Head coach Ron Rivera and the Panthers are sitting at 5-0 as they prepare to take on the Eagles tonight. But, they aren't letting their record distract them from what is bound to be a big Sunday night matchup.
Rivera remembers what happened last season when the two teams met. Carolina was defeated 45-21 in Philadelphia, and the Eagles' defense was able to sack quarterback Cam Newton nine times. In 2015, the coach sees just as solid of a defense as he did then.
"I'll tell you what I see. You see some high-energy guys," Rivera said this week during a conference call with Philadelphia reporters. "They're quick off the ball. They're physical at the point of attack. They do a nice job holding the point. Again, I think what they're doing over there are some solid things as far as their defense is concerned."
However, one of the biggest differences between last season's meeting and this season is Newton himself. In 2014, the quarterback was working to come back from an ankle injury, and the team wasn't utilizing his running abilities.
The same cannot be said for 2015. The Eagles defense' will be facing a very different Newton.
"I think the big thing about Cam, more so than anything else, is his growth. He is our franchise quarterback," Rivera said. "We made the commitment to him with the initial draft, picking him No. 1, but then we made the commitment again this past summer by signing him to a long-term contract. He is our franchise quarterback. He's been the guy who made plays, made things happen. He's at the heart of what we do on the offensive side. We've tailored our offense for the most part to his abilities and skill set."
The coach also took the time to look at the Eagles' offense. He sees how dynamic Philadelphia can be and recognizes that the team is hot coming into this game.
In his mind, it's going to take time for all the new parts to come together, which the Eagles are beginning to do now.
"What Coach (Chip) Kelly does, I'm an admirer of it. I like the tempo and I like the pace. I think he does a nice job," Rivera said. "I like some of the personnel he has and just trying to get everybody acclimated and fitted into the right spots is probably a chore because it's a dynamic and explosive offense and there's a lot of little nuances these guys have to learn. They've got to learn to get used to each other, and again, I do agree. Philly fans are impatient, but the one thing they are is Philly fans."
To hear the full Rivera conference call, click play on the embedded video above.