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Foxhole: Patriot games


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

On injuries: Did not participate: Tyler Brayton - concussion, Jake Delhomme - right finger, Na'il Diggs - ribs, Muhsin Muhammad - knee, and Jonathan Stewart - Achilles. Full participation: Dwayne Jarrett - ankle, Charles Johnson - pectoral, Captain Munnerlyn - concussion, and DeAngelo Williams - ankle.

On the challenge of playing the Patriots: They are a fine football team. They've got great tradition. They're tough at home; they're 6-0 (there) this season. They've got an outstanding quarterback with a lot of weapons. Defensively, they're salty. They've gotten a little younger on defense but probably a little bit more athletic. So it will be a tough challenge, and one we're looking forward to.

On if he expects the Patriots to be feistier after losing two consecutive games: They've lost some close games over the last month. It's a tough league, and these wins are hard to come by. They lost two one-point games. They haven't had those struggles at home, and that's where we play this week.

On what sets Patriots quarterback Tom Brady apart from others: First of all, he's a great competitor. He's had a good supporting cast. I think who's around you, when you look through time and all your great quarterbacks, your Hall of Fame quarterbacks, there is a pretty good supporting cast along with them. He's as good as there is in the business and has been for some time, and I think that's why they've won so many games.

On when quarterback Delhomme will have the protective wrap removed from his broken finger: His status is the same - it's day-to-day. Our medical people handle that. I handle him when he's out here.

On if Delhomme has any chance of playing this week: Today is Wednesday, and we'll look at it again tomorrow. I'll talk to the medical people and they'll give me an update tomorrow, and what that entails I won't know until tomorrow.

On how running back DeAngelo Williams looked: Good.

On if players can lose their starting spot while injured: It's real competitive. If a guy comes back and he looks to be the best that week he comes back, then that's the guy that starts. You put out there who you think gives you the best chance to win, even just that (one) game. Sometimes the matchups are different. Sometimes different players have different strengths and weaknesses, so whatever matches up for that opponent I think is the route you go.

On if a player gets his starting job back when he returns from an injury: It's really not one way or the other. It's not automatic you get it back; it's not automatic you don't. There's not much automatic about this profession.

On rookie running back Tyrell Sutton: The very first time we used him was at fullback against New Orleans, and that wasn't even at his natural position. He's a guy that had we not had injuries at a position, he wouldn't have gotten that chance. So he took full advantage of it. Look at Mackenzy Bernadeau. The list is long, unfortunately.

On having 12 different starting alignments on defense because of injuries: It's part of the game. You like it not to be quite that big a part week-to-week. I think our coaching staff and our players, young guys that have been called on, James Anderson - who's really our third-team Will linebacker - I think has played really well over the last couple of weeks. A couple of our tackles weren't even at camp with us; I'm still getting their names down. But I think they're doing a good job and our staff has done a good job, and the guys have kept hammering event with a lot of turnover. Sometimes that doesn't bode well with a defense, but they've continued fighting and done a good job.

On how injuries have limited what the Panthers have been able to do on defense: You're re-training people. If you're changing people every week, it becomes a little bit tougher.

On if the wind made practice challenging: Yeah. Being up at our alternative spot (indoors) would have been a bit of a challenge, too. But I thought it held up pretty good, actually. I was hoping the wind would not be here quite so fast. It made the kicking game interesting.

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