CHARLOTTE – The Eagles change at quarterback hasn't changed anything for the Panthers leading up to Monday night's game.
"The preparation is still the same," cornerback Josh Norman said.
Nick Foles is out with a broken collarbone suffered during the second quarter of Philadelphia's 31-21 win over the Houston Texans last week. Mark Sanchez, who filled in for Foles and completed 15-of-22 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns along with two interceptions, will make his first start since 2012 while with the New York Jets.
Starting in the NFL is nothing new for Sanchez. The former first-round pick started 62 regular season games in five years with the Jets, helping them reach the AFC Championship game in 2009 and 2010.
"Mark Sanchez is a terrific football player," head coach Ron Rivera said. "He's had a lot of success."
Sanchez is one of the more well-established quarterbacks in the league, so the Panthers have a good idea of what he's capable of.
"Sanchez is a guy that has been around, and he's going to be ready to go," linebacker Luke Kuechly said. "He's not going to drop the ball in the sense of not knowing what he's doing.
"The majority of what they are doing on offense will stay the same."
Sanchez will be directing the up-tempo offense head coach Chip Kelly brought to Philadelphia, and that scheme is Carolina's focus, not the individual playing quarterback.
"It'll be interesting to see how he handles the volume of what they do," Rivera said. "But you don't necessarily prepare for the individual as much as you prepare for what they do."
Sanchez described what the Eagles do as fast-break basketball, with him acting as a quick-thinking point guard. It's an offense that is designed to overwhelm defenses with pace.
Carolina's defense knows it will need to remain committed to its own attack-oriented approach to stifle the Eagles. And that ultimately comes down to getting to the quarterback, no matter where he stands on the depth chart.
"Us affecting him will be the outcome – it will determine if we win or lose this game," defensive end Charles Johnson said. "As a D-line, we have to get there. We know we have to change the outcome."