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Foxhole: Hoover, Godfrey return


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

On injuries: Did not participate: Na'il Diggs - ribs, Charles Johnson - pectoral, and Jonathan Stewart - Achilles. Limited participation: Damione Lewis - shoulder. Full participation: Charles Godfrey - ankle, Brad Hoover - ankle, and Julius Peppers - hand.

On the return of fullback Brad Hoover and safety Charles Godfrey: Leadership, knowledge of the offense, Brad gives us that blocking element that we were getting with Tony (Fiammetta). In fact, for one week there neither one of them was in. So that helps to get that back and, hopefully, that helps our running game. Charles, getting him back will be helpful. It gives us some depth there, not just on defense but in the kicking game as well.

On how he approaches a situation where a starter (Charles Godfrey) gets injured and his replacement (Sherrod Martin) plays well in his place: Today was his first practice. Get him back acclimated. Typically, you grow one side of the ball or the other, whether it's Brad Hoover at fullback or Charles at safety. The guy has got to get back in, get re-acclimated to the defense, and then you make a decision.

On the situation at linebacker with Landon Johnson being placed on injured reserve and Na'il Diggs not practicing because of a rib injury: James Anderson has played for us; he knows the defense. Dan Connor has played, so he can slide in there, too. We're starting to get a little thin. It does affect our kicking game with guys you have active for special teams. But we'll evaluate it as the week goes on and see what's going to give us the best chance to win, and that's who we'll go with.

On when he expects Diggs to return: Each deal is day-to-day. He is a tough guy. He's played injured before, and we'll play it by ear.

On dealing with season-ending injuries to high-profile players like Thomas Davis and Jordan Gross: It's unfortunate but it gives other guys opportunities. Sherrod Martin, nobody had heard of until Charles Godfrey got hurt. Guys have got to step in, whether it's a (Shonn) Greene when their (running) back got hurt or the defensive tackle that's playing for (Kris) Jenkins or Travelle Wharton playing left tackle. Guys have got to step up and guys around them have got to step up. You fight through it. You've got to overcome injuries.

On if he has to guard against a letdown when a high-profile player gets hurt: It's competitive, and you've got to buck up and get it down. Nobody comes and rescues you; nobody feels sorry for you. It gives guys opportunities, and this is a profession and your interview is every week on that tape. We'll have to have guys step up, and I'm sure we will.

On Jets rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez: We liked him coming out (of college). I thought he was a tremendous prospect. I think as a rookie he's done a good job. Like any young player, they make mistakes and take awhile to be trained. He's hit a little bit of a slump, but I'm sure they'll adjust that some. We dealt with that as an offense in our passing game early in the season. You try to get that guy's confidence back, get him out of the slump. But he's a talented guy, capable of making all of the throws. He's got good mobility; he's a smart guy; he works at it, so he's got all of the tools. It's just you're competing against guys that have been doing it for a long time.

On the Jets' rushing offense: There is no mystery offensively - they want to run the ball much like us. They are second in the league in rushing and we're third in the league in rushing. They lean on those guys pretty good. Both (Shonn) Greene and (Thomas) Jones have done an outstanding job. Their blocking element is key. They've got offensive linemen that are good, have been around and have been together all season. They know what they're doing in the run game and they execute it very well, so it will be a big challenge.

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