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Carolina Panthers

Foxhole: Going with experience


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

On injuries: Did not participate - Jeff Otah (knee), Dante Rosario (knee) and Jamar Williams (neck). Limited participation - Travelle Wharton (knee). Full participation - Steve Smith (ankle).

On the decision to name Matt Moore the starting quarterback: Right now at 0-5, none of us have done very well, the head coach on down. Matt did win four out of five games last year; he does have more experience. I think it was time to take a look back at him.

On how rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen handled the news of being benched: Jimmy is a young player. He's a got a bright future ahead of him. I don't have any doubt that he'll be a good player in this league. Right now, it's not one position. Offensively, we've had our struggles; those have been well documented. I think the experience factor with Matt in there gives us a better opportunity.

On if he regrets the decision to replace Moore with Clausen as the starter after the second game: No. It didn't help much. We're 0-5 and we were 0-2 when we made the last switch. Right now, we're just looking for improvement and we're going with experience.

On if there is a hesitance to make changes with quarterbacks in terms of their progression: I can't answer that. They're a hard group to find and discover. I don't think that's an exact science. You could probably get the same answer from 31 other teams.

On what a quarterback can gain by watching from the sideline: There is not a perfect science to that either. There have been guys that have watched for years and then got a chance to play. There are guys that have stepped right in and taken their lumps. One that comes to mind is Troy Aikman. He was 1-15 as a (rookie) starter. Chris Weinke did that. There are a lot of examples of a lot of things, in particularly when you're talking about quarterbacks.

On having wide receiver Steve Smith back at practice: It was outstanding. Obviously, he's a big part of our offense and a guy that's a big-play threat for us, and it's always good to have those guys back.

On if the San Francisco 49ers are better than their 1-5 record: Every guy you talk to probably thinks they're a little better than their record would say. We've been in some close games. Unfortunately, we've been on the wrong side of all five of ours. Again, we look at tape; we don't look at the record. They're a talented football team just like they all are.

On his reaction to the news that the NFL may potentially suspend players for illegal hits to the head or neck area: They've tried fining them. I think it is something to look at. It's like any rule, you're going to have situations where it happens. You don't want it to, and player safety is critical.

On if there are more helmet to helmet hits now than 10 years ago: I don't really think so. The game has gotten bigger, stronger, faster. These guys do it full time now. Way back when I first came in the league, guys had jobs in the offseason. It's a very fast played game. It's a very competitive game. It's under a lot of scrutiny. Guys are trying to do their best to do their job, so I am not being critical of players. I don't think for any stretch coaches are coaching things that are going to bring a 15-yard penalty on their team. It's something you work through.

On if NFL players tackle as well as they did 10 years ago: I think the league is bigger, faster, stronger than it was 10 years ago. I haven't had time - we've kind of been into our own situation - to monitor the number of missed tackles in the whole NFL.

On if rookies come to the NFL from college as technically proficient as in the past: I think so. I think the rules have changed everywhere, whether it's college football or pro football.

On if there is a concern that more leg injuries will occur because of the potential for suspensions from high hits: There are rules in all parts of the game about low hits, whether you're blocking, in the kicking game. I think the strike zone is a little bit smaller and the game is a little bit faster. It's hard to be exact all the time. But from a coaching standpoint, you're coaching against those types of penalties or hits, because it's costly to your football team.

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