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May 16, 2008

More John Fox Q&A

Here are more excerpts -- over and beyond those that appeared in the Observer Thursday -- from coach John Fox's Charlotte Touchdown Club luncheon appearance Wednesday. He took questions from the crowd and from emcees Mick Mixon and Jim Szoke of the Panthers radio network. We've edited some of the answers for brevity.


Q: What did you feel prior to the draft your primary needs were, and to what extent did you address those needs?

A: Really, from last season, I think our No. 1 need was quarterback. That was pretty well discussed by prognosticators as far as going into the draft and free agency. We felt good about Jake (Delhomme) the whole time. I can tell you right here he looks outstanding. ... He's bigger, stronger, he's worked out very, very strong. His arm is looking fantastic, maybe stronger than ever. So that was No. 1. We felt real good about Matt Moore. ... We feel good about where he's at at this stage.

We needed to revitalize the running back position. A lot of prognosticators felt like free agency was the way to go there, but we decided we wanted to go high in the draft to meet that need.

We wanted to get more physical in the offensive line. I was tired of going for it on third-and-1 and then it being four-and-2. People have been critical of me for sometime not going for it on fourth-and-1. I'd think, "Wow, why would I ever do that if we can't get it on third-and-1." So we wanted to get more physical up front and I think we've accomplished that.

Defensively, we made some changes on the defensive line. We wanted to increase our ability to rush the passer, because that was an area we dropped off a year ago.

We've been trying to address a safety need for some time and I think we've found that in Charles Godfrey.

Q: What was it about Jonathan Stewart that caused him to move ahead of Rashard Mendenhall and some of the other players you were looking at in Round 1?

A: I think, truth be known, if Jonathan had not had the toe (surgery) situation, he probably never would've gotten to us. We were fortunate that we were familiar with it; one of our orthopedists (Dr. Robert Anderson) did the actual surgery, so we had a pretty good feel for the timing.

As far as what flavor you like, he's a powerful guy, a thick lower body, excellent balance, great feet. He breaks tackles and gets yardage after first contact, which is something we look for.

Q: Talk about some of the changes on defense.

A: When we drafted Julius (Peppers) way back in my first year, he had been a right end in college. We had Mike Rucker who was a real aspiring player (at right end) at that point. So when we drafted Julius, we switched him over to the left. With Mike Rucker gone now, we're going to take a lot at Julius on the right.

Inside, a lot of people probably wonder why we dealt Kris Jenkins (to the New York Jets for third- and fifth-round draft picks). He's an outstanding player. We wanted to get a little bit smaller (at defensive tackle) and a little bit more athletic and quick as far as rushing the passer.

Q: With Richard Marshall, do you plan on using him the same, (in the) nickel (coverage), or do you think he can step up and fight for one of the starting (cornerback) jobs?

A: Well, he's definitely capable. Anytime you put together a football team, or any sports team, you want to create competition. That way people are at their best probably a little more often than not. He's a guy, in my opinion, who is capable of starting in the National Football League. RIght now, so are Ken Lucas and Chris Gamble. We also signed Ricardo Colclough, who has shown he can play in the National Football League. We just try to bring competition and it's really going to be up to those players.

Q: How often do you override the offensive coordinator (in play-calling)?

A: Typically, it's game situations. That's the job of a head coach, to monitor the game and coach the game. There could be a situation at the end of the half or end of the game, where we may not run it or we may not pass it. Those types of game management situations are when you can override any coach, whether it's the special teams coach, or the offensive or defensive coordinator. Like most decisions, people who get to sit and look at it 20/20, those decisions are a lot easier to make after the decision than before.

Q: What do you want fans to know about what you and the other coaches have planned for this season to make '08 one to remember?

A: One of the biggest things is we're all in it. We work very hard. We don't do this, whether you're an assistant coach or a head coach, for security. I think players are the same way. (We) don't do it for the security of the job, (but) the successes you get to attain. Winning that big, fat Super Bowl ring is the goal of all of us. Regardless of what gets written or what gets said, whether it's midseason, preseason, postseason, I can tell you as an organization we're committed to winning. We're doing everything and utilizing all avenues to win. That's what this league is about, and it's only fun when you win.

-- Charles Chandler

Posted by Observer Sports on May 16, 2008 at 12:03 AM | Permalink


"We also signed Ricardo Coclough, who has shown he can play in the National Football League."

Uhh...he has? The guy got cut by the freaking Browns because he couldn't cover anybody to save his life. I sure as heck hope he isn't the 4th-best corner on our roster.

Posted by: Michael Procton | May 16, 2008 5:04:30 AM

did i read that right? procton commenting at 230 in the morning? get a life, pal.

Posted by: meee | May 16, 2008 8:22:53 AM

i guess not, cuz its 830 and that says 530. You still suck, Procton

Posted by: meee | May 16, 2008 8:23:59 AM

I'd say many 4th string corners cant really cover anyone to save their life

Posted by: matt | May 16, 2008 8:30:51 AM

Wow Lewis... is that the best you can do? That lead-in sucked, and it had nothing to do with the article. You need more practice. But please go practice somewhere else with your spam.

Posted by: John | May 16, 2008 10:06:19 AM

Wow, sounds like their pretty sure of Godfrey winning the starting job, Fox didn't even mention anyone else having a chance like he did with the corner situation. I'm surprised they like him this much this early, he must really be gifted.

I'm actually really satisfied with our offense right now and believe that as long as Jake stays healthy we can put up some big numbers.

If Godfrey pans out as well as the Panthers hope he will then our secondary will be great and you have to LOVE our linebacking unit this season.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure that we addressed our biggest problem of rushing the passer. I don't know if moving Peppers to the right will stimulate production considering he will be going against better tackles now. We have to hope for immediate production from Charles Thomas and some more sacks from our DT's.

Posted by: Christian | May 16, 2008 12:30:30 PM

Who's Charles Thomas?

Posted by: Michael Procton | May 16, 2008 12:54:26 PM

Maybe he meant DE Charles Johnson???? I think he'll be ok though. This will be his second year and he'll have decent competition coming from Tyler Brayton, and if he steps it up, Stanly McClover.

Posted by: Eric | May 16, 2008 1:12:12 PM

Sorry, I meant Charles Johnson. Hah, I have no idea who Charles Thomas is.

Posted by: Christian | May 16, 2008 1:16:06 PM

Given Rucker's slippage in production as he aged, I think we should definitely be able to get good production out of that trio. If we can combine that with maybe Peppers taking off every third play rather than every other, we ought to be in decent shape.

Posted by: Michael Procton | May 16, 2008 1:30:16 PM

The odd thing about Peppers is that I constantly see him chasing down running backs from behind. He's in on a lot of tackles that I normally wouldn't expect a defensive end to be on. So if he is willing to run around the field so much, why is he having so much difficulty beating a one man matchup with a right tackle? It's like he'd rather play linebacker than lineman. Maybe he needs to mixup his rushing moves or something.

Posted by: Christian | May 16, 2008 2:00:35 PM

*I realized I didn't connect the dots with Rucker...I was saying we can replace his level of production.

Posted by: Michael Procton | May 16, 2008 2:01:34 PM

I just mean that everyone is saying it must be effort because of how talented he is and how he's constantly smiling, and I tend to agree. But what if we're wrong, what if (despite obvious physical talents) he just doesn't have the ability to beat an offensive lineman consistently. I think he should work less on his physique and more on his technique.

Posted by: Christian | May 16, 2008 2:04:27 PM

this article brought to you by the functions copy and paste... coppying transcribed quotes from a luncheon shouldn't pass for team coverage

Posted by: ryan | May 16, 2008 2:21:54 PM

Procton I agree. With the three choices replacing Rucker, there should be no drop off, if not improvement. And if they are able to keep a steady rotation, they could stay fresh while wearing down our opponents o-line. Maybe even throw someone in for Peppers evey third play so he is at least expected to take that play off. Plus, with our greatly improved linebackers, maybe Peppers won't drop back into covereage quite as much this year.

Posted by: Eric | May 16, 2008 2:57:58 PM

Id rather waste my time on a "Copy and Paste article" than a article on "Real Life numbers evoke Jersey numbers", thats just pathetic.

Posted by: Ghost of Sparta | May 16, 2008 3:04:05 PM

It's not an article, it's a blog dummy...
Anyway I just wanted to say thanks stan and charles, you guys are doing a great job. I know it's a slow NFL news time of year but I enjoy reading new stuff here everyday, keep up the good work!!!
and most importantly thanks for NOOOOOT bring up spygate, enough already!!!

Posted by: ClaytonFire | May 16, 2008 3:23:58 PM

Eric and Procton, you guys both hit on good points. Rucker was declining, and it showed out there especially last year. Even he understood that, which is why he decided to retire; he was a great player but no one can do it forever. With the younger guys in there at least we'll get a push between them and I believe we will see an improvement over last year as well. Not to mention none of them are set in stone as starters, so since the job is up for grabs maybe that'll push them that much more.

Posted by: James | May 16, 2008 3:30:47 PM

Eric and Procton, you guys both hit on good points. Rucker was declining, and it showed out there especially last year. Even he understood that, which is why he decided to retire; he was a great player but no one can do it forever. With the younger guys in there at least we'll get a push between them and I believe we will see an improvement over last year as well. Not to mention none of them are set in stone as starters, so since the job is up for grabs maybe that'll push them that much more.

Posted by: James | May 16, 2008 3:33:51 PM

I totally agree Ghost, that article was aweful. Talk about filler...I don't like Fowler's articles as is, let alone meaningless articles like that one.

Posted by: rhackney | May 16, 2008 3:38:40 PM

The sad thing is that the plays Peppers takes off, he's still better and more effective than Johnson and McClover, I suppose it remains to be seen with Brayton, but still, I think Johnson could emerge playing from the left side, but we'll see.

Posted by: matt | May 16, 2008 4:44:30 PM

Eric, that coverage excuse is a huge misnomer...Peppers dropped back something like 4 out of 60+ plays per game.

Hmm...Matt...could that be because he was the #2 pick and has spent 6 years in the league? Jonson and McClover were 3rd- and 7th- round picks, respectively, who have spent three years in the league TOTAL.

Posted by: Michael Procton | May 16, 2008 6:04:40 PM

Yes, that is why Mike, that should go without saying.

Posted by: matt | May 16, 2008 6:51:06 PM

Good copy and paste skills guys, http://www.panthers.com/Common/Article.aspx?id=32192

Posted by: Cameron | May 16, 2008 8:45:30 PM

Cam, this article was posted well before the copy on the Panthers site (Early morning Thursday/late night Wednesday.) Further, to all you people bitching and whining, how else would you have found this information? Were you invited to the event? Did you know somebody who was and kept notes?

Posted by: Michael Procton | May 17, 2008 11:47:49 AM

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