Conference Call: Beason, Fox

So what did Panthers linebacker Jon Beason and coach John Fox have to say to the Chicago Bears media Wednesday during their conference calls at Halas Hall? JC was there and has the scoop.

Beason: Peppers is 'one of the best to ever do it'
Panthers linebacker Jon Beason is one of the best players in the NFL at his position, and that's the case whether or not he shares the huddle with Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers.

Aside from the concussion Jay Cutler suffered against the Giants and his availability for Sunday's game at Carolina, the headline story this week is Peppers and his return to Charlotte, where he spent the first eight seasons of his brilliant career.

While Beason would never admit that the loss of Peppers in free agency is the reason why Carolina is currently 0-4, he has a greater appreciation for what the two-time All-Pro did for his defense.

"I think Pep's going to go down as one of the best to ever do it," Beason said Wednesday via conference call at Halas Hall. "Truly a specimen, and he's an addition to any football team, any defense. I think the difference is, now that I'm playing outside, things are more clear to me how important having a big, dominant D-end [is]. But the guys have done a great job thus far. We're playing pretty well against the run, and we want to get more pressure on the quarterbacks, but teams have been doing a good job of getting rid of the ball fast."

Because Peppers gets so much respect from offensive coordinators, Beason believes whomever the other defensive end is has no excuse for not being productive, which could have something to do with the Bears terminating the contract of the annually-disappointing Mark Anderson on Tuesday.

"I was able to witness it first-hand for three years," he said, "the different schemes that Pep had to deal with every Sunday, in terms of sliding offensive linemen his way or the backs chipping before they got out. It was tough on him, but I think if you're playing opposite him, you should definitely be excited about it because he will demand that attention."

Ironically, the Bears and Panthers are tied with several teams for 26th in the NFL with just four sacks, Chicago with Peppers and Carolina without him, which goes to show how poorly the rest of the defensive line has played in the Windy City.

Fox: Panthers lucky Clausen 'fell to us' in the draft
The Panthers had quarterback questions entering the offseason, with the organization having to say goodbye to beloved starter Jake Delhomme following an 8-touchdown, 18-interception performance in 2009, and that was after a 5-INT meltdown the season before in the playoffs that resulted in a 33-13 loss at home to the Cardinals.

John Fox
Chuck Burton/AP

Carolina had Matt Moore on the roster, and he quietly put together a dynamite passer rating of 98.5 in seven games last year, but considering the fact that he was an undrafted free agent out of Oregon State in 2007, there was little reason to be overly optimistic about his future.

Having traded away their first-round pick in the draft to San Francisco the year prior, the Panthers didn't figure to be in position to select an elite QB prospect at No. 49 overall in Round 2, but, lo and behold, Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen, who was considered by most everyone to be the second-best passer available behind No. 1-overall pick Sam Bradford, tumbled down the board and ended up on Tobacco Road.

"Through my tenure here, this is my ninth draft, we've always had quarterbacks that we liked," Panthers coach John Fox said when asked about the draft. "Sometimes the draft sets up where, other than the year I got here (2002), we picked No. 2 in the draft and took Julius, there were two quarterbacks (David Carr and Joey Harrington), and we took Julius and really, at that time, got a lot of criticism for it. So sometimes you have that draft currency, and sometimes you don't. We haven't been that high up ever since."

When asked if the decision to take Clausen had to do with his potential as a passer or was simply a case of getting the best player available, Fox admitted that it was a little bit of both.

"Every year, we study all the quarterbacks," he said. "This year was no different. The difference was that one fell to us."

It didn't take long for Clausen to unseat Moore as the starter, doing so in Week 3, but the rookie has only completed 34 of 69 passes for 393 yards with one touchdown, two interceptions and two fumbles lost in four games.

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John Crist is the Publisher of, a Heisman Trophy voter and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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