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Offense searching for solutions


CHARLOTTE – Head coach John Fox said no wholesale changes will rescue the Panthers from their offensive woes.

What does need to change, according to Fox, is how the Panthers are playing rather than with whom the Panthers are playing.

"We've got what we've got, and we've just got to get them better," Fox said. "We just have to get better, and we have to get better fast."

The Panthers do have a bit more time to work on improving, with their bye week upon them before the San Francisco 49ers come to town on Oct. 24.

Fox said the Panthers would keep to their typical bye week schedule – the same as a game week through Thursday before the team gets Friday through Sunday off.

"I'm not going to open up another two-a-day camp. We've got a lot of young players who are going to hit a wall around game eight – that's just the way of the world – so we'll practice and meet and evaluate where we are," Fox said. "At this stage, we've got nowhere to go but up, so we've got plenty to work on."

Fox said the Panthers coaching staff is "looking at all means to move up from 32," a reference to the number of teams in the NFL and the Panthers' ranking in numerous offensive categories.

Carolina enters the bye week ranked last in the NFL in points per game (10.4) and yards per game (236), adding up to an 0-5 record matched by two other NFL teams – the Buffalo Bills and the 49ers.

"We've seen more success in two phases than the other phase," Fox said. "That's kind of where we are, and we'll try to improve in that area."

The Panthers struggled in all three phases in the first quarter of Sunday's 23-6 loss to the Chicago Bears. The defense surrendered 131 yards – more than half of the Bears' total yards for the game – the offense committed a turnover and allowed two sacks, and special teams gave up a 62-yard kickoff return and a 50-yard punt return.

Those breakdowns put Carolina in a 17-3 hole.

"I can't even put it into words. We just can't keep beating ourselves," defensive end Everette Brown said. "It's the same old stuff five weeks in a row, and now with the bye week we've got a week to sit around and think about it. It's going to be tough.

"Something has to change. We've got to pick it up in practice and preparation, pick it up in game intensity, and we've got to start faster in all three phases."

Many on the team believe the Panthers can change their fortunes without making major changes.

Recently acquired wide receiver David Clowney, previously with a winning New York Jets team, said the pieces are in place but that the parts just need to come together. Veteran left tackle Jordan Gross said there are games to be won with better play.

Defensive tackle Derek Landri may have put it best.

"Really with us, I think it is all right here," he said. "I think we have the right guys, the right coaches. It's just the little things we keep slipping on and shooting ourselves in the foot. I think we can correct those.

"You don't need a tornado to come through here and hit and turn the world around. It's just little things we have to correct ourselves, and we will be just fine."

The biggest potential personnel change to monitor before the next game is at quarterback, where Matt Moore replaced Jimmy Clausen late in Sunday's loss. Fox said Monday that it's too early to make a decision on which quarterback will start against San Francisco.

The Panthers did make one personnel move Monday, claiming former Washington Redskins wide receiver Devin Thomas off waivers. Thomas, a second-round draft pick in 2008 out of Michigan State, had 40 catches for 446 yards and three touchdowns with the Redskins.

To make room on the 53-man roster, Carolina waived offensive lineman Tim Duckworth.


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