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Foxhole: Panthers prep for catfight

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

On injuries: Did not participate - Brandon LaFell (hamstring) and Jeff Otah (knee). Limited participation - Tyler Brayton (ankle), Jordan Senn (ankle) and Steve Smith (thigh). Full participation - Louis Leonard (elbow).

On the chances wide receiver Brandon LaFell will play versus the Cincinnati Bengals: That's why we do the injury report. Right now, he did not participate. Tomorrow will be a new day, and we'll see what tomorrow brings.

On wide receiver Steve Smith's injury: It happened a little bit in the game (versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) but nothing serious. He was limited today; he practiced.

On how quarterback Jimmy Clausen did working with the first-team offense: Good. Jimmy has gotten reps since he's been here. The guy has done a good job; he understands the offense; he spits the ball out quick. He probably hasn't had as much playing time as Matt (Moore) has to this point, whether it was the preseason or the regular season. But he is a guy that has gotten just about equal practice time that we feel comfortable with.

On the job Clausen has done adapting to the game as a rookie: To play in this league as a rookie, you've got to have a pretty good football IQ and football character, and I think he measures up with some guys at some other positions that were rookies. At the end of the day, it's a starting position - one of the 11 on the field at once. So in my mind it's all the same.

On if the Panthers will alter the offensive gameplan because a rookie quarterback is starting: I think it's fair to say all three (Clausen, Moore and Tony Pike) of our quarterbacks aren't exactly real veteran. I don't think there's that much difference. They're all three very young.

On if it is easier to make a quarterback change in the Panthers' situation or one like the Philadelphia Eagles: I've got my own problems; I can't be thinking about Andy's (Reid). We're taking a look at a guy that we have a lot of confidence in and see it that can't spark us.

On if he hopes a spark on offense might ignite other areas of the team: A spark usually ignites something, so I'm just looking for a spark, and, hopefully, it does translate to the whole team.

On if this is the biggest Week 3 game he has ever coached given the Panthers 0-2 start: No. In 21 years, I've been 2-0, 0-2. There's still a long ways to travel. We're just looking to get better. I thought we got better from Week 1 to Week 2. Now, we need to get better from Week 2 to Week 3.

On the development of running back Mike Goodson: Everybody has got a role. Guys prove their worthiness as far as making plays. He's a guy that worked very hard this offseason - both mentally and physically - that came to camp a year better as a professional football player. He gets rewarded based on his performance. You find ways to use people like that - whether it's in the kicking game, passing downs or run downs. I feel totally confident that he's a real good back, and I think we've got a few good backs. He's a guy that helps us in a lot of ways.


On the challenges presented by the Bengals' offense: They've got a big offensive line. They've got a very competent and experienced quarterback (Carson Palmer). They've got two more accomplished receivers (Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens). They've got a tight end (Jermaine Gresham) that they're feeling pretty good about that was their first-round pick. So they've got a lot of weapons on offense, plus they utilize the no huddle and try to hurry you up and get a good look at you before the snap. The combination of all those things, they are a very competent offense.

On Bengals wide receivers Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens: They understand how to play the game. They've been in those spots and they've done it at a high level. I'm not sure how many Pro Bowls they have between them but I know it's a few. They're good NFL football players.

On if has watched Ochocinco's and Owens' reality television shows: No, I don't get to watch much TV at all let alone reality TV shows.

On the Bengals secondary: They've got good cover corners. They picked up (Adam) Pacman Jones. They've got a first-round pick (Leon Hall) and then Jonathan Joseph, a proven guy in the National Football League. They've got a good, young defense, a lot of first-round picks sprinkled through there. They are playing good defense. I thought they were exceptionally good last week against Baltimore. They created turnovers and did it with their offense scoring 15 points.

On what he expects the Bengals to do to rattle Clausen: They'll do what they do. I don't think they'll do anything that they wouldn't have done to Matt, Tony Pike or Jimmy Clausen. I can't get inside their brain as far as what they'll call. But they are a good defense, and I think they've played well in the first two games of the regular season.

On what the Denver Broncos have had to deal with this week with the death of wide receiver Kenny McKinley: Any time you get close to people - friends, family - and you lose somebody, it's very difficult for everybody. We've got guys on our team that had a relationship there, and it's never easy for anybody.

On making sure players on injured reserve still feel a part of the team: We've been through our share of IR guys. We try to make them as big a part of it. They still rehab with us, and we keep them around and let them be part. It's something we take a conscious effort. Just like any injury, guy's go through a lot; they're disappointed; this is their livelihood and it's been taken from them. Not to say those things can be prevented, but you do all you can to make a guy feel good about himself.

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