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Foxhole: A lot to improve on

Posted Oct 8, 2009

Comments from Carolina Panthers head coach John Fox following the team's practice.

On injuries: Did not participate: Mike Goodson - concussion. Limited participation: Everette Brown - ankle, Na'il Diggs - rib, Tony Fiammetta - ankle, Chris Harris - knee and Jonathan Stewart - Achilles.

On who will return kickoffs if running back Mike Goodson does not play: It will be a game-day decision.

On what needs to be improved in the run defense: Fits. We're just not executing. I've said it probably every other way I can say it. In this league every once in a while you are going to get beat physically. I'd be a lot more concerned if that is what I thought but right now that's not what I see. It's having guys miss time; it's getting guys in there playing together; it's communication on the things that you do in football - in particularly on defense; and that's what it is. Statistically, again I'm not into statistics, but when we've been behind - and a good example would be 31-10 at halftime - we spent a whole half playing the run. So they are going to get more yards. That stat doesn't alarm me as much as it might the everyday fan or you guys (media) or people who don't look at it every day. That's what happens. If you throw it 60 times in a game, you're going to be giving up more pass yards, and the same thing works in the run. The bottom line is we're not doing good enough either way. We're 0-3, so we've got a lot to improve on.

On defensive end Julius Peppers' production through three games: Like the rest of us, 0-3. It's not a one-man game. That's why you call it a team sport. It's not one guy's fault. I went through this a lot in the first week and the second week. The reality is none of us are doing good enough. We're not coaching good enough; we're not playing good enough. Until you start winning games, for all the time and effort you put into it the blame game can go to everybody, but one guy doesn't do it on any team.

On what makes Peppers special when he is at his best: Any time you are a pass rusher you want to get teams in pass situations. Having a 14-point lead is a pass situation; being up 31-10 is a pass situation. We have not had that this season. A couple of seasons ago, on the outside his sack total was down, so (people asked) what's wrong with him? The reality is we weren't very good that year and we got a lot of runs and we weren't in the lead very much, so we got more runs. That affects those statistics. I don't much better way to explain it other than that.

On if pass rushing is what makes a defensive end elite and is what any defensive end gets paid for: I don't necessarily agree with that. Mike Strahan was a pretty good defensive end, and his lowest sack total might have been his best year - and we went to a Super Bowl. I'm more concerned with Super Bowlers than Pro Bowlers. However all that goes on, whatever the reason is, number one it helps when you win to go to those Bowls, and that's what I look. It's (pass rushing) part of the job description. But I don't evaluate a corner on how many interceptions he has. I want to know what his win percentage is one-on-one. But likening a good corner to how many interceptions he has is about as ridiculous as (judging) how good an end is by how many sacks he has.

On if Peppers is playing above or the below the standard he expects: 0-3. We're all performing below the standard. To pin it on one guy I don't think is realistic.

On how often elite defensive ends get double-teamed: It depends on what you call double-team. Sliding the protection there allows a guy to set way outside, but there is a guard in there waiting. Whether the guard actually hits him or not, it doesn't matter. But it's a huge advantage when the line is coming that way. If you are looking at tape, whether two guys actually hit him or not, what I'm talking about is a double team even though two people don't put their hands on him. I would explain to you that it's not always two guys putting their hands on him is called a double team in the pass game.

On if teams mostly slide their protection Peppers' way: A lot. They have somebody there. Whether a tight end chips him first, a back chips him first, there are a variety of ways to set the protection to a particular guy. I'd say it happens a lot. I can't give you a percentage. And that hasn't changed since he's been here.