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Foxhole: T.D. excelling on D


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

On injuries: Jon Beason - hamstring. C.J. Davis - ankle. Maake Kemoeatu - Achilles. Duke Robinson - heat exhaustion. Ryne Robinson - rest, team decision.

On how defensive tackle Maake Kemoeatu is doing: He's have surgery (this morning). It's his first surgery, he's a little nervous, but he'll be fine.

On if the Panthers have made a decision about filling defensive tackle Maake Kemoeatu's roster spot: We're kind of where we were yesterday - in transition. We'll have something here, hopefully, fairly soon.

On if he expects to have somebody at the afternoon practice: Again, we're doing the process, and I can't predict who and when. Eventually, it will happen.

On how this defense fits linebacker Thomas Davis' style: Last year, Thomas had his best career (year) as an NFL player, and we made some concessions to do that as far as putting him on the weakside. That's continued to be the situation now. He's an explosive guy that can play sideline to sideline. I thought he made vast improvements last year and I think he'll just flourish even more this year.

On the biggest difference in Davis last season: Just improvement. I think the more you do it the better you get. He started off coming in (as a rookie), not sure whether he was a safety, a linebacker. He played in one system both as a Sam (strongside linebacker) and as a Will (weakside linebacker). Then last year he just played Will only. Sometimes it takes a minute to find out what a guy's strengths are, and I think we did a good job of that a season ago. I think he'll just get better and better. So just experience is probably the simplest way to answer that.

On the offense being ahead of where it was last year at this time with all 11 starters returning: I think it's experience. They've been in the system. This is going into our third season with a new coordinator actually. Last year, I thought we made great strides in the run game. You've got to be able to do both in this league, throw and pass, and I think guys are just a little bit more in tune to it. We had our quarterback healthy a year ago. That wasn't the case two years ago. There are just a lot of things. Continuity is real important in the National Football League, which I think is the ultimate of team sports, and I think that's where that confidence and cohesion come from.

On if any players have stood out: It's a little bit early. I don't like to comment on surprises too much but I've been pleased and impressed with the way guys have gone about their business. I think we've got the right attitude. Guys are working to get better on a daily basis.

On cornerback Richard Marshall being elevated to a starter and how his progress factored into the decision to release cornerback Ken Lucas during the offseason: It's all (part of) the process in the National Football League. Ricky Manning was here; Ricky Manning was gone. We brought in Richard Marshall. Richard was a young player, who I think has learned the game, learned our system. I think it was his time. This is never easy, the transition part of it. All of the coaches in the NFL would rather have the same guys forever. It makes our job easier, but that's not reality. So there is transition; there are changes, some of them very difficult. You get close to players. But change is part of the game, and that's the landscape we operate in. We think Richard's ready, so time will tell.

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