CHARLOTTE – The Carolina Panthers have lost starting quarterback Matt Moore and starting linebacker Dan Connor to injuries for the rest of the season and have decided against activating linebacker Thomas Davis from the physically unable to perform list.
Moore suffered a torn labrum in his right shoulder in Sunday's loss to the New Orleans Saints that will land him on injured reserve, head coach John Fox announced Monday, and Connor will undergo hip surgery after being injured in the same game.
"It's part of the game," Fox said. "It's next man up."
Fox isn't yet ready to say who the next man will be.
Moore was injured when he was driven to the ground by a Sedrick Ellis sack early in the second quarter and was replaced by rookie Jimmy Clausen, who started three games earlier in the season. Clausen played the final two series of the first half and the first four of the second half before fellow rookie Tony Pike made his NFL debut with a trio of fourth-quarter series.
Clausen and Pike threw for 47 yards apiece against the Saints.
The Panthers also have rookie Armanti Edwards, a college quarterback drafted to play wide receiver, who has taken a couple of snaps out of the "Mountaineer" package. They also could consider signing a quarterback with one of the roster spots vacated by Moore and Connor.
"Right now I'd say it's going to be one of the two guys that are on the roster against Tampa Bay," Fox said, adding that the team might look at Edwards and that he's in line to be the emergency quarterback as things now stand. "The two quarterbacks on our roster, we'll take a look at them this week and decide who gives us the best chance to win."
At linebacker, Fox said Jon Beason likely would move back to middle linebacker, where he played his first three seasons but where Connor lined up this season in a switch necessitated by Davis' absence.
The Panthers would then look to fill the weakside spot that Beason had been holding down. Nic Harris replaced Connor on Sunday and collected seven tackles.
"Currently – we may bring somebody else in – Jordan Senn has been around here for a little bit, and we did pick up a new linebacker that's learning," Fox said, referring to Jason Williams, a waiver pick-up last week previously with the Dallas Cowboys. "We'll just see who gives us the best chance and figure that out at practice."
As for Davis, who has been open about his determination to beat the odds and return from a second torn anterior cruciate ligament in less than a year, Fox said Monday's decision had nothing to do with the Panthers' 1-7 record.
Carolina had until Tuesday to decide whether to remove Davis from the PUP list.
"Any time you deal with injury, that player's first interest is the first thing – I don't care who, how, record, place," Fox said. "He's a fine young guy and an excellent player, and anything we do is going to be in his best interest. We're not going to subject him to anything that is unnecessary."
Fox didn't have any definite injury updates at running back, where the Panthers found themselves down to Mike Goodson and fullback Tony Fiammetta on Sunday. Leading rusher DeAngelo Williams (foot) was inactive for the second straight game, and Jonathan Stewart (concussion) and Tyrell Sutton (ankle) were injured during the game and didn't return.
Fox listed Williams, Stewart and Sutton as "day-to-day."
As for the duo of Panthers who saw their seasons cut short Sunday, Moore finished the year having completed 79 of 143 passes for 857 yards, with five touchdowns and 10 interceptions in five starts. He led the Panthers to their lone victory with his first career 300-yard passing day against the San Francisco 49ers.
Connor started all eight games – his first career starts in his third NFL season – and ranked third on the team with 59 tackles, behind only fellow linebackers James Anderson and Beason. Connor helped make the group among the most reliable on the roster.
"Just when you thought things couldn't get any worse for the Carolina Panthers, we get hit real hard with injuries," Beason said. "Now we've got more problems, so we need more answers."