Foxhole: Saints defense playing at high level

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, J.J. Jansen - tight left groin, Greg Olsen - knee, and Dante Rosario - knee. Full participation: Cam Newton - chest, Landon Johnson - shoulder, and Christian McCaffrey - Achilles.

On how creative you have to be when you don't have a healthy fullback: You just adjust. There are guys that have been in our system, know our system. I can go back to New Orleans. Two weeks ago, they lost (number) 44, (Heath) Evans, their fullback. They brought a guy in and played the Atlanta Falcons last week with no fullback. I mean, they got a guy, but he had been in the building for three days to get ready to play a division opponent. You make do, you adjust and you put people in there that know your system.

On what the fullback means to the Panthers' offense: It's huge. We run the ball; it's not a mystery. So the blocking element is important and the fullback is a big part of that blocking element. We interchange the tight end and fullback position. There is some cross-training there that I think everybody in the league pretty much uses, so you've got some flexibility - not just week-to-week but even within a game if something happens.

On if the Panthers seriously considered signing a fullback: We thought about it; it's always a consideration. You always look. At the end of the day, we'll see if it was the right decision or not. We decided to stay within and, hopefully, get through with some guys being nicked up.

On what he looks for in a quarterback for his system: Number one - you are looking for a good quarterback. You want a quarterback that's able to throw and do all the things you'd expect an NFL quarterback to do. They come from all different places, shapes, sizes. The truth be told, it's probably the hardest position to find and evaluate in the National Football League. They don't grow them on trees and they're not easy or inexpensive to get. The way I look at it, I think one of the most important qualities is a guy that's got some command, got some leadership. The second thing would be smart. And third might be how he throws and all those measureable things. That's how I look at the quarterback position. Everybody's different. I feel like Jake's (Delhomme) all those, and he's won a lot of games.

On the improvement of the Saints' defense this year: They are way different. They are very aggressive in style, more multiple in style than some and than what they used to be. Right now, they are playing at a high level. They have improved their personnel. Getting Darren Sharper, who's a proven free safety, I think that's been a critical acquisition for them. (Jabari) Greer, a cornerback that's played in the league at a high level. They had some injuries and they got some of those guys back - (Will) Smith, (Charles) Grant. Right now, they are playing without (Sedrick) Ellis, a defensive tackle. Everybody's got injuries; everybody deals with it. But overall, they changed scheme and they're playing it at a high level.

On the difference a new coach can make, like the impact new Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is having: It's a big difference when you win. Some people are looking around probably wondering about coaching changes that aren't winning. But I think when you win you obviously appear to be a better coach. But I think he's been a good coach for some time.

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