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Carolina Panthers

Foxhole: Defensive tackles doing the job

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

On injuries: Did not participate - Tyler Brayton (ankle), Greg Hardy (foot), Jeff Otah (knee) and Jamar Williams (neck). Limited participation - Mackenzy Bernadeau (shoulder) and Travelle Wharton (ankle).

On the signing of offensive lineman Chris Morris: He spent time with Oakland. He's a guy that we wanted to boost up, we've been a little light on the offensive line, in particularly with (Jeff) Otah's absence, and we're a little nicked with Mackenzy (Bernadeau). It was a position we felt we needed to get an active roster spot. In doing that we released defensive tackle Louis Leonard.

On the decision to cut defensive tackle Louis Leonard: It's all performance based, and we have guys that we felt are playing better, like all personnel decisions.

On how much of a different player Leonard was after suffering a season-ending injury last year: I can't say. We just evaluate on the tape. Louis tried everything he could; he gave everything he had. We had a need at the offensive line position, and that's the move we made.


On the defensive tackles on the roster being different than the group people might have expected before the season: That's all part of the evaluation process. You get guys, you put them out there and you evaluate them. Right now, they've done a pretty good job. We're 14th in defense and sixth per play, and we've been out there quite a bit. So as a unit, they're all playing pretty hard and playing pretty tough.

On what he has liked about defensive tackles Derek Landri and Ed Johnson: They do what they're supposed to do. It's a team defense approach, and so far they've done an admirable job. We're not anywhere near done yet. We're just three games into the race. But so far I've seen steady improvement.

On if he saw some encouraging signs in the running game against Cincinnati: Yeah. We've been decent running the ball. Unfortunately when you're behind in the game, it puts you behind the eight ball a little bit as far as running as much as you'd like.

On how important it is for the running game to click for the Panthers to be successful: It's all a key. We've got to be able to move the ball more consistently on offense - whether it's running or passing. We've got to keep possession of the ball. That's not just turnovers - that's possessing the ball - and we'll continue to work on that.

On the ongoing battle at the second wide receiver spot: I feel confident about our two and three receiver spot to be honest with you. Again, there are a lot of moving parts to the passing game as I've mentioned from getting the snap to getting the protection to throwing and catching. I think we'll continue to develop in that and we'll get better in that area.

On who will start at the second wide receiver position against the New Orleans Saints: I have a pretty good idea, but those aren't things you spread around.

On the Saints defense: I think they're very similar to what they were a year ago. They're a very high pressure team. They do a lot of exotic things; they fly around to the ball; they cause turnovers; they cause mistakes. With that, you do that at a price. Again, they're only three games into it, too, just as we are. That's pretty much how they play defense, and they look very similar.

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