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Carolina Panthers

Foxhole: Experience counts

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



On injuries:** There will be no update on injuries. We don't have to give that information out (until Wednesday), and I'm not one to put out information sooner than I have to.

On practice: It was good. I thought we had a great week last week. I thought it was a good time to go back and work on some things that have maybe given us trouble and clean up some things, hopefully, get guys healthier and more rested. Today was good work in full pads, and I thought the guys responded well.

On defending Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner: They were in third place as far as points scored during the regular season. They put up 30 last week with some help. They are a very, very, very aggressive offense and very good at what they do.

On Arizona running the ball more and efficiently against Atlanta: It's their ball. They get to do with it what they want. They just haven't run it very much. I think they had about 80 yards rushing, and they throw the ball quite a bit. You can only do one or the other each down, and they were effective. Like I said, they put up points. They had some big plays that I thought were the difference in the game. They are capable of running the ball; they just haven't done it that much.

On the development of linebacker Jon Beason: He's one of those guys that's got high football character. He understands the game; he understands the situational part of football. To come in as a rookie - as I mentioned many times, he came in late - he came in as an outside backer and then moved to the middle his rookie year. He had to game manage the defense against a no huddle (offense) like against Indy. All that for a rookie is pretty tough. I think he took all that experience and then parlayed it into a pretty good year this year where his peers voted him as a Pro Bowler, and again we're having success as a football team.

On having a number of players on the team with playoff experience: It's like taking that trip. The trip there seems a lot longer than the road home because you've done it before. So, hopefully, we can use that experience to help us. This game is about preparation and playing real well on that day. It doesn't matter about the regular season. All of that is out. It's 0-0 and it's one and done. To be able to handle that pressure and handle that type of preparation, it's obviously helpful that we've been there before.

On the resurgence of the Panthers running game and emergence of running back DeAngelo Williams this year: We've injected a lot of different personnel into that offense. I think number one it starts with getting your quarterback back. Everybody talks about being able to run. You've got to be able to do both in this league, and being able to throw the ball opens up the run game and having a quarterback is a big part of that. After that we've got some different starters on the offensive line. I think we really didn't get healthy until about midseason, and having that group together - that was a factor. Then you look at the improvement of DeAngelo and the addition of Jonathan Stewart I think is huge.

On how rookie running back Jonathan Stewart has helped Williams: He's a good player. He takes some reps off of him, helps keep DeAngelo fresh.

On tackle Jordan Gross being recognized for his play this season: As I mentioned to him, when you win, awards come - whether they are Player of the Week, Player of the Month, Pro Bowl. I'd remind everybody a year ago we didn't have a Pro Bowler in our division, let alone our team. I think our division has played much better, I think our team included.

On if it will be to the Panthers advantage if it rains Saturday night: Both teams got to react to the conditions, whether it's rain, cold, wind. I've never put a lot of stock in that. *

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