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September 29, 2008

Fox Q&A

Here's the transcript from coach John Fox's news conference with reporters Monday:

Q. You've had to use your depth on the offensive line -- bringing in Geoff Hangartner, Jeremy Bridges and moving Travelle Wharton from guard to tackle -- because of injuries. How has that worked out?

"It's happened twice so far in our four games. Both times those backups responded well. Typically we go into a game with seven linemen dressed -- five starters and two backups. We were at that limit. The next was Jeff King and I wasn't comfortable with that. It's like our third quarterback. I won't mention who that is, but I'm not real comfortable with that, either."

Q. Will you rethink how many offensive linemen you dress this week?

"We're always rethinking things. You have no idea what will happen in a game. You can have a barrage of injuries in one spot and anybody and everybody is in trouble as far as having guys who have reps in practice. You try your best to be prepared and hopefully the players respond."

Q. How much work do those guys get with the starters in practice?

" It's very limited, I'd say 20 to 30 percent of our offensive reps. Now they're on service teams, but as far as running our plays for that game that week, 20 or 30 percent. That would have been far less for Travelle, since he was coming back from an injury. So he had far less reps last week as a guard. He's played there in the past and that's helpful."

Q. Most of those guys have played different spots on the offensive line. Is that helping?

"That's what happens when you start developing players. Travelle's been with us. Jordan (Gross) has been with us. Ryan Kalil is only in his second year, but he's a guy who's been trained. A lot has been made of us having guys in different spots in the offseason, but at least they've been with us. A lot was made of us having four quarterbacks (last season), but the problem was they hadn't been with us, even in training camp. When your guys who are 2, 3 and 4 (on the depth chart) signed just a few weeks ago, it's harder. And don't forget we're starting a rookie (Jeff Otah) at right tackle. He wasn't here last year. It's lucky we have had to move him around."

Q. Kansas City won its first game Sunday, upsetting Denver. What does that say about the Chiefs?

"That everybody's pretty much the same. You didn't think Washington would beat Dallas or that Kansas City would beat Denver. It goes on every week. You've got to realize you've got to show up and we do that each and every week. We'll do it this week with Kansas City. We've seen them on tape, because they played Atlanta last week. So we're a little bit familiar with them without game planning yet. They're a physical group, they have an outstanding running back (Larry Johnson) and have a pretty salty defense and they've been around for some time, staff wise. It'll be another tough test."

Q. You've held down some strong running backs like Atlanta's Michael Turner and Minnesota's Adrian Peterson. Now you've got Larry Johnson. What's it like to face top runners each week?

"It's the National Football League. We've got a murderer's row again this week. Every week you turn on the tape, and it's one of the things we do, we don't look at records or preseason picks, we look at how people play. Those people put up almost 200 (yards on Denver) yesterday against a pretty good team that possesses the ball. It'll be one more test. I think we've done an adequate job in the first four games, but there's still room for improvement. We're not going to be polishing our stars by any stretch as we prepare for Kansas City."

Q. What have you done well in run defense?

"Well, we're one-fourth through the season and it's like where you are when you're through one quarter of a game. We've got to keep trusting our fits and trusting where we've got to go and get consistently better."

Q. Why did the special teams struggle against the Falcons?

"It happens. The other team practices too, they get paid. We had an error by our punter and he'd like to have that one back. He's been pretty darn good for us over the first four games. A couple of people wanted me to fire some people last week, but they came out and played pretty well. It's an up and down profession and guys bounce back. I'm sure our punter will bounce back and be much better this week." Q. The Panthers had 11 penalties against the Falcons. Your reaction to that?

"You'd like to have none, but that doesn't happen very often. You continue to emphasize it and hopefully eliminate it."

Q. What's your reaction to leading the league in penalties?

" I'm more concerned with our record than stats. The most important stat is that W and L column and it always will be. I think I've said before that stats are for losers."

Q. How important is it to run successfully so you can set up the pass?

"That's something something we think through. Again, a lot of times when you say you want to run the ball, people think you're talking about 3 yards and a cloud of dust. But that's not always the case. You have to do both and do both efficiently. Most teams say they need to stop the run and be physical enough to run the ball. Sometimes when you can't get the run going, the defense is more susceptible in another area and you need to be be effective in that area. We weren't effective there two weeks ago and we were more effective (Sunday)."

Q. You and Chiefs coach Herm Edwards were teammates at San Diego State. What kind of a player was he?

" Herm was a very good player and teammate. I think he's doing a fine job coaching, too. He was a real good cover guy, he wasn't the fastest or strongest guy, but he had great instincts and was actually a great interceptor of the ball. That's why he was able to play so long (in the NFL). He was a very smart, headsy player."

Q. Did you sense that he'd be a coach one day?

"I'm not sure either one of us had a sense that either one of us would be a coach. Of course, I'm not sure how many people have any sense at all."

Q. What do you think Herm will say when he's asked about you as a player?

"I have absolutely no idea."

Posted by Observer Sports on September 29, 2008 at 07:14 PM | Permalink


I'm usually hard on the Observer's coverage of the Panthers when it comes to the online stuff, but I will give props where it is due. I've been asking them to post the transcript of the press conferences since last season and I would like to thank them for doing it. Only a limited number of quotes usually make it into the articles so its nice to see the ones that didnt and its also nice to see if the reporters questions reflect the questions that many of the fans have.

So thanks,

And eat a....just kidding.

Posted by: matt | Sep 29, 2008 7:51:50 PM

Keep up the good coverage. the fans are diggin it.

Posted by: cameron | Sep 29, 2008 8:11:11 PM

Im very disappointed to see John Fox blow off such a serious question regarding leading the league in penalties. It doesnt take a rocket scientist to understand that penalties and losing go hand in hand. If the Panthers continue to rack up penalties in staggering numbers I will not be suprised when they miss the playoffs.

Its answers like this that make me question why Fox continues to have a head coaching job

Posted by: chris | Sep 29, 2008 8:22:05 PM

Chris, you're an idiot

Fox is right, the only stats that matter are wins and losses. I'm sorry you cant understand that concept. Of course penalties are bad, but what the do you want Fox to say? Huh? You think he isnt gonna talk to this team about it? Hahah some of you Panther fans are clueless.. We are 3-1 and you're so stupid you ask the question "Why does Fox still have a job?"..

Posted by: John | Sep 29, 2008 8:35:16 PM

I doubt that a rocket scientist would be a good football coach.

Posted by: Rocket | Sep 29, 2008 8:35:31 PM

If we had the fewest penalties, but were 1-3 would you be more happy Chris?? What we need to do is stop the false starts everything else is not that bad.

Posted by: Billy | Sep 29, 2008 8:54:15 PM

John you are absolutely right.

Penalties have nothing to do with winning or losing. Thats why a touchdown return by Stewart was called back against Minnesota due to a penalty. Its not important though because we got a W in that game.

Playing a rusty week one SD, continually anemic Chicago offense, and the clueless Atlanta Falcons hardly constitute quality teams or wins.

The only real challenge we had had all year came in the form of the Vikings and you think 12 penalties didnt cost us the game.


Double digit penalties against good teams like Tampa and New Orleans will get us 4 division loses and another early start on next year.

I'll tell you what John, you worry about wins and losses and let the people who understand football worry about the details that get us those W's.

What a douche!

Posted by: Chris | Sep 29, 2008 8:56:12 PM

1998 KC Chiefs - 158 Penalties
7-9 missed playoffs

1994 LA Raiders - 156 Penalties
9-7 missed playoffs

1996 Oakland Raiders - 156 Penalties
7-9 missed playoffs

Gee, the three highest penalized teams in the history of the NFL all had records around .500 and failed to make the playoffs.


Dont worry though because Carolina is on pace for 156 and our coach doesnt want to admit they have a problem. Its hard to fix a problem when the coach denies they even have one.


Posted by: chris | Sep 29, 2008 9:16:32 PM

Must be nice to be the guy who gets to determine who is a "quality team" and what constitutes a "challenge". I'm pretty sure that "people who know football" would beg to differ that Chicago and San Diego weren't challenges. Pretty obvious that you have some issues with Fox and nothing short of "yeah, we sure do suck and are so lucky to ever win" is going to cut it with you. Anyone with a clue realizes that the penalties are a problem, including the staff. He doesn't owe you any type of answer as to how he feels about it or how he plans to deal with it. He owes fans effort and results - both of which have been excellent to date this year. Are you on record that they will have 12 penalties against the "good teams" you have crowned (NO and Tampa)? If so, I'll take you up on that bet. I'd also love to hear the rationale as to how Tampa and NO are good teams and the Panthers are not. Oh wait, they have fewer penalties. My bad.


Posted by: chris'_mom | Sep 29, 2008 9:24:47 PM

Oh - I should have mentioned, your "good teams" both have fewer penalties, but for more yards than the Panthers. TB is #4 in the league and NO is #7 in number of penalties. Panthers are #1, so I guess they only have to get to better than 7th to qualify as good right?

Posted by: chris'_mom | Sep 29, 2008 9:35:13 PM

To Chris.

You're actually calling the Tampa Bay Bucs a good team? That's a laugh. So far they have been extraordinarily lucky! Their defense and their meager running game has been carrying their team. That's not going to fly against our defense.

Against Green Bay Brian Grease threw 1 touchdown as opposed to 3 interceptions. That may fly every now and then and you'll still win, but their luck has to run out sooner or later. They're up against the Broncos next week so if we win our next game against the Chiefs then we'll be division leaders again.

Honestly, who cares we're leading the team in penalties. If anything, that should be a compliment to our team, that we're 3-1 in spite of all our penalties and biased refs. The problem will solve itself in time. If you think that John Fox should get fired because of penalties....I can't even begin to start to wrap my mind around the concept. It's almost as bad as that San Diego coach being fired for not making it to the Superbowl.

Posted by: Revshawn | Sep 29, 2008 9:39:27 PM

Ouch John, that was a hateful shot you took at Brett Basanez, saying you're not comfortable with your 3rd QB.

Posted by: Aaron | Sep 29, 2008 9:42:50 PM

Aaron....we released Brett remember?

Posted by: Revshawn | Sep 29, 2008 9:43:24 PM

To chris'_mom,

Im trying to figure out when I said the Panthers were not a quality team. The Panthers are one of the top 5 teams in the NFC and have tons of talent.

Unfortunately talent alone doesnt win championships.

Penalties are a by-product of bad preparation and poor concentration. Last I checked these are the responsibility of the coaching staff and demonstrate poor coaching.

As far as owing me an answer I beg to differ. Being a PSL owner means I directly contribute to his salary as well as the rest of the coaches and players. They owe me and the other 73,777 PSL owners an explanation as to why they continue to make repeated gaffes and mistakes.

It doesnt matter how good a team is because there is always room for improvement.

A simple answer such as "We are aware of the problem and will be working long and hard to correct it" would have been a little more appropriate and certainly expected from a top caliber coach.

"Mom" get back in the kitchen and leave football talk to us "MEN".

Posted by: chris | Sep 29, 2008 10:04:38 PM

Do you watch the games on just read about them?? Stewart's kick was returned to the 7 and it was a questionable at best call. Again I agree we need to get a hold on the false starts, but the other penalties really havent been a problem this year.

Posted by: Billy | Sep 29, 2008 11:04:44 PM

"You'd like to have none, but that doesn't happen very often. You continue to emphasize it and hopefully eliminate it."

So now we're playing semantics. I guess since he didn't say "long and hard" that means it doesn't bother him. I don't see where he said it isn't an issue. The refusal to acknowledge was of the league ranking, not the penalties. Would it be any better if they were 10th instead of 1st but were still 3-1? You might feel better about things, but it doesn't change the reality of the situation.

Penalties are also the result of crowd noise, agression, luck and superior performance by other paid professionals. In MN when the crowd was loud and the O-line was getting their collective a$$es handed to them, I'm sure that pressure had nothing to do with the false starts. I agree that continued mistakes can be attributed to lack of preparation, but the total performance to date would seem to indicate that the level of overall preparedness is very sound. Do they need to work on some things? Aboslutely. It was week 4 - to expect perfection at any point is folly.

As for the explanation owed to you as a PSL owner, get a grip. I spend a lot of money at Harris-Teeter, but the store manager doesn't owe me any explanation as to why their ad this week had three misspelled words. Nor does Disney owe me an explanation why their last movie sucked. You act like you are a shareholder in the Panthers because you bought PSLs, but you aren't. You are just paying for the right to watch their product in person. You are on the consumer side, not the business side. Good customer service might prompt them to offer a reponse, but they don't owe you anything.

Posted by: chris'_mom | Sep 30, 2008 12:00:41 AM

Stat's are for Loser's..........Nuff Said.Including you Chris.

Posted by: Ghost of Sparta | Sep 30, 2008 12:17:19 AM

Stats are for losers...PERIOD

In 2003 playoff game, the Panthers accumilated zero penalties and zero turnovers. Despite being dubbed the Cardiac Cats that year (partly due to the reuglar turnover battles in the regular season) all the commentators could talk about is how the Cats got zero penalties in that game. That's not because the Panthers did it, but NFL teams in general do not accomplish things like that on a regular basis.

Also, there have been plenty of teams with double digit penalties in a game and still walk away with a W. Not that I'm encouraging drive killing penalties... I hate them... but to say the Panthers are going to fail this season because they get penalties is absurd.

Panalties are for losers...PERIOD

Posted by: Keeping it Real | Sep 30, 2008 4:24:01 AM

Daggit! Meant to say stats... Dolt!

Posted by: Keeping it Real | Sep 30, 2008 4:25:03 AM

Obviously winning is the most important thing and the only true stat that matters. However, penalties are important and might have cost us the game against the Vikings. These false start penalties have been absolute drive killers for us so far this season. Every team is going to have a few holding penalties but the false starts have to go and that penalty on Peppers was crap. Last night Big Ben was hit several times in the same manner and no roughing the pass penalties were called.

As for the comment above about the Bucs, well they might not be a great team on paper, but they are the defending conference champs and have won 3 in a row. I wouldn't completely discredit them or their record.

Posted by: Mason | Sep 30, 2008 9:07:20 AM

Who is this Chris guy? John hit this on the head. One penalty can change a game. Look at the Steelers-Ravens game last night. Jarrett Johnson picks up a personal foul penalty and gives the Steelers another chance and 15 yards. The penalties the team have committed are inexcusable. They will come back and bite them.

Posted by: Steven | Sep 30, 2008 10:46:17 AM

Actually, the penalties they have committed will not come back to bite them, as they have already occurred and those games are over. Penalties they might commit in the future could hurt, but none of you have any way of predicting how many or few penalties they will commit going forward. You can't even trend from a 4 game sample. You are all idiots.

Posted by: you are all idiots | Sep 30, 2008 11:26:12 AM

The Bucs did not win the conference last year, they won the division.

John Fox was not talking about Basanez...who is not on the active roster...he was talking about the emergency 3rd QB who dresses on Sundays but plays a position that is NOT QB.

And as Billy mentioned, Stewart did not score on his penalized return.

Just doing some fact checking here...

Posted by: Ryan | Sep 30, 2008 11:45:04 AM

you all need to seriously chill... you say stats are for losers, well arguing on the internet is for even bigger losers..

penalties are game killers for sure, all the false starts we get can screw up the momentum of the drive. I don't think it matters whether or not it was 10, 11, 12 or 13 in a game, it isn't the stats of the penalties that needs to be addressed, it's that it keeps happening week after week. that's not a stat, that's bad preparation and discipline. I'm sure john fox stresses it to his players especially lately, but he should've at least addressed the public that yeah, they're aware of how embarrassing it is, and that they're gonna fix it.

Posted by: Zach | Sep 30, 2008 12:36:50 PM

Zack, you tell us arguments are for losers and then you post your own argument. I'm not going to say anything, but I'm sure that's funny. The internet is here for us to trade ideas and fight at each other. When it starts getting personal then that's up to the moderators to moderate, otherwise that's the whole point of this forum.

Bottom line, in spite of all our penalties we're 3-1. That's a huge compliment to this team and to our coaching staff. We've beaten two playoff teams and we're heading into a easy stretch of our schedule. We'll wear down the Bucs aging defense with a heavy dose of running and we'll win this next game, because they don't have a offense to fight back with. They have a slight running game that may be on or may be off on any given week week. No problem though because they can't pass, and our defense is perfect for stopping the run. We'll just blitz the hell out of their running game until they're either out of downs or they run out of running backs, whichever comes first.

Then Brian Griese will drop back, and throw a ball right into the hands of Ken Lucas or Chris Gamble and have it returned for a TD.

And hopefully, we'll not be called for another boneheaded penalty like last week.

Posted by: Revshawn | Sep 30, 2008 1:27:59 PM

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