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October 26, 2007

Testaverde to start: Does it matter?

   Some quick thoughts on John Fox's decision to start Vinny Testaverde at quarterback on Sunday:

   Fox said David Carr's back isn't 100-percent healthy and that may be entirely true and the biggest factor in this decision. Obviously, if Testaverde is the healthier of the quarterbacks you've got to go with him.

   But you can't help but wonder if there is some other reasoning behind this. Maybe Fox really is buying into the hot hand theory and sticking with a guy who got him a win in Arizona. Maybe this really is an indictment of Carr, even though Fox says it's not.

   Or maybe - and this is the theory I am leaning toward - Fox realizes it doesn't matter all that much who he starts against the undefeated Indianapolis Colts, a team that battered Carr in his prior life in Houston.

   Maybe Fox is thinking it's best to take a shot with Testaverde while the iron is hot. If it works, it's a brilliant move. If it doesn't, the worst-case scenario is that Testaverde takes the lumps from the Colts, the fan base cools on a soon-to-be-44-year-old quarterback, Carr gets another week to get completely healthy and slides back into the starting lineup the following week against Tennessee.

-- Pat Yasinskas

Posted by Observer Sports on October 26, 2007 at 03:19 PM | Permalink


I think Fox is trying to ride Vinny until Vinny bucks him, and try to preserve the confidence of David Carr. Face it, if Carr gets to the point where he doens't think the staff has confidence in him, then he starts thinking that as well, any money and picks tied up with him are a waste at that point. The guy was beat to hell in Houston, and he was a top pick for some reason, he just needs time to re-find his comfort zone. It would help if he would drop the hipster dufus hairdo, soul patch and Euro-trash clothing. What does that have to do with his play? Nothing, but if I have to see him on TV I don't want him to embarrass me as the QB of my team. Dave babe, you are not 19 any more. Is Morgan playing or not?

Posted by: Willy | Oct 26, 2007 3:57:02 PM

How's that crow taste?

Posted by: Anthony | Oct 26, 2007 4:05:12 PM

I think Fox just reads the paper, sees which way Stan Olson guesses, and then makes him look stupid by picking the other option.

Posted by: Authority on Everything | Oct 26, 2007 4:07:07 PM

Give Stan and Pat a break. Fox has got to be one tough read. He doesn't give the press anything (and that is to his credit in my opinion) but these guys have a job to do and getting any information has got to be tough. Stan had to guess. Hell, there was nothing else to write about. I would like to find out more about why Jarrett has no playing time. Do the coaches think he is stupid? Why wouldn't you have played a pick you invested this much in by now?

Posted by: Willy | Oct 26, 2007 4:16:37 PM

Stan's fine, he was guessing\giving his opinion and I can respect that. My comment was directed squarely at Pat for coming out last week and egotistically saying "David Carr will start" as though it was a confirmed fact and not just his opinion.

Posted by: Anthony | Oct 26, 2007 4:32:27 PM

I don't think this is an indictment of David Carr in the least bit. He's only done what he's been asked to do, and that was to win after Jake left the game. Fox has confidence in all of his players--he's not the type of coach or person to veil a move that would assume he has less confidence in Carr by starting Vinny. I think he understands that with the experience of Testaverde, his team has a better chance of winning regardless of his specific experience with the Panthers. Those who would side with the argument that this is an indictment of Carr are, I believe, ignorant of Fox's personality, not only as a coach, but as a person. I'm not saying I know him personally, and maybe I'm assuming a bit much here, but I honestly do not believe he would do this in such a "sketchy" manner as to try and make a point about David Carr's abilities.

Posted by: bone | Oct 26, 2007 5:03:57 PM

Hooray Hooray Hooray .... VT gets the start; maybe the coaches are finally opening their eyes and seeing what everyone else sees, which is the fact that VT is a better QB than Carr. Prhaps this is a premature assumption, but VT seemes to be a much more effificient QB than Carr is. Lets put performance aside and focus on the momentum aspect that VT brings to the Carolina Panthers. Momentum is hard to come by in the NFL, but VT seemed to deliver this elusive momentum that the Panthers' offense has been trying to find all season. Carr coulndn't inspire momentum if his life depended on it. When Carr is orchestrating the offense, it seemes to be dull and ineffective . I enjoyed the Arizona game so much, and it made me feel like I was watching a real football team. If VT can keep the Panthers' offense moving at the same pace as he did in the Arizona game, then I will be a happy camper. Lets say VT starts playing bad, then we can always go back to Carr, but lets ride the VT wave as long as we can.

Posted by: Ace | Oct 26, 2007 5:12:40 PM

I think Vinny gives us the best shot on Sunday...and so does Fox. He doesnt care about the colts and what they have done so he will go in expecting to win the game like the rest of the panthers should...Carr is probably still twitching from all the hits he took in Houston..All we have to do is blitz and keep them off the field so our running game has to be on! If not, long day for the cats and another loss at home!

Posted by: pantherpat | Oct 26, 2007 5:14:48 PM

Iknow this, if we can beat the Colts and Elvis' lost baby at QB, we could turn a significant corner. I will celebrate by having some delicious Bojangles chicken while waiving my VIC card in the air and drinking a non-alcoholic beverage while staying seating.

Posted by: Willy | Oct 26, 2007 5:16:48 PM

Matt Moore is better than VT and DC. Fox doesn't like to stick rookies in that position ie. Dwayne Jarret. He prefers experience. Fox just can't pull the trigger for the rookis. That's ok with me. Just win baby! Matt will be fighting for the starting spot next year anyways.

Posted by: Billy | Oct 26, 2007 5:43:11 PM

Call me slow in catching up on the news, but when did they confirm that David Carr had a compression fracture? I try to catch up on all NFL news, especially the Panthers daily. And I had not read that anywhere until today. Now it seems to be everywhere except on the Panthers or Charlotte Observer sites.....How did I miss reading that Carr's injury was a compression fracture?
And yes, I'm glad it is Vinny starting!!!!

Posted by: Brenda | Oct 26, 2007 6:15:31 PM

You won't beat the Colts. Not being a jerk but how many weeks has Vinny thrown to these QB's? Manning has had the same offense for 10 years. Same o-line coach. The Colts are a power grind out long drive team now but can still go deep when an option. Their D is ranked #3 in scoring and losing their corners and linebacker June was good because they have more physical, faster replacements. #3 Offense and #3 defense and a team that has won 11 in a row dating before last year playoffs. Good luck.

Posted by: Bentframe | Oct 26, 2007 6:17:46 PM

Hey Willy, if you are sitting in the lower
level I hope you don't feel awkward when
they point at you and say, " Look at that
underling I can't believe he's cheering!!

Posted by: lvislivs | Oct 26, 2007 7:14:04 PM

It's really amusing how gullible people are. VT has played ONE game! A really good game considering all the factors against it. But nevertheless, just ONE game. And you would think it was the Second Coming, and VT was going to lead us to the Promised Land (i.e., the Super Bowl).

Take a deep breath, and THINK. This VT was a QB that no other team in the NFL wanted on their team just a couple of months ago, not even as a backup QB. That's 64 QBs rated above him! And counting the extra QBs some teams carry, that's probably more like 70+.

Now do some really DEEP thinking. Who was the last team to beat the Colts and when? Well, lo and behold, it was the Houston Texans in December 2006! Now, this will be a tough one -- but guess who was the Texans' QB in that game? No, it wasn't Santa Claus, it was David Carr. Yeah, that David Carr.

In fact, with the sorriest O-line in the NFL, no running game, maybe one good receiver, David Carr, in his last 3 starts against the Colts, completed 54-of-74 passes (73%) for 520 yards and FIVE TDs with ZERO interceptions for a 114.7 passer rating. That's an average of 9.6 yards per completion.

So, sure, we want VT for our QB. He's gonna take us to the Super Bowl! Who's David Carr? Matt Moore is better than he is!

Posted by: NewPantherFan | Oct 26, 2007 7:15:17 PM

Willy, you're retarded...the reasons Jarrett have not played have been written about ad nauseum, and playbook knowledge is far from the only thing.
Richard Williamson (our WRs coach, since you probably don't know): "He's got to get better at route running. We have a sense of urgency around here. Everything has got to be quick. You have to move and be quick and get away from the press and things like that. He needs to work on all of that. He has a big body, so you can't be a Tinkerbell out there. You have to be like a bull in the closet. He's got a big body, now use it. Knock those guys around and get off the line of scrimmage and do what you have to do."
Brenda, the AP report about the "compression fracture" is incorrect. The direct quote from Carr was that his back had been "squished" the AP made the leap to "compression fracture." No player or member of the Panthers' staff did.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Oct 26, 2007 8:40:06 PM

Why dose everybody get scared,when Carolina has to makes a change,Whats the problem?,we all know what Carr is going to do,he is not that good (come on)Do any of yall think David Carr can take us to the Super Bowl,(Please) come on!,Complain when we make a change,Complain when we dont,VT just came back playin,and was alittle Rusty,just think what he will do,when he is TUNE UP!and on time,my-goodness,How would you ever know if you never do anything,It was a great move Fox,He plays A LOT better,Time To Wake up and smell the roses,And stop all this WHAT IF CRAP!,THIS IS PANTHERS TIME!

Posted by: #1 Fan | Oct 26, 2007 8:54:35 PM

Here's a theory. Maybe Vinny is just a better QB in this system right now than Carr. He actually threw the ball 9 to 12 yards down the field, got Smith the ball, and involved other people. He just looked more confident than Carr has so far this season. The only effects of him being new in AZ was when the field got short. Thats when defenses get tighter and its crucial that you know exactly what your trying to accomplish. Thats why we settled for FG's. We should play Vinny until Carr beats him out.

Posted by: chill | Oct 27, 2007 12:09:24 AM

Pat where do you get ur info from how bout u go online and see what Carr Really did to the the Colts, with the worst O-line in the NFL, no running game, maybe one good receiver, David Carr, in his last 3 starts against the Colts, completed 54-of-74 passes (73%) for 520 yards and FIVE TDs with ZERO interceptions for a 114.7 passer rating. That's an average of 9.6 yards per completion

Posted by: BiG EZ | Oct 27, 2007 12:56:33 AM

Umm, those are mostly good numbers, BEZ, but 9.6 yards/completion is pretty paltry.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Oct 27, 2007 1:50:46 AM

I'm guessing carr isn't 100% and fox wants to keep him around for the rest of the season. This game is already over and everyone knows it. There isn't any need to toss carr into a situation where he's not ready, get him hurt, and lose him for the year.

Posted by: Tokin42 | Oct 27, 2007 6:27:50 AM

BTW, this is probably VT's last game. He's going up against the fastest and arguably the hardest hitting defense in the league. I'm just hoping they don't cripple the old guy.

Posted by: Tokin42 | Oct 27, 2007 6:35:32 AM

Tokin, good points.

Of course, it is moot now, but here's some more VT vs. Carr career stats that may have been relevant to this Colts game:

Years played - VT 20, Carr 5
Interceptions/total attempts - VT 4.0%, Carr 3.1%
Total rushing yards - VT 1639, Carr 1268
TDs personally scored - VT 15, Carr 8
Own fumbles recovered - VT 27, Carr 28
Tackles made - VT 2, Carr 6

The most critical stat is the rate of interceptions. Carr's rate is 33% lower than VT's. The other stats highlight Carr's mobility compared to VT. Remember VT hasn't always been 43 years old -- even when he was younger, he wasn't as mobile as Carr. In close games, some of these factors could make the difference between a win and a loss.

Posted by: NewPantherFan | Oct 27, 2007 7:54:01 AM

I wrote above: "Carr's [interception] rate is 33% lower than VT's."

Correction. It should have read: "VT's interception rate is 33% higher than Carr's."

Posted by: NewPantherFan | Oct 27, 2007 8:02:52 AM

Michael Procton,
I wasn't asking you, I was asking the professional reporters that cover the Panthers. Pardon me for giving you the impression that question was directed to anyone but Pat and Stan. I want to know more details, it just doesn't wash, and that generalized crap you keep posting as if you are Bob Woodward and have some scoop is not an answer, especially given the production level of what we put out on the field in lieu of Jarrett. Retarded? That hurt my tender feelings, and it may take me awhile to recover, because I care so deeply what you think. Seriously, get over yourself.

Posted by: Willy | Oct 27, 2007 9:36:03 AM

fox knows carr gives them a better chance to beat the colts D which is on fire right now, but it takes a long time for a compression sprain in the back to heal.. i honestly hope he's ready for the Titans.. who cares if he dresses and looks pretty, as long as he lights it up on the field and his teammates believe in him... no knock on VT , he still throws a great deep ball ,but panthers will have to bite and chew for every yard. if you remember the Dec. 2006 game against the colts, carr excelled at picking apart practically the same secondary(except bob sanders) the panthers will be facing on sunday when he was in houston. unless the panthers run attack suddenly catches fire, you can forget about running for more than 100 yards against this new colts D which has been much better this year against the run...

only way the panthers win is if they somehow electrify the colts with the one-two punch of foster-williams, and vinny protects the ball just enough to allow the play action to smitty or mr. king (who is quietly having a great season this year)...

also, all you carr haters need to shut up ... carr's only loss came on his FIRST start as a panther, against a D that could have beaten the Colts that day.... not to mention , it was the most pathetic display of defense the panthers have shown since 2001, a horrific game plan, and right before the "team meeting."

now when foxy puts him back in against the Titans and he stinks it up, then you can start questioning his ability to lead this team.

nuff said!

Posted by: shaun | Oct 27, 2007 9:37:20 AM

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