attack and penetrate from the front, and they have a soft, umbrella-like zone, if you will, in the secondary, and what that creates is that a lot of the football gets funneled to those two men. And they cover a lot of ground. They're both high instinct football players, and they're both highly productive.

Q. Do you expect Lance Moore to make an impact tonight?

A. We're going to give him an opportunity. Like I stressed to him this week, we have learned to live without him during the course of his injury, and it's his job to infuse himself back into our plan.

Q. Did the problems that surfaced in the second half in the Cleveland game carry over into the game against the Ravens?

A. No, really, it was a different set of problems. It was about the speed and communication in the second half against Cleveland, and in Baltimore we just didn't do a good enough job of tackling.

Q. Is the problem fixable in the short-term?

A. Absolutely it is. We had a good week of work, and I'm excited about watching those guys take this next step and play in the football game, particularly in the area we just talked about.

Q. You team has incurred 20 penalties in the first two games. How do you get that situation corrected?

A. I look at each one individually. Obviously there is an emphasis on playing within the rules, and some of them have been points of emphasis of the officiating department over the course of the year. Some of them are poor technique, and quite frankly, some of them are questionable calls.

Q. What positives have you noticed developing over the first two weeks of this season?

A. We're continuing to develop roles, or divisions of labor within our units, and I like the growth and development of our special teams particularly. That group included a lot of first-year players a year ago, and now we have a lot of second-year players and that's showing. Largely, it's been just the division of labor with guys getting comfortable with where they fit into the big scheme of things, particularly in situational football.

Q. Is Brad Wing showing himself to be an NFL punter?

A. I believe so. He has done some really good things for us in the first two ballgames, not only in terms of red zone punting but also in directional punting. His hang-time has been sufficient. I like the look in his eyes – the situations aren't too big for him. I'm excited about his future.

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