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October 01, 2007

Jenkins discusses state of team; Peppers talks, too

The two biggest names on the defensive line talked Monday. First, we’ll run the transcript of Kris Jenkins session with the media. Once you get through that, you’ll see a word-by-word account of Julius Peppers interview:


Q. What kind of reaction did you get on yesterday’s comments?
A. There’ve been some conversations. I felt like what I said needed to be said. I’ve been here for awhile. It becomes frustrating when you see things happening the same way over and over again and the issues don’t get taken care of. We’re better than that. The team as a whole is better than that. If it was something that I felt we were mediocre as far as the talent we had and we just couldn’t get it done, I’d keep my mouth shut. I know we can do better than that. I know we have what it takes to get to the Super Bowl, but we just have to exercise it. That’s what came out yesterday, that frustration, that intensity.

I know I’m not the perfect person. I know that I haven’t done everything by the book and some people look at me as being a rebel or whatever, but when it’s all said and done, the things that I’m asked by this organization to do that are mandatory and require me to be here, I come and I give them 100 percent. I’m pretty sure they demand 100 percent of me, so I have to demand 100 percent of myself and my teammates. It’s just not something I can come in here and say, "Oh, everything’s cool." I’m not a captain, but a lot of the younger guys look up to me for leadership. It wouldn’t be right for me to give them anything less than that.

Q. Did any teammates or coaches take exception to what you said?
A. What do you mean?
Q. Any negative response?
A. I think it was all positive. I’ll be honest with you. I’ve been having a lot of conversations over the course of this day and they’ve been positive. We took a long look at the film and we collectively looked at how we can make ourselves better. I think that’s a big step forward. We’re policing ourselves and I feel like we are starting to do what it takes and hopefully it will show the next time we step out on the field, especially when we step out on the field in front of our home crowd. We would love for them to be able to see that progress. We’re going to get after it.

Q. Did you have any conversations with Mr. Richardson?
When? Today? No, the only players you see here right now are the players and the coaches. When you look at football the way I do, this is still a family. If you have moments when you’re upset, you still need to talk through those and let people understand where you’re really at and for you to know where they’re really at as well, because you can’t build and move on if you sit there and have a little hissy-fit. We’re better than that as men and we just need to honor that.

Q. Did you initiate some of those conversations?
A. Honestly, I’ve been here for awhile. This is my seventh season and I’ve never done anything like this before. To tell you the truth, this isn’t me. Talking and running my mouth, that’s not me. I enjoy being in my own little corner and I enjoy having peace and quiet. I just like football. I don’t play for my family to eat, I play because I love it. I don’t feel like I owe anybody anything, but to play the game the way that I know how to. That was the reason that I was brought here and I want to continue to do that. Now, I forgot what the point was I was trying to make. What was the question?

Q. Did you initiate those conversations?
A. There were both. Some guys wanted to know what was on my mind. I’ve been here when we were 1-15 with Seifert. I was here the second season where we were 7-9, but you could see it coming together. I was here for the Super Bowl and even though I was hurt in ’04 and ’05, I knew what was going on. I know what we look like when all cylinders are firing.

My thing was I really didn’t see anybody else doing it and I kind of felt like, "Well, if I don’t say anything, I’m just as guilty as anybody else." It wasn’t me trying to bash anybody or drag the team down or anything. I just want what’s best for my team. When the offseason comes, that’s when I have to do what’s best for me and my family. But when the season’s in and I’m here, it’s what’s best for the team.

Regardless of what my viewpoint on the business side of it is to everybody else, that doesn’t matter once it’s in this locker room. The business part needs to subside a little bit, that’s when football begins. It’s not about the business all the time. If you’re doing what you’re supposed to do, playing the game and loving it, the business is going to take care of itself. If you’re really being responsible about that, playing with your heart, being mindful of what partying and going out and doing all of that stuff does and how it affects the game and everything, you’re going to do a pretty good job of policing yourself and doing what needs to be done.

Q. You talked about being here through 1-15. Are the signs you’ve seen through four games as discouraging as that?
A. If we were 1-15, I’d probably be hanging off of something right now. I don’t think I could take another one of those. I don’t think we’re there, but I think it’s like this: If you’re not doing what you need to for that Super Bowl, what’s the point of doing it? If we’re not playing at that caliber, why are we playing? Why are we going through the motions. You can just sit back and hope that doing this and doing that will get you by each week and, then, at one point it’s just going to magically come together and just take off. That wasn’t what happened the year we went. We fought to the end and we made plays when they needed to be made. It wasn’t anything special. We just did what we had to do and let the rest take care of itself.

Q. Did any part in front of you want to say the things you said yesterday to the team and in a closed environment?
A. No. At the time, what I felt was that sometimes when you say things behind closed doors, it’s easy to just kind of let things pass on. If everybody knows what’s going on, you’ve got to hold yourself accountable. I’m not the type of person that won’t say to (the media) that I won’t say to the person himself. I talk to everybody and everybody’s known how I've felt since training camp, since before the season. The whole trade thing? That’s what I had to deal with. It’s been on my mind. It’s been expressed within the team. The season’s here now and things weren’t getting addressed. I just felt like if it’s not getting handled within the team, just put it in the paper and that way it has to be addressed.

Q. Do your statements put more pressure on you?
A. What I went through this offseason for deciding to stand up and honor myself, it couldn’t get any worse. I caught a lot of pressure, lot of flak, lot of bad press and whatever for doing what I felt was best for me. I didn’t come back screaming at anybody. I accepted it for what it was. I’m a football player. I’m not your media person. I’m not going to sit here and talk to you and say all the good things. I’m here to play. Sunday, I show up. After that, I go about my business.

Q. Do you still stand by everything you said?
A. Yeah, I still stand by everything I said. This is the easiest way to put it: If it was right or if it was wrong, that has yet to be determined. We’ll work through it. If I owe anybody any apologies, those will come out. But I felt like what was said needed to be said. I have no problem standing on it.

Q. Hey, Julius, you got a minute?
A. I gotta meeting right now.

Posted by Observer Sports on October 1, 2007 at 07:35 PM | Permalink


Who does he have a meeting with? It sure as heck isn't anyone that has a football in his hands.

Posted by: PeppersSucks | Oct 1, 2007 8:06:01 PM

Haha, Peppers interview bit was funny. I was actually expecting some information.

Posted by: Peppers would beat your ass punk | Oct 1, 2007 8:20:19 PM

At what point in your journalism education did someone teach you that the best way to report stories is by harassing people? Do you think you're being funny? Do you think your petty pokes at Pep are helping inform anyone better?

To clarify, I think Pep should be held accountable for his lackluster play thus far. However, I find it ironic that you post Jenkins' comments about honor and responsibility in the same article as this shameful ridicule. You're better than that, Pat. At least, I thought you were.

I've been wrong before.

Do you think your jab at Pep undercuts the real weight of what Jenkins is doing? I sure do. Get over yourself- you're not funny.

Posted by: Jon | Oct 1, 2007 8:22:03 PM

I would go into stealth mode by holding a football so that he would not be able to touch me.

Posted by: PeppersSucks | Oct 1, 2007 8:27:03 PM

I just hope he had a meeting with a Doctor or a sports pysch.Get this man some red meat quick!Get his killer instinct back.Us true fans still support you even if you where a Tar Heel.:)

Posted by: Peppers is still n.c.'z finest | Oct 1, 2007 8:32:20 PM

Could one of you reports find out what kind of VIRUS julius had or has?

I attend all of the panther games in the upper level. We just shook our head yesterday at all of the commercials we had to endure. The PA announcer is so engrossed in his advertising schedule, he called several players the wrong name.

Can some of you fans who have visited other NFL stadiums describe the experience related to the music, commercials, and environment.

Mr. Richardson how much would my ticket cost to come to a game and see the game, replays, energy music, and NO COMMERCIALS?

Posted by: kevin | Oct 1, 2007 8:55:26 PM

Kris Jenkins is saying the kinds of things Ray Lewis or even Mike Minter might say.

Felt the Peppers piece might have been a little cheap. But that aside, what HAS Pep done to lead? The man ain't Sam Mills, that's for dang sure.

Posted by: Ben | Oct 1, 2007 9:09:14 PM

Now Kris Jenkins knows how to EXECUTE.

Posted by: Execute | Oct 1, 2007 9:31:05 PM

you know it's funny. i love our team, Is it acceptable to just wear a uniform. Steve dropped a ball, okay, he also broke five tackles. Peppers, i am confused, but not worried. the team is almost like it's rebuilding, with all the new players in positions i do think that we should seriously upgrade the secondary. where is Marshall, what about the safeties, hardhitting and can't cover, maybe they need to be on the Dline, but last i checked you have to be able to cover to play back there. wasted draft picks, jarrett caught the ball, hint specialize more plays for him then work things in for the others, the guy could be special work with him instead of around him. jenkins i like him, but what will it fix. Cowher, i like him but how many superbowls did he win. Fox, just needs maybe to face reality. AND LOOK AT OUR DEFENSE NEW PEOPLE MORE THAN ONE AT ANY POSITIONS MEANS REBUILDING, Offense, GIVE THE COORDINATOR TIME, BUT THE WIDEOUTS IF YOU CAN'T CATCH PLAY DB. OTHER THAN THAT YOU PAY TO MUCH MONEY FOR PEOPLE THAT CAN'T CATCH ON A REGULAR BASES. LAST THING, THE COLTS WILL SLAY US, BECAUSE THEY HAVE THE PASSING GAME AND WO THAT CAN CATCH. you can lie to a lot of people but don't lie to ur self.

Posted by: panta4life | Oct 1, 2007 9:50:15 PM

Thanks, Pat, for providing us with the insights that PEPPERS wanted us to know. He had time and the capacity to fill us in on why the "best defensive player in the NFL" has only been close enough to the QB to record a hurry on ONE OCCASION during ALL FOUR GAMES! That's unacceptable, and it's really not new. As for you people who whine about the double-coverages and dropping back off the line, read the review and weep. That ain't the case.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Oct 1, 2007 10:05:24 PM

Maybe Pep is expending all that energy chasing tail at all hours...he certainly has looked weak against all comers this year. One on one, he gets driven whichever way the offensive guys chooses. Maybe he is a beast.....with the ladies, not on the field. He certainly has not earned his cash this year. See Jenkins comments about partying? If anybody would know, wouldn't it be Jenkins?

Posted by: Roddy Wilbanks | Oct 1, 2007 10:17:58 PM

Great piece Pat, seriously. It's nice to just hear (read it straight from the horse's mouth at times).

The 'shot' at Peppers that some mention is funny. It wasn't a 'shot' at all, I thought it was funny & harmless; you didn't berate him for goodness sake. Get over it & laugh everyone! Just because the team is going South doesn't mean we have to. They need to loosen up & play ball & we need to just loosen up!

I like these interview segments Pat. Thanks again!

Posted by: PantherAttax | Oct 1, 2007 10:20:49 PM

Pat, great article! I can't tell you how pleased I was reading Kris' comments after the game. It's obvious there is a huge void left, especially in the defense, in leadership since Mike Minter retired. Julius needs to get over his Ricky Williams disease soon, he's just asking for pieces like this one when he never talks!

Posted by: itsaboutTime | Oct 1, 2007 10:59:31 PM

"...if I don’t say anything, I’m just as guilty as anybody else." I am glad somebody on this team is learning what leadership is all about. It's a shame Fox probably wants to cut him worse than ever.

Very good interview Pat. I am glad someone in the media is trying to pry answers out of this aloof wall of silence we keep getting from the team. Sometimes I think the journalists have the same issues as the Panthers and lack tenacity; however, the shot at Peppers was cheap. You could have made the point by saying Peppers declined to interview. It doesn't make you more a man to show him up in print.

Posted by: Dave | Oct 1, 2007 11:11:03 PM

hire les miles as new coach ...lsu is run like a pro team anyway...please not bil cowher with his blowers cramp....at least this staff will be gone

Posted by: chris | Oct 1, 2007 11:30:46 PM

So far 1 win 1 loss, 1 win 1 loss...Next 6 games all losses and last 6 games 1 win 1 loss 1 win 1 loss 1 win 1 loss 1 win 1 loss.... Season 5-9.
Next Year Fox, Defensive guy and ST coach all gone and with Cowler or Marty and good defensive coordinator/ST Coach, good draft, trades and free agency....we'll be in Super Bowl Baby!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Cats' Fan | Oct 1, 2007 11:52:36 PM

WOW....Cat's Fan...would you throw your wife or girlfriend under the bus so fast..?? Fox is not going anywhere, I love your predictions...true fan, that you are...LOL

Posted by: Mickey | Oct 2, 2007 12:21:31 AM

It is so disheartning to watch a team fall apart the way our guys did Sunday. I commend Jenkins for standing up and taking leadership, the question is, is it too little too late. If delhomme is out again against the Saints, these guys have to rally around each other and figure something out. Otherwise we are looking at a long season. I know we have been there before, but the Cardiac Cats just don't have as much heart in it as they did in '03. Then they rallied around Jake. Well, if Jake is out, then find a new identity. Rally around each other. You can't cling to the past forever.

Posted by: chad | Oct 2, 2007 12:24:43 AM

Peppers is not right physically. Anybody watching him can tell. Anyone who thinks this reflects his "typical" play and that no one else has been watching is lying to themselves. He has no energy, strength, and does not even have his speed. He is a shell of himself. It's not him being lazy. It gives us something to vent about to pretend that it is, but it is not true.

It's fine that we need locker room leaders, but why don't we start by addressing the HIRED LEADERS of Fox and Hurney. How the Observer continues to let Fox slide while feasting off of Peppers' introvertedness is weak journalism (not that sports journalism even exist anymore in this shock jock society) at best.

It was interesting to watch MNF and listen to various folks talk about the re-emergence of Randy Moss as he does not have the pressure to take on the leadership role on his own as he did in Oakland. He can work hard, be an example, lead AT TIMES vocally, but focus more on being a dominant force for the team and doing what he can to help them win. Why could the Panthers (Jerry Richardson) not be smart enough to let Peppers do this and be who he is and help the team that way? Why must they deflect the leadership issues of the folks up top (Fox/Hurney) onto Peppers? Everyone is not a natural primary leader and not everyone does it in the same way. It would be nice to see the Observer go after the top of the Panthers (owner, GM, and Coach) the way they do after players. Instead, YOU play right into the status quo that has made us stagnant since the Super Bowl run.

Why not discuss letting yet ANOTHER productive linebacker (Draft, after Witherspoon) go based on unsuccessful HOPES that Morgan could be healthy again? Why not discuss the fact that the team's overall lethargic personality is EXACTLY like its coach's? Why not discuss the fact that under the coach the Panthers have ALWAYS struggled when the lights were on (prime time) and when they had any expectations under the coach (being favored, at home, etc.)? Why not discuss how the conservative approach of the coach has never allowed us to put away teams and how it no longer even guarantees us staying in games?

Nah, I know Big Cat and the boys won't stand for that. Instead we must continually scapegoat players (Delhomme, Keyshawn, Peppers, etc.). That's all find and dandy when you REALLY can pin something to a single player. When it extends to the full team and BOTH sides of the ball, c'mon.

Posted by: Attack the real culprit | Oct 2, 2007 2:36:00 AM

I have to agree with Jon... Pat needs to lay off of the (what seems personal) attacks on the Panther franchise! I understand that there are problems, but one of the biggest problems this organization has is reporters like Pat encouraging the masses to hate on the Panthers. The consequence of his actions and people like him shows on game day, for one, when the fans begin to boo in the second quarter. All this negativity will bring a team down. Furthermore, if Pat gets what he has been paid for to promote (The firing of Fox and hiring of Dom Capers) who is to say that in year two, Pat will not be doing the same to the "new team." I do know this is the Carolinas where people are born and raised to loathe others (successful or otherwise) but a little encouragement instead of alot of redundant criticism will go a long way in the right direction.

Posted by: SYRPIS | Oct 2, 2007 3:09:44 AM

I wrote yesterday & I'll say it again, the Observer Sports team is handling this in an unprofessional manner. It's one thing to be "objective," as they claim to be, and another thing to take cheap shots at easy targets because they can. Peppers is not a talkative guy. Being a leader does not mean spending time with the Media. I think it's sour grapes on the part of Pat, Scott, Tom, etc. because they aren't getting the quotes and the inside scoop that they want.
And for the record, the Observer's "Peppers' Plays" in yesterday's paper? A waste of space, and a classless move. They should be ashamed.

Posted by: mm | Oct 2, 2007 6:39:10 AM

The Peppers bit was not a cheap shot! The point is the man is a captain and supposed to be a leader on defense. When things are going this poorly for your unit someone needs to step to the mic and be held accountable. Remember these guys play football for a living not because they're entitled to it, but because we pay them to. Jenkins is showing the traits of a leader. Pep, I love ya but you gotta step up, and if you don't and your defense doesn't, accept responsibility. Thanks Pat!

Posted by: Josh | Oct 2, 2007 6:50:39 AM

You know, back when Minter retired and Jerry Richardson called out Peppers - I thought "uh-oh". The kind of leadership this team needs right now is not the kind of leadership Peppers can provide based on what I know about him, and I could easily see how the pressure put on him could be affecting his play. The kind of leadership we need right now, is the kind of leadership Jenkins provided on Sunday by calling the rest of the team to the carpet.

Leaders emerge, you don't point your finger at a guy and say "your turn". Mike Minter emerged as a leader on this team, that was a role he was comfortable with.

I don't like the insinuation in this article that Peppers is somehow disengaged or feel no responsibility to talk to the media. This reminds me of a Michael Moore interview tactic, he busts into your office and asks for an interview - and when you don't give it to him on the spot the insinuation is that he's hiding, or he's afraid to talk to the press.

Let's stop ripping up Peppers, the guy isn't playing well right now - but we've got enough talent on this team that we should be able to pick up the slack.

Posted by: Dave | Oct 2, 2007 7:12:07 AM

Its obvious that the Observer has some sort of personel vendetta against Peppers; Why should he speak to the media? He has no obligation whatsoever to you guys!!!

Posted by: mattdaddy | Oct 2, 2007 7:54:09 AM

Actually, what the Panthers need from Peppers are great plays on the field, not rah-rah speeches. And unfortunately this year, he has not made great plays on the field.

Posted by: Charles Futrell | Oct 2, 2007 8:55:21 AM

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