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Foxhole: Stewart avoids sophomore slump


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

On injuries: Did not participate: Steve Smith - arm, Jonathan Stewart - Achilles, Tyrell Sutton - ankle, and DeAngelo Williams - ankle. Limited participation: Richard Marshall - ankle. Full participation: Matt Moore - rib, Muhsin Muhammad - ankle, and Geoff Schwartz - groin.

On any particular reason why running back Jonathan Stewart did not practice since he usually rests on Wednesday and works the rest of the week: Nope.

On the possibility of becoming the first team in NFL history to have two 1,100-yard rushers: I don't really pay that close attention to the stats other than when they're surmounted. We're going to go into the game trying to do what we think is necessary to win. It's not always yards; it's points. I'm sure there is any kind of potential. I just don't know where that will end up. We'll measure that after we're done.

On how Stewart has developed from his rookie season to now: I thought he was pretty good in year one. Like most things the more you do it the better you get. I think he's got a little bit better comfort level as far as the offense, what we're asking him to do. The speed of the game from college to pro football is an adjustment, and I think he's made that quite nicely. Obviously, he's had a very good year this year, but I thought he was pretty good last year, too.

On if he has decided whether or not to place wide receiver Steve Smith on injured reserve: Not at this point. We're looking at options, and I'm sure we'll have something to report before Sunday.

On if the passing game changes without Smith: There is no question that Steve Smith is a dynamic player. He has proven that over time. We'll obviously miss him, but just like a lot of different positions this year we'll call the next guy to step up and do the job. But we're not going to reinvent our offense here in the last few days of the season.

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