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Foxhole: Fullback position empty


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

On injuries: Did not participate: Tony Fiammetta - concussion, Charles Godfrey - ankle, Brad Hoover - ankle, Landon Johnson - shoulder, Muhsin Muhammad - knee, Dante Rosario - knee, and Jonathan Stewart - Achilles. Full participation: Jake Delhomme - chest.

Two other announcements - Julius Peppers was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week, and Dan Connor won the (team's) Ed Block Courage Award.

On if quarterback Jake Delhomme is feeling better today than on Monday: Yeah. Usually Monday most everybody in that locker room is a little sore. It is a combative game, but he feels better today.

On having eight players on the injury report, seven of whom did not practice: It's a few but it's the NFL.

On if he is concerned about not having a healthy fullback on the roster: There is concern every week. We are obviously playing a pretty worthy opponent. But we've got guys and we've got plans. These guys (Saints) played the Atlanta game with a fullback that had been in their offense for about three days, so you make do.

On if expects to make do with the players on the roster or if a fullback could be signed between now and Sunday: Again, I can't predict the future. I thought we got through today pretty well. I think we have some plans in place.

On how the game plan would change if neither fullback, Brad Hoover and Tony Fiammetta, could not play: It wouldn't change what you do. You don't re-tool your whole offense at this stage of the game. You just ask people to take on new roles. It will probably be more in that direction. Obviously, I'm not going to go into detail on who those people are or what we're doing for obvious reasons.

On the challenges presented by the Saints' offense: The Saints aren't a mystery to us. I think they had the number-one offense in the league a year ago. They are playing really well right now. They've obviously got a lot of firepower. That's why you get to 7-0 - you play good team football and they've done that. So it will be a huge challenge for our team going into New Orleans.

On players becoming more comfortable with defensive coordinator Ron Meeks' system: If you're not thinking, you play faster. Early on we had a lot of new guys in there. We did have some injuries. I think that was as big as anything - different people learning the system. We've gotten some of those people back now and settled in a little bit as far as, hopefully, trying to keep the same starting lineup a little bit cohesive. I think we are playing better for it. I thought last week was a huge challenge, and I think this week is huger, if there is such a word.

On practice squad wide receiver Dexter Jackson: He's got very good explosion. He's got good quickness and good deep speed. Right now, we're looking at him as far as learning our system, and I like what I've seen so far. He's got that good quickness and good big-play ability. If need be, if somebody got injured again, we might be able to do something with him. So he's a guy that's learning and developing.

On if Jackson could help returning kicks: He's a young guy, too, and a lot of times it takes a while for a young guy to learn. We've got a young guy we've invested some time in with Mike Goodson that we think is getting better. He had a pretty good return last week and a couple maybe not so good. That's what happens with young people - they make mistakes. But he's getting better, and right now we're heading in that direction and we'll keep trying to develop Dexter.

On what happened on the kickoff against the Cardinals where it looked like Kenneth Moore was telling Mike Goodson to not bring it out of the end zone: I think the message was to stay; the message didn't ring true. Luckily, it wasn't more catastrophic than it was. We had a similar situation where they mortar kicked it, and I wasn't sure if they were on the same team or not.

On how rookie Sherrod Martin played in his first NFL start against the Cardinals: I think he did very well. He's another guy that's a young guy, a rookie that missed some time early on in the preseason and training camp that just recently got healthy. That's his first real playing time other than special teams, and I thought he did well.

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