CHARLOTTE — As if Panthers interim coach Chris Tabor didn't have enough unknown to worry about, now he's not quite sure which quarterback he might see this week or whether that guy is a quarterback at all.
With Saints starter Derek Carr in the concussion protocol for the second time in a month (he was limited in practice Wednesday), the Saints could be out there with backup Jameis Winston. Winston's 5-7 all-time against the Panthers, with 10 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. Carr has struggled in the red zone all year, and the Saints are 5-7, but Tabor's aware that his team can't take anything for granted.
"You've got to prepare for both of them," Tabor said of Carr and Winston. "And I think the reason, well, obviously, they've got a lot of weapons. So even though the quarterbacks, we're not for sure which one it's going to be, all those other weapons are still there.
"You're talking about two seasoned veterans that have won a lot of football games, played in a lot of big games that can get streaky at any time."
The Saints also have sort-of quarterback Taysom Hill, who mostly runs from the Wildcat (575 yards from scrimmage) but does have a touchdown pass this year. He missed practice Wednesday with foot and left hand injuries, but Tabor knows about multi-tasking, so Hill's someone he's always going to be aware of and someone whose tape he enjoys watching most other weeks.
"I mean, he's a good football player," Tabor said of Hill. "I mean, you always talk about value on a roster. Think about this: a quarterback, a guy that returns kicks, a guy that blocks kicks, a guy that runs Wildcat.
"You know what he is? He's a football player, a really good football player, and he causes a lot of problems not only for us defensively in the Wildcat stuff but just in the special teams area where they're going to match him up on some guys and create some one on ones to try to get to Johnny Hekker there."
— Rookie quarterback Bryce Young has been through the wringer this season, having to learn how to deal with more adversity than he did in college, plus a rookie season coaching change. But he was asked Wednesday how he maintains a sense of balance when things aren't going well, and he said his approach hasn't changed.
"Just being consistent in what you're doing and not being results-based," Young said. "Again, it's hard, and it is a results-based business. So, you accept that, but you can't let the results change your process. There are circumstances you can't control or, if things are going bad, you can't do less, you can't care less, you can't focus less, you can't give less.
"You have to make sure that you're consistent, that you're able to push through the good and the bad. So, again, that's definitely a learning (process) and something that's going to make me better."
— The Panthers added a couple of big receivers to the practice squad Wednesday, adding some depth at the position for practice.
Sims has appeared in 55 games in his career in five seasons with Washington, with 57 receptions for 804 yards and three touchdowns. He's been in camp or on practice squads with the Raiders, Giants, and Eagles this season.
Camp has played in five games in two seasons with the Texans, with one catch for 7 yards and a touchdown. He spent some time on the Steelers practice squad previously.
— Now that he's the interim coach, many people are getting to hear from Tabor for the first time, but he's always been a font of the great old football sayings.
He added another one to the lexicon Wednesday when asked about going to New Orleans this weekend.
"What we're just trying to do is make sure that we get our guys ready," Tabor began. "Because in order to win on the road, I mean, the secret is, it's not a big secret.
"You want to win on the road; pack a good team."
Where else are you going to get wisdom like that? More importantly, where are you going to find a suitcase that big?
View photos from the Panthers' practice on Wednesday in Week 14.