The Panthers went 2-14 last year. That must have been the longest season of your life.
"It was very frustrating. You put in all that time and energy to have a good season and things didn't turn out the way you wanted. It was a miserable season. The practices are longer, the days are longer and the nights are longer. It almost got to the point where it wasn't fun to come into work. Almost. I'm a professional athlete, so I know I've got to come to work and get better each day."
What was the worst part?
"I think when I got injured in week 9. I wasn't able to go out there and fight with my guys. If we're going to go down then we're going to go down together as a family. No matter how bad it got, you never want to be on the sidelines when your guys are out there."
What's the difference between former Panthers coach John Fox and current Panthers coach Ron Rivera?
"The practices and the tempo of the week are totally different. It's a new approach and a new philosophy. Ron has been here before. He's been a player, he knows what it takes to win a championship. He's actually a pretty fiery guy. It might not seem like it when he's on the sideline, but he's intense. He tells it to you straight, which I like."
You've been a left tackle and left guard in the NFL. What's the biggest difference?
"The space you have to work with. Some guys will talk about the size and athleticism of the guys you go up against, but that doesn't matter to me. It's the space you have to work with. You're going to get your faster guys on the end and your bigger guys in the middle, but it's still about technique and pad level and leverage. You've got more space when you're a tackle and none when you're a guard."
You played against Julius Peppers last year when he was with Chicago. What was it like to face a former teammate?
"It was a huge challenge. You knew what he was capable of. He's such a great athlete and he's a professional on every play. I got to hit him a couple of times. I went against him in practice a lot, so it wasn't that different for me."
Cam Newton has thrown for 800 yards in the first two games. Did anyone expect that?
"He's setting NFL records, so I'd be lying if I said I thought he'd throw for 400 yards in two straight games. He's very dedicated. He wants to learn, he wants to get better, he wants to succeed and that makes everyone around him work harder. The guy's a winner, bottom line. He's very enthusiastic. We're trying to protect him, so he can do his thing."
What's Cam like in the huddle?
"He's actually very calm, very composed and focused. He gets the call, he makes his reads and he makes good decisions. He's really relaxed, he doesn't get riled up. He's very poised. He just goes out there and plays hard. I know a lot of people didn't think he could do it, but we believe in Cam. I think it gives the franchise and the city of Charlotte hope for the future."