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Foxhole: Coach speak


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

On injuries: Did not participate -Tony Fiammetta (ankle), Chris Gamble (ankle), Nic Harris (ankle) and Ed Johnson (knee). Limited participation - Ryan Kalil (personal), Steve Smith (calf) and Jonathan Stewart (foot). Full participation - Nick Hayden (head).

On if he has talked to defensive end Charles Johnson about not making the Pro Bowl despite having 11.5 sacks: I had a good conversation with him. It's kind of personal, so I won't go into all the details. The way Pro Bowl voting goes, it kind of takes you a year to get your name out there, and I think he definitely accomplished that.

On if Panthers were overlooked for the Pro Bowl because of the team's record: Not so much. A guy like Jordan Gross has made it two times. Ryan Kalil was a first alternate. So we had some guys that were acknowledged. What's neat about the Pro Bowl, of course fans are involved, but your peers - whether coaches or players - vote. That's what the guys put a lot stock in, because we're the ones that look at all the tape.

On how valuable the experience that the rookies have gotten this year will be for them in the future: When you're young to begin with, along with injuries, gives guys more opportunity. That's valuable experience for anybody, including football players.

On the development of right tackle Garry Williams: Three of the five linemen are guys that didn't start the season. You've got Mackenzy Bernadeau at left guard, Geoff Schwartz now at right guard and as you mentioned Garry Williams. Guys that started the season as backups for the most part have had valuable experience. Whether they're rookies or not, they get exposure on tape and that's their resume.

On if he pats himself on the back because Williams - a former undrafted rookie free agent - is a starter: I don't think you go around wondering what to pat your back on about. But I've been pleased with his progress and I think it's an opportunity and he's taken advantage of it.

On why a player like Williams would go undrafted and then have success in the NFL: There's been a long list of guys. It's not really where you start the race; it's where you finish it. There have been guys that have been first round picks that don't last very long and guys that were not drafted that are Hall of Fame guys. It's not really where they come in; it's what you do while you're here.

On his philosophy of playing starters or resting them once a playoff spot has been clinched: It's a catch-22. It's much like the preseason. You're trying to get your team ready to play but you want to make sure you have enough guys that can play when you start the regular season. Basically, the playoffs are a second season, so it's much the same approach. Everybody varies a little bit. Some people have certain guys they don't play. It varies with each individual team.

On if the season finale against Atlanta is more or less important because the game still has playoff implications for the Falcons: You get 16 opportunities in this league, and they're all the same, they count the same. Whether it's the last one, the first one or the middle one, it's pretty much the same.

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