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September 10, 2008

Harris toots his own horn (sort of)

    Maybe you caught the brief Chris Harris spot on Fox TV’s “getting to know the players” segment during the Panthers win at San Diego Sunday. The network set Harris up with a trumpet, and he blew a few notes, and then commented that he had been pretty good with the instrument.

    “I was,” Harris said today in open locker room when asked if that was true. “I played first chair (in high school).”

He added that he hadn’t picked up a trumpet in a long time before the Fox folks handed him one for the filming.

“It was fun; it brought back some memories.

“Football took me away from music. Had I not started playing football, I think I definitely would still be playing the trumpet.”

Thinking about getting a strip

Harris who forced another fumble Sunday, forced a team-record eight last year. Since all defenders practice it, he was asked why he was so successful.

“A lot guys practice it, but when you get in the game, it just goes out the window so a lot of guys don’t think about it,” he said. “I still think about it, even when I’m making my tackle. It’s in my mind every time I make a tackle; secure the tackle and try to get the ball out.”

Told that the way the ball was flicked to teammate Chris Gamble looked almost choreographed, Harris laughed.

“He was in the right place at the right time,” he said.

Gamble caught the ball in the air and returned it for a touchdown.

Smiles all around

There were lots of smiles in the locker room. That’s what an opening-day upset will do for you. The offensive line was grinning as well after helping Carolina gouge out 142 rushing yards.

“They were a good defense and I felt like we were battling the whole game,” said center Ryan Kalil. “I felt in the third quarter there were things we could have done a little bit better — you don’t like to go three-and-out that many times.”

Actually, the team had just two three-and-outs in the second half, and that was partly because the Panthers were passing more, trying to establish offensive balance.

“There’s a lot of things we’ve got to work on, like getting in the red zone and finishing,” Kalil said. “But we had the ball for a long time, we were moving it up and down the field and we were doing some good things.”

The line played well despite having to make two substitutions, replacing injured tackle Jeff Otah and then guard Travelle Wharton with Jeremy Bridges and Geoff Hangartner respectively.

“The offensive line isn’t like any other position on the field,” Kalil said. “If one guy messes up, we all mess up. That kind of trust factor definitely has to be established early on, and not just on the football field.

“The coaches have done a great job not only bringing in good offensive linemen, good football players but guys they feel will all mesh well together and get along; similar personalities. And we definitely have that on the offensive line. We have depth as well, having Jeremy and Hangartner come in, we definitely didn’t miss a beat.”

—Stan Olson 

Posted by Observer Sports on September 10, 2008 at 05:14 PM | Permalink

Comments

So any word on the Wharton and Otah knee injuries or is it still day to day? If those guys can't play this week we're gonna have trouble with da bears.

Posted by: str8chillin | Sep 10, 2008 5:57:20 PM

Still day to day from what I hear. You have to remember that this is John Fox. He's known for short answers when it comes to talking about injuries. We probably won't know until the day before the game. John Fox hasn't come out and told us that the injury is serious and he'll be out for x amount of weeks, so that's a good sign.

Posted by: Revshawn | Sep 10, 2008 6:06:38 PM

Like (I think it was Moose) said before the Charger game even started... "we need to put two of them back to back. Actually, that must have been another Panther held over from last year's crew. Just can't remember who it was, but they pretty much called a victory last weekend. They also predicted the anxiety that comes with the expectations after a victory.

Come on Cats... DOMINATE!!! Brign it all year long, baby!!!

Posted by: SYRPIS | Sep 10, 2008 6:18:59 PM

Str8chillin,

Otah practiced and wasn't included on the injury report Fox gave. Wharton is still listed and he's day-to-day.

In other news, Ryne Robinson returned to practice, though it was a limited workout. They've upgraded him from week-to-week to day-to-day now, but he admits he's only like 85% right now. It's unlikely he'll play in the Chicago game, but they'll evaluate him again as we get closer to Sunday to know for sure.

Posted by: NSpicer | Sep 10, 2008 7:14:52 PM

I love the mindset of our team this year. They believe in themselves and so do I. I also love that Foxxy was going for it on 4th and short instead of playing conservatively. It's a new day! GO PANTHERS!

Posted by: Pete | Sep 10, 2008 7:27:54 PM

I know that game was filled with highlights, but 1 stood out above all for me. No it wasnt the forced fumble returned for a TD, No it wasnt the game winning TD,

- It was when Ladainian Tomlinson GOT JACKED UP BY CHRIS HARRIS! Yea, I know, LT got the better of him the play before. But could he have redeemed himself any better. Just like in preseason - The Panthers D knows how to take a punch and showed they know how to deliver one on Sunday!

Posted by: bb | Sep 10, 2008 9:56:59 PM

The play that I really loved was the muffed punt. The determination that Dante Wesley showed in climbing over the Bear player to recover the ball was intense. I do not think we have seem that kind of determination in a few years.

Posted by: Superman wears 85 | Sep 11, 2008 7:36:49 AM

Small quibble, Superman85...but Dante was scrambling over a Chargers player rather than a Bear. :)

No biggie, though. I think everyone's focused on the Bears right now. And hopefully, that includes the Panthers.

One other point, though. I've always liked Dante Wesley. He's been a very serviceable player for us. I know he had that stint in Chicago and New England that didn't work out, but I was glad we brought him back. He's often made some pretty heads-up plays for us. I guess he just fits better in our schemes than some other teams.

And to think, he might have been one of the players we would have cut this year if Ricardo Colclough hadn't gotten that DWI before the roster trimdown. Or, if Jason Carter hadn't gone on IR. He was certainly another roleplayer making a big play for us last week.

--Neil

Posted by: NSpicer | Sep 11, 2008 8:13:40 AM

Neil,
Good point on Wesley, but if Jason Carter doesn't go on IR, than we probably dont muff that punt, and need Wesley to make a great play.

Posted by: Billy | Sep 11, 2008 8:39:04 AM

Thus far, I'm impressed with the entire squad. I even see some intensity coming from the special teams unit (the one that took 2007 off). One possible upgrade to our depth may be to grab that kid Jamie Sylva off of Indy's practice squad. The dude shows some real spunk at the safety position and special teams.

Otherwise, keep poundin'!

Posted by: O B X | Sep 11, 2008 8:48:59 AM

I was honestly waiting for people to bash Coach Fox for deciding to go for it on fourth and short; which is usually what happens around the league. It's nice to see some consistency with resident bloggers... thanks for not being wishy-washy.

Back to the business at hand--- It's one thing to catch a really good team off guard and defeat them the way the Panthers did, and it's a whole other beast to defeat a team like the Bears when they are coming off of a similar victory. This time, not only will the opponent be caught sleeping, but they will bring their A-game to make another statement for themselves around the league.

Let's not overlook the fact that they match up really well against the Panthers and seem to have the advantage on paper. That defense of theirs will be able to slow down (if not shut down) the Panther rushing attack. They will also put a ton of pressure on Jake: which really concerns me since he's seemed pretty jittery to me since his return. That will pretty much nullify the passing game; which seemed to be the only advantage the Panthers had by comparison. Finally, the secret weapon (Rosario) is no longer a secret: which reminds me---- any chance Barnidge has a major impact in this game?

Whether or not all O-Line starters comes back 100% and plays well will determine the outcome in this one. Even without them though, this game will be a battle of the defenses (as usual).

BTW: Watch out for Hester trying to redeem himself from his botched return last week. This is one guy that will nullify Rhys Loyd's booming leg.

Posted by: SYRPIS | Sep 11, 2008 9:14:02 AM

*** the opponent will not be caught sleeping this time... :)

This is the game where the Panthers get to prove themselves and show the world what they've got (at least in the regular season). Make it happen gentlemen!!! Go "Cardiac Cats!!"

Posted by: SYRPIS | Sep 11, 2008 9:18:10 AM

One more thing before I forget, I really have to applause Ryan Vermillian for getting those OL's back on the field during the game. Even Wharton gave it a go for a while. I hope to see more of that in the future.

----None of this, "When I come back to play is between me and my trainer" crap! That mentality has got to go!!

Go Panthers!

Posted by: SYRPIS | Sep 11, 2008 9:20:48 AM

*Applaud Ryan

This definately looks to be a new era for the Panthers!

Posted by: SYRPIS | Sep 11, 2008 9:27:14 AM

Jon Beason text messeges, Check this out from Profootballtalk.com

[Editor’s note: Panthers linebacker Jon Beason will share thoughts with us each week via text message. Beason was a first-round pick in 2007, and has started every game since arriving. We communicated with him after the Panthers beat the Chargers, 26-24, on a last-second touchdown pass to Dante Rosario.]

Q: How did you feel when the ball was in the air on the last play?

A: I just told myself to keep faith in my teammates and in God. I knew we played well enough to win and a miracle was possible.

Q: What did you say to Dante Rosario after he made the catch?

A: I told him “you saved me.” I was very emotional because I missed the tackle on LT on a third-down run that would have forced the Chargers to kick a field goal. Had we lost I would’ve blamed myself.

Q: Do you think the Chargers took you guys lightly?

A: I don’t think that’s possible based on our preseason performance from a first-team standpoint.

Q: Did Shawne Merriman seem to be limited?

A: Not sure but I know going into it we didn’t want to play soft on him because he’s hurt. I think our offense did a great job moving the ball on one of the top defenses in the league. I’m sure our offense will build on it.

Q: Have you talked to Steve Smith? Is he itching to get back?

A: He’s proud of our team and ready to come back. He wants to be part of it, he’s one of our leaders and we’re that much better with him on the field.

Posted by: matt | Sep 11, 2008 10:03:02 AM

Two quick comments to Syrpis and O B X:

1st) Barnidge probably will not make the 45 active players as long as King & Rosario remain healthy.

2nd) It is not about catching a team by surprise. The Chargers talked tough, but they saw what the Panthers did to the Red Skins 1st string. The Panthers have a defense that is just as good as the Bears and the Panthers, even without Steve Smith, have a better offense. "If" they get the noise and help from the fans there is no reason for the Panthers to lose to the Bears.

Posted by: 4Gross | Sep 11, 2008 10:17:40 AM

jba: The same reason you read them... I'm bored.

I find it amusing that Fox is taking media attacks on his non-disclosure attitude light-heartedly---

"On injuries: Did not participate: Na'il Diggs (shoulder), Matt Moore (leg), Dante Rosario (foot) and Travelle Wharton (knee). Limited participation: Chris Gamble (arm) and Ryne Robinson (knee).

On if wide receiver Ryne Robinson is still week-to-week: I think we are going to include him in the day-to-day now. He's graduated.

On how Robinson ran in his first practice back: He looked better. That's why he graduated from week-to-week to day-to-day."

---That's halarious!

Posted by: SYRPIS | Sep 11, 2008 11:39:06 AM

Anyone hear the discussion on the Panthers on ESPN First Take today? Skip Bayless was singing our praises, saying we could win 13 games and get homefield in the playoffs. Jeffri Chadiha laughed in his face and spoke like a total d!ckhead in putting us down and essentially saying we suck. What a fool, he sounded so sure of himself but it was clear he didn't watch a minute of the game. Bayless had to inform him about the rise of Rosario and Muhammad, as it didnt appear Chadiha had ever heard of them. I've heard plenty of misinformed opinions from ESPN before (ex. the "draft guy" who bashed our Stewart-Otah move) but that was just awful.

Posted by: DB | Sep 11, 2008 1:05:42 PM

Can you spell PREPOSTEROUS? Duh... wut be a Panthur? Me thinks thuh Fal-cons iz good.

Posted by: Jeffri Chadiha | Sep 11, 2008 1:07:55 PM

Excuse me, it was Rob Parker, not Jeffri Chadiha. My apologies to Jeffri. But Rob Parker, you are an idiot.

Posted by: DB | Sep 11, 2008 3:14:23 PM

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