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October 27, 2008

Fox Q&A

Here's the transcript from coach John Fox's Monday news conference as the Panthers head into the bye week with a 6-2 record and hanging on to first place in the NFC South:

Q. Injury update?

"No updates on injuries. We had no new injuries from the Arizona game. As it relates to the guys who were hobbled, it's a good time for them to get healed. We'll update you when we get back to work next Wednesday."

Q. Are you relatively confident Jeff Otah and Ryan Kalil will be ready for Oakland?

"As relatively confident as you can be."

Q. How's Darwin Walker, who was in a car wreck Saturday?

"He's got got some soft muscle tissue soreness. We're lucky it wasn't more serious than it is. He was just a little too stiff and sore Saturday night and again Sunday morning when he woke up. He didn't sleep too well, either. I don't know the exact damage of the car, but it wasn't just a fender bender. It was a wreck, a pretty serious accident. I don't want to go into too much detail, but it wasn't on the interstate. It was close to the stadium."

Q. Are you pleased with how the first half of the season's gone?

"We're on the road to a final destination. We're just on the path and we haven't gotten lost. We're on target; on schedule. We definitely haven't gotten there yet. We're halfway there."

Q. What have you liked about this team?

"We've played as a team. When one side has struggled, the other side has come through in all three phases. We're starting to see us playing as a team. We're on target and on schedule but we have work to do."

Q. Some of the players talked about how physical practice was last week. How do you balance working them hard enough, but not so that they get beat up?

"It's like a two-minute drill right before halftime. We tell them they need to step it up a little bit before you get your break at halftime."

Q. Would you rather have the bye after eight games like this or earlier in the season?

"If I was voting on it, it's be like this all the time. But that's now how it really works. I think it's an ideal time, but sometimes it might not be ideal. You might be really healthy and on a roll. It come at a good time at game 4 if you've got a bunch of injuries. It's unpredictable."

Q. Has Jonathan Stewart's playing time lessened because of how well DeAngelo Williams is playing or is he just having a tougher time?

"You guys keep trying to separate them. We look at them kind of together. The running position, they've both played well. Nobody on this team has played perfectly; I don't think we've coached perfectly. They're both fine players and we're pleased with them."

Q. Did you think Steve Smith's foot came down out of bounds on his long touchdown play?

"No. It looked like (his heel) was in the air to me and it never touched anything. I think the officials concurred. Again, they're not going to catch every little detail, even with replay. But it was a great effort on Steve's part. He's done a lot of remarkable things in my tenure and probably did before I got here. He's extremely competitive and very gifted. He comes to play."

Q. What do you need to do to be successful the rest of the season?

"Stay healthy. Continue to work hard. Not get complacent. That's probably what a lot of other coaches are saying right about now, bye or no bye."

Q. Are you pleased with Jake Delhomme's play?

"Like other things, he's on schedule. I can say that positionally on both sides of the ball. There's a lot of room for improvement. We haven't arrived yet, but we're on schedule."

Q. Talk about the timeout you called before the Cardinals' fake field goal near the end of the half. It wasn't 12 men on the field (like against Minnesota) again, was it?

"No, it wasn't too many guys. I told you I'd get that right eventually. It actually was a time issue. We didn't want to get time run off the clock. It was actually kind of goofy how it happened. We were trying to get 15 seconds back and get the ball back with time. We thought they'd rewind the clock (which had malfunctioned at the time). When they OK'd that, that's when they called the fake field goal."

Q. Charles Godfrey, who made the tackle on the play, said he thought the Cardinals had called timeout and had called the fake then.

"I'm not really sure. It kind of looked like they didn't realize we had called timeout. It was hard for our players to keep track because of the clock malfunction. They weren't really sure. But it was us that called the timeout. I'm sure glad (Godfrey) was tipped off. Whether it was our timeout or not, I'm glad he knew it. It was a big swing."

Posted by Observer Sports on October 27, 2008 at 01:55 PM | Permalink

Comments

Fox is a moron. I can do a better job than him.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Oct 27, 2008 2:09:58 PM

HA I have nothing football related to say so instead of avoiding commenting all together I am so hungry to be seen and to have attention I remove my name and email address and use someone elses because I lack the basic understanding of football and the Panthers and am too ashamed to say that using my own name so instead I put in someone elses name to mask my insecurities and shame, I'm such a coward.

Posted by: COWARD | Oct 27, 2008 2:18:19 PM

I so dumb...I know nothing so I mask my comments under another persons name....Coward am I.

Posted by: Coward | Oct 27, 2008 2:20:34 PM

Good deal on the injury front! No new wrinkles and an extra week to recover. Heal up, boys! And strap it on for the rest of the year. The ride gets bumpier from here on out...

--Neil

Posted by: NSpicer | Oct 27, 2008 2:21:00 PM

All I know is that we need to be around 9-3 heading into the last four weeks of the season, I'm glad they are building the nice cushion for the final stretch.

Posted by: matt | Oct 27, 2008 2:23:26 PM

I have to agree with you Matt. We absolute must be AT LEAST 9-3 heading into the final 4 games of the season. With Tampa, NO, NYG, and Denver staring us down...we will probably go 2-2 in that portion. 11-5 would definitely qualify for the playoffs, if not the division championships.

As fans, we really have to be proud of this team. There is no doubt that we do not have the sheer talent that some of the better NFL teams have. Yet we are definitely one of the Top 5 or 6 TEAMS. Say what you want about John Fox, but he creates a TEAM atmosphere.

Posted by: Ryan | Oct 27, 2008 3:08:18 PM

Procton - do you realize you posted 14 times through the first hour of the game sunday? Is this some kind of joke?? Unbelievable...do you just sit in front of the tv with your computer in mommy's basement?? Maybe if you ever get promoted at Burger King you'll be able to be a big boy and actually attend a real game.

Posted by: Jb | Oct 27, 2008 3:19:02 PM

Ryan, those games will be tough, but I have to disagree. This team has the players to dominate and they are starting to get that swagger back. The coaching staff is doing its job well too. The only thing that can really stop this team right now is distractions and injuries. I think December will yield a 3-1 record for these guys, especially since by then they will probably be running on all cylinders as a team.

On the other hand, going into the final stretch with the mentality that, "these will be tough so we have to win as many games as we can" will only spell disaster.

Go Panthers! Dominate!!!

Posted by: Keeping It Real | Oct 27, 2008 3:29:42 PM

JB, work on your comprension and critical thinking skills, please. Much of that was obviously not Procton. Moreover, he did just address that in this forum. In fact, he is pretty much right on with the "coward" bit. But what do you expect from online cam queens or internet tough guys: you know, the kind that will run you over when they are behind the wheel, but are scared to look you in the eye any other time.

Posted by: Keeping It Real | Oct 27, 2008 3:32:50 PM

WHY DID NONE OF YOU REPORTERS ASK FOX WHY HE DIDN'T CALL THE TIMEOUT PRIOR TO ARIZONA'S FIRST TD PASS?

Posted by: matt | Oct 27, 2008 3:58:41 PM

SYRPIS - please tell me WTF comprension is you idiot. You and Procton are the online cam queens.

Posted by: jb | Oct 27, 2008 4:06:25 PM

Anybody have mr Richardson's number? The guy that says he'd be a better coach than John Fox is looking for a job..... Cleaning urnals.

Posted by: Ken | Oct 27, 2008 4:08:04 PM

Ryan,
I would have to say we have the talent to be up there with any NFL Team, the way the NFL is this year you can throw the top 10 teams in a hat and pick, and it would be just as good as an "expert" pick.

Posted by: Billy | Oct 27, 2008 4:34:44 PM

So anyone else thinking NFL comeback player of the year award should go to Jake???

Posted by: JAKE OB | Oct 27, 2008 4:39:46 PM

You guys must hate that Fox is one of the worst quotes for coaches (that I've heard, at least).

Posted by: Brandon | Oct 27, 2008 5:28:47 PM

Well on our way guys. Wait and see!
3 things is all I want to say for 6 wins down 13 more to go. When the season resumes in week 9.
PantherFanD says
1. Penalties(offensive-infractions-false starts/defensive) 2. Complete Special Teams 3. Interceptions
Fox says "Stay healthy. Continue to work hard. Not get complacent"! Yes, both I will agree will it.

Charlotte be ready for full support the second half of the season. I like how you all turning it up at the games. Keep that faith and will. See you in Tampa Feb. 1, 2009.:)

Posted by: Panther Fan D | Oct 27, 2008 7:14:54 PM

I am confused... Mr. Arizona QB had us cooked all day long ... They used their 10-15 yard passing game all day ... if we are honest, Beason's int saved our bacon,not to mention Mr. Smith's tightrope dance ...but it seems like we are just hoping for the big play ... to once again save us ... Like most of you,I would imagine,in the first half ... you were ready to start shaking your head and wondering why you set such high expectations, you read all week about respect for the DB's,you wanted to show the DB's some 'respect' but were really kind of embarassed ...I was actually glad when I heard that Coach Fox was very uset with our offense in the 1H ...Looking at the NYG, the Steelers, the Bucs (except yesterday) ... they seem to continue their offensive momentum and score points as their current course of play.We seem to count on the Big Play every game to revive us.Now it was a great win/comeback ...but wouldn't you agree our talent pool is bremming with a more consistent play regiment than how we play. Again, very pleased with the 6-2 record going into the bye ... but would hope that coach Fox and this talented team can turn on the focus lights and energize our way towards a double-digit win column.

Posted by: Pantfan1 | Oct 27, 2008 9:15:59 PM

Pantfan1, you have to be kidding me with the counting on a big play crap and other teams don't. The Giants barly won the game on a single TD drive towards the end of the game. The Steelers and Bucs lost and have a worse record than the Panthers. So I am just assuming that you are a mis-informed fan and I use the term "fan" lightly. This is the NFL and each and every game is decided by a big play. GO PANTHERS! and go away negative losers.

Posted by: Last1Standing | Oct 27, 2008 10:24:35 PM

I wish for a couple of weeks you guys that know so much about football could coach the Panthers. We win a game and you still find something to gripe about. I find that just mindless guys watching the titans game tonite and its shocking to hear a 'real' crowd. Panthers fans are so busy acting liking cuckhold husbands that we're scared to make a peep at games. We have a great team and I am afraid that you guys are going to miss out on it because you're busier than opposing coaches finding the mistakes. Go cheer for the other 31 'perfect' teams if the panthers are so bad...

Posted by: The Real Deal | Oct 27, 2008 10:50:59 PM

I would actually like to interject and answer some of your many questions Pantfan, but honestly I can not make sense of a thing you said. What is that gibberish?

Posted by: Steve | Oct 27, 2008 10:57:40 PM

I'll take a stab at explaining what Pantfan is getting at...and I sort of agree with some of his conclusions. This really gets back to what John Fox preaches. Don't let your wins take you too high and don't let your losses get you too down. You learn your lessons from each one and move on to the next game. Because on any given Sunday, anyone can be beaten.

So, with that in mind, let's re-examine Carolina's wins this season with brutal honesty. Not because we're being down on the team...or complaining even though they win. This is just a friendly analysis with hope and optimism that Carolina will go the distance no matter what...

First game: San Diego Chargers. Everyone viewed them as a perrennial all-star team, likely on its way to a Superbowl berth given how well they played last year. Anyone think San Diego is the real deal now? They've been mediocre at best this season. And yet, Carolina was lucky to beat them with 2 seconds left on the clock. So consider that before getting too high on that win.

Second game: Chicago Bears. Another team that everyone believed would go far in the playoffs. That's why people assumed the Panthers might be facing two consecutive losses with Steve Smith suspended. And we almost did. But, the Panthers were again pretty lucky to turn the momentum around against the Bears and come back from a 17-3 deficit to score 17 unanswered points. It's a great win and certainly builds character. But given how Chicago was also beaten by Tampa Bay and Atlanta in our division, are they truly the terror everyone first imagined them to be? And if the Panthers struggled against them so mightily in the early going, does that downgrade the significance of the win? Just keep that in mind before celebrating too hard. At this point, our first two wins came off a combined 5-point margin. So we weren't exactly lighting it up.

Third game: Minnesota Vikings. Here's the game people expected us to win when we first saw the schedule. But Gus Frerotte picks us apart and the Minnesota defense (which actually looks better than Chicago and San Diego's) decimated the Panthers. We faced a better team in Minnesota than people first imagined and Carolina didn't handle it very well. Despite that, the loss only dropped us to 2-1. We were still at the top of our division. So don't let such a loss get you too down.

Fourth game: Atlanta Falcons. Our first division rivalry game. Everyone expected Atlanta to be the weakest team in our division. But they've improved a lot with Michael Turner and Matt Ryan. We do okay, still finding a way to beat them and our defense holds them without a TD. Great win. Store it away for the cold winter when we'll need it. But don't let the hype of beating Atlanta to get to 3-1 make you lose your head.

Fifth game: Kansas City Chiefs. The blowout/shutout win. Our Panthers play their best game of the season against quite possibly the worst team in the NFL (except maybe the Lions or Raiders, which we thankfully get to play as well this year). This is a feel good win. But we can't afford to let it make us overconfident, because right around the corner waits...

Sixth game: Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The most disappointing loss so far. Another division rival. The one team that's challenging us for the title run. And they whip us quite soundly in every phase of the game. Again, this is one of the better teams we've played this year and Tampa Bay has proven it by beating a lot of other good teams. Pair this with the Vikings' loss and it starts to appear the Panthers can't beat any of the good teams, but we've gotten fat on trouncing the bad ones. Nevertheless, don't let this loss get you too down. We're still 4-2 and challenging for the division.

Seventh game: New Orleans Saints. Validation game. The Panthers face another division rival and although the Saints are in last place, their record is misleading because they actually have a lot of talent. Regardless, the Panthers seem extra motivated to make up for their loss to the Bucs and we trounce New Orleans 30-7. Time to celebrate again? Not so fast. We may be 5-2, but a lot of our wins have been "circumstantial wins" against sub-par opponents. The tougher teams have either beaten us or made us pull together a come-from-behind victory in the closing seconds. That might be a W just the same, but it also means those games could easily have gone the other way. So temper your enthusiasm before crowning the Panthers king-of-the-NFC and punching your Superbowl ticket.

Eighth game: Arizona Cardinals. Another nail-biter and another come-from-behind win against a really tough opponent...tougher than most people imagined they'd be at the beginning of the year. We've made it to 6-2 and lead our division going into the bye. Great. That means we've got time to heal up before we head into an easy stretch of games that will include Oakland, Detroit, and Atlanta again. But if you chop up our wins and losses and reassess them, it becomes somewhat clear that we had some lopsided/cupcake wins (Kansas City, Atlanta, New Orleans), some squeak-out wins (San Diego, Chicago, Arizona), and some bad losses (Minnesota, Tampa Bay). So keep that in mind as we go into the bye.

Now after we face Oakland, Detroit, and Atlanta in these next few weeks, it would be fantastic to reach 9-2. But again, our record will be somewhat inflated with wins against a lot of sub-par teams. The real question is how much have the Panthers really been tested? The comeback wins show they've got the fortitude to stick it out through some really tough situations. But they've got to learn to beat teams like Minnesota and Tampa Bay...or if you look ahead on our schedule, teams like the New York Giants and Denver. Otherwise, even if we make the playoffs, we may be one-and-done.

That's a hard reality to swallow, but that's the message that needs to be drilled into our players' heads. They need to salt away some quality wins against evenly-matched or supposedly superior teams. They can't afford to count on beating teams with losing records or hard-fought comebacks like the San Diego, Chicago, and Arizona games in the playoffs. If we run up against Green Bay or the New York Giants...or Minnesota or Tampa Bay or Arizona again in the postseason, we need to be ready. And that's the message the coaches need be preaching to the Panthers right now.

Just my dime on the matter,
--Neil

Posted by: NSpicer | Oct 28, 2008 7:45:58 AM

Neil, just two points about an otherwise good analysis. I think the Bears were NOT a team "everyone believed would go deep in the playoffs", I had seen 5-7 win projections preseason. Opposite is true of the Vikes, who had been a trendy NFC playoff projection.

I think we've actually been tested plenty so far. With the exception of some bottom-dwellers the NFL is parity driven and each week can be a test. However the point about "even keel" is a good one. I just don't see us rolling good teams, and when we can get a W it will usually be in classic come from behind or 1-2 pivotal play style.

Posted by: rayray | Oct 28, 2008 11:22:27 AM

i like the fact that the panthers have beaten the teams they should beat and they are winning at home.it seems to be a good change.what bothers me is that our offense is capable of being shut down against an excellent defense,especially a def that can stop the run.that makes us very predictable.tampa bay had us figured out. theres a good chance we are going to see tampa,giants or vikes in the playoffs.we better get some new off wrinkles or theyll just put 8 or 9 in the box and dare jake to pass .thats not a good scenario for us.we better learn how to run a screen pass. that would solve a lot of problems.dewill seems to be born for screens.use him.

Posted by: ray | Oct 28, 2008 11:59:52 AM

Those are great points, Ray. Personally, I think the projections regarding the Chicago Bears were all over the place. At first, Green Bay was the no-brainer pick in that division because of how they finished last year. Then, the whole Brett Favre thing and suddenly folks aren't quite as high on them because Aaron Rodgers was untested.

Minnesota, on the other hand, was looking like a potential darkhorse in that scenario, but everyone pretty much agreed that Tarvaris Jackson was holding them back. That became evident after the first couple of games again this year, which is why they replaced him with Gus Frerotte.

Meanwhile, I think Chicago was still high on a lot of people's lists to make a playoff run. If Green Bay did falter as a result of Brett leaving...and Minnesota continued to struggle as a result of Jackson's limitations...then Chicago still looked good. It wasn't that long ago they were playing Indy in the Superbowl. And a lot of their core personnel remained intact.

So, I get what you're saying. But I still think Chicago was rated a little more highly (as a playoff caliber team) than maybe some gave them credit for. And again, that's one of the primary reasons people felt like Carolina might have given away their first two games as a result of the Steve Smith suspension.

But regardless, your points are well-taken. Minnesota has turned out to be a contender. Chicago is as well. And Tampa Bay certainly seems so. We're 1-2 against those teams and should have been 0-3 if not for a late hit on our sliding QB to fire us back up.

Respectfully,
--Neil

Posted by: NSpicer | Oct 28, 2008 12:03:43 PM

and that little bootleg where jake dinks it to hoover for a 3 yard gain,burn that play in a trash barrel and throw the ashes in lake norman.

Posted by: ray | Oct 28, 2008 12:04:27 PM

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