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Carolina Panthers

Foxhole: Team captains


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

On injuries: Did not participate - Jeff Otah (knee), Jordan Senn (ankle) and Tyrell Sutton - shoulder. Full participation - Tyler Brayton (ankle).

On team captains: Offense - Jordan Gross and Steve Smith. Defense - Jon Beason and Tyler Brayton. Special Teams - John Kasay. All of those guys will be wearing the "C" (patch), and I always have a sixth that I name by game.

On what he expects from the captains: To show great leadership. We have a leadership council along with the captains. They understand what we want and what it takes to lead. Those are guys, voted on by their teammates, that were voted for captain.

On if linebacker Jon Beason has evolved as a leader or if he came to Carolina with those attributes: He had the right football character from the onset. I think everything is an adjustment, it's a level jump. He came in here from day one, again it's a little bit hard to lead as a rookie, but by example you could tell he had high football character in the way he practiced and the way he prepared. He's just grown in that role as time has gone on.

On how wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett has grown and his expectations for him this season: Just growth. Like anything, the more you do it supposedly the better you get. He was a young player coming out of college; that can always slow your development in some cases. But I've seen growth and understanding the game and what's expected of him in all parts of his game. I've seen a big change as his career has progressed.

On the importance of winning the regular season opener: They all count as one. We've got 16 opportunities. What's exciting around the whole league is this is the opening of the 2010 season. Everybody is 0-0, all the records are cleared. Everybody's got new expectations, everybody's got different expectation levels, and that's what makes it exciting. It's an important game because it counts as a win or a loss. We're trying to win all of them - including the opener.

On Matt Moore having the temperament of a number one quarterback in the NFL: First of all, you've got to be able to lead. You're out there with 10 other guys and you're in control of that huddle. He's got that mindset. He's not afraid to hurt people's feelings. If he makes a bad play, he shakes it off; if somebody else does, he shakes it off. If you haven't gotten beat in this league, you haven't played. So he's got that mindset, and I think that permeates throughout the group.

On what he has seen that gives him confidence in Moore and the offense: These are regular season games now, not preseason. A lot of times in the preseason we spend more time evaluating people and making sure we do our best to pick the right 53 guys. There are not a lot of schemes going on and those types of things. We practice every day. There are a lot of things we see in practice we may not see in the preseason games. But we feel just as strongly as we did in his close of last season.

On if he is confident the Panthers can get production from their receivers other than Steve Smith: Probably about as confident as anybody, but time will tell. We're in a performance based business, and guys that show they've got playmaking ability, we'll do the best we can. If it's a receiver, if it's a tight end, if it's a running back, whatever he may be, they'll earn that right and we'll go from there. I have confidence in our offense. No matter how we move it, I have confidence that we will.

On if running back Jonathan Stewart is 100 percent and what he brings to the offense when healthy: Last year he brought about 1,200 yards. He's very capable, and we've been taking it easy on him as far as games but he's been out here getting banged around in practice. I think nowhere but up for him.

On if the New York Giants will have extra motivation because of the way the Panthers beat them to close out the old Meadowlands Stadium: I would expect anybody we play to have the same motivation we do, and that is we are professionals and you're trying to put your best foot forward any time you go out there. Whatever happened last time really doesn't make a hill of beans this time. Whoever plays the best is going to win.

On the Giants defense: They've got good people. I think the strength of their defense is up front. They kept 10 guys in that position (defensive line). Fortunately, they can't suit them all up for game day. They've made some changes in the linebacker position and made some changes in the safety position. They've had some injury issues throughout the preseason, also. Who exactly we get we're not totally sure, just like they're not really sure who they're getting from us.

The biggest thing is they've changed schemes. The Buffalo Bills (defensive) coordinator (Perry Fewell) came over to the Giants, so schematically they're a little bit different. Like any time you have a new coordinator in the opener, you're not sure exactly what you're going to get, but that's what I've seen in their defense.

On being in New York on 9/11: That day will be etched in my mind for my whole life. As far as going back to New York, I had great experiences there. I spent five years there as an assistant coach. I have great respect for their organization. I know what they're all about; they're a storied franchise. It's always fun going back there and it's going to be interesting to be in a different stadium this time around. Being that close to that date, that's something I don't think you ever forget and I know it will last in me forever.

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