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Carolina Panthers

Foxhole: Special teams improving

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

On injuries: Did not participate - Louis Leonard (elbow), Charly Martin (hamstring) and Jeff Otah (knee). Limited participation - Tyler Brayton (ankle), Chris Gamble (ankle), Brandon LaFell (hamstring), Jordan Senn (ankle) and Tyrell Sutton (shoulder). Full participation - Matt Moore (concussion).

On if quarterback Matt Moore has been cleared to play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Medically, yes. Again, I go day-to-day because my experience has been you never know with any injury, not just concussions. We're not going to put them on the field unless they're healthy or deemed healthy. It's a physical game that you get knocked around in, and sometimes the body takes a toll. I think the world of our medical staff, and they've done an excellent job. They're the ones that deem them ready to play or not.

On if he expects Moore to start barring something unforeseen: I'd say that's fair to say.

On how Moore performed in practice: Good. He looked good yesterday.

On how Dan Connor did in his first start at middle linebacker: He's a guy that's not played a whole lot in the middle for us. We've had a chance to look at him through the offseason and through the preseason, and I think he's shown steady improvement. I thought he played well last week; he was very, very productive.

On the Panthers' special teams units: With just one outing I thought it was a pretty good outing. We had some issues with our kicker for kickoffs. But in a lot of areas, other than the one botched punt snap, I thought all-in-all it was a good performance. Whether it's number one in the league at this point, I know we're up there after one game, but I'd like to see our body's work first. But to strive for that (to be number one) is what you expect.

On how the Panthers have been able to improve on special teams since the second preseason game: It's called hard work. We've had a lot of practices and some practice games leading up to this. That's the goal of all three phases - to improve every week. So I think special teams has done that.

On the impact of new special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers: Players always make you a better coach. Typically, show me a good coach and I'll show you some good players. I think that helps. There is a blend of experience and youth, and I think he's done an outstanding job as far as teaching fundamentals and the techniques that it takes to be good in the kicking game.


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