Inside slant: Carolina Panther Week 9 review

Here's the "Inside Slant," your twice-weekly source for news about the Bucs' NFC South rivals. Today's edition wraps up Week 9's games, including personnel news and exclusive unit grades for the Carolina Panthers, who lost to Tennesssee. It's a premium service from Bucsblitz.com.

The Carolina Panthers could end up starting their fourth different quarterback on Sunday against Atlanta.

Panthers head coach John Fox announced Monday that starting quarterback David Carr suffered a concussion in Sunday's loss to the Tennessee Titans. His status, along with that of Vinny Testaverde, who sat out the Titans game with a strained Achilles tendon, remains up in the air for Sunday's NFC South matchup with the Falcons.

It's still very early in the week and Fox said he would reevaluate both quarterbacks on Wednesday.

However, if Carr and Testaverde can't play due to injuries then the Panthers would turn to the rookie Moore, who was claimed off waivers in September from the Dallas Cowboys. When asked if Moore is ready to play a full game, Fox replied, "It depends on how you define ready. He's a guy who we thought stepped in on short notice yesterday and made a couple good plays and one not so good."

Carr, who was sacked seven times in the 20-7 loss to Houston, was injured in the fourth quarter on a hit by ex-Panthers defensive tackle Tony Brown. Moore came on in relief and completed two of five passes for 36 yards with one interception.

Carr said this is his second career concussion -- he had one in 2003 with Houston -- but described it as minor.

"I had a headache last night and a little one (Monday) morning, but I took some Tylenol and it's fine," Carr said. "It's not ... severe. I got my head knocked and got a little dizzy."

Carr said he will undergo a battery of tests on Wednesday.

As for Testaverde, rest is the best option.

Fox said Testaverde would only have played on Sunday in a dire emergency.

"What you do is anytime you put somebody out there that's maybe not fully ready, you're going to end up where you've started and that's the downside," Fox said. "It would have taken a super, super emergency for us to put him back in. An example: a minute to go in the game and we're down by two. Not 20-7 and we're running a no-huddle (offense)."

Fox admitted there's a chance the Panthers could add a free-agent quarterback this week if Testaverde and Carr are both out.

As for Carr's effort on Sunday, Fox said, "Sometimes it's hard to make good decisions when you've got a 6-5 guy in your face. Other times I thought there was the opportunity and we didn't deliver. Overall, when you throw the ball, it's a well-coordinated thing.

"You've got a receiver involved, you've got protection involved and you've got a quarterback's decision. All in all I don't think it was one person. It just wasn't as good as it needed to be. And I think they had something to do with it."

Carr's teammates don't seem to have a lot of faith in him.

"Anytime you're rotating people through at quarterback it can make your confidence vulnerable," Fox said. "I think just the continuity aspect of the game changes. But those are the cards we're dealt and we've got to make the best with what we've been dealt. Yesterday wasn't quite good enough."

NOTES, QUOTES

--Carolina Panthers quarterback David Carr took a couple of late hits during Sunday's game before eventually leaving late in the fourth quarter with dizziness.

Carr took a shot to his injured lower back in the first half from Kyle Vanden Bosch and then a blow to his knees from Antwan Odom later in the second half.

Both plays resulted in late hits and 15-yard penalties on the Titans.

When asked after the game if he felt the Titans took some cheap shots at him, Carr smiled and said, "Smile. Smirk. How about that -- you can write smirk. ... That's about all I have to say about that."

When asked the same question, coach John Fox said he couldn't tell until after watching the game film.

Said Vanden Bosch: "I don't know. I am going to keep playing the way I do. If it is close, you have got to take shots when you can take them. We had a couple of roughing-the-passer penalties today and a bunch of personal fouls. We are a physical team and we are going to bring it on every play and sometimes calls don't go your way."

Carr was sacked seven times on the day and hurried 12 other times.

"Some of them naturally were called, and maybe they were a little questionable," said Panthers fullback Brad Hoover. "But the fact is, when they get penetration and pressure your quarterback, that's a problem that offensively we have to get solved."

Carr left the game at the end of the fourth quarter after getting hit in the head, but said he could have returned.

"I was a little dizzy," Carr said. "I tried to get up but I didn't want to fall back down. I just took my time. It's clearing up."

--Defensive end Julius Peppers did more to hurt the Panthers than help them on Sunday, flagged twice for unnecessary roughness.

The first, and most controversial one, came near the end of the first half when he retaliated by shoving Tennessee tackle David Stewart after Stewart shoved him out of the way following the completion of the play.

That had Peppers fired up after the game.

"I mean, the ref's got to control that," Peppers said. "And today they didn't do a very good job of doing that. The ref's standing right there. They've got to handle that kind of stuff."

Early in the third quarter, Peppers was flagged again when he shoved running back LenDale White when he was clearly out of bounds.

--Once again, Carr was unable to take advantage of the best player on the field, completing only three passes for 15 yards to receiver Steve Smith.

"They were in good coverage," Carr said. "A couple of times I just put it up for a jump ball to see if we could make a play. They were ready for it. They were prepared and they knew we were going to it. I was trying to get something going. Get a spark. But they know who he is."

After the game, Smith broke his silence talking to the media, by saying, "When you win you're happy. When you lose, nobody's happy. Am I frustrated because we're not winning? Yes."

PLAYER PERSONNEL NOTES

--QB David Carr suffered a concussion on Sunday and his status for Sunday remains up in the air.

--C Justin Hartwig broke the thumb on his right hand Sunday and it's hard to imagine him playing this week against Atlanta since that is the hand that he snaps with. The Panthers may have to go with rookie Ryan Kalil.

--DT Damione Lewis had two sacks for the Panthers on Sunday and is playing well off the bench.

--WR Steve Smith has a hip contusion and will be reevaluated on Wednesday.

--DE Julius Peppers injured his toe in Sunday's game against the Titans.

REPORT CARD VS. TITANS

PASSING OFFENSE: F -- David Carr, who was sacked seven times, didn't have much time to throw the football, but some of that he brings upon himself with some indecisive decisions and the failure to recognize and adjust to different defensive fronts. Carr finished 15 of 27 for 107 yards with one touchdown and one interception for a QB rating of 61.8. Once again, Steve Smith was a non-factor with three catches for 15 yards.

RUSHING OFFENSE: C-minus -- The Panthers couldn't get much going against the league's top-ranked run defense, picking up just 78 yards on 22 carries. DeShaun Foster (17 carries, 63 yards) ran hard, but there weren't a lot of holes. Still, Carolina had three runs of longer than 10 yards. DeAngelo Williams got just four carries for 15 yards. Carolina ranks in the top 10 in rushing offense, but to classify them as a dominant running team would be a mistake.

PASS DEFENSE: A -- The Panthers took away Tennessee's passing game as Young finished with just 110 yards through the air. Carolina came up with three sacks and had two interceptions and Young finished with a QB rating of 36.5. Cornerback Ken Lucas played a very solid game, as did Chris Gamble.

RUSH DEFENSE: C -- The fact that the Panthers allowed 140 yards and two touchdowns on the ground would suggest they played a terrible game, but actually the defense was fairly stout against the run most of the game. It's just that the offense couldn't do anything with the ball and the defense spent most of the day on the field. LenDale White had 100 yards on 31 carries, a 3.2-yard average. Vince Young (25 yards, TD) hurt Carolina with his feet early in the game.

SPECIAL TEAMS: D-minus -- Carolina gave up a 46-yard kickoff return to start the game and a 39-yard punt return later in the first quarter resulting in 10 Titans points. That was all the Titans would need in this game. To make matters worse, John Kasay missed a 40-yard field goal in the second quarter that would have closed the gap to 10-7. The only positive for the Panthers is they forced a fumble on punt coverage in Tennessee territory.

COACHING: C -- Not sure that this is so much a coaching problem as it is an execution problem -- Carr clearly seems lost running this offense and the Titans did mix some things up on the defensive line, forcing him to think too much. Quite simply, the Panthers aren't a very good football team at this point in the season. But the answers seem few and far between. At least they play the Falcons this week.


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