Inside slant: Carolina Week 14 review

Here's the "Inside Slant," your twice-weekly source for news about the Bucs' NFC South rivals. Today's edition wraps up Week 14's games, including personnel news and exclusive unit grades for the Carolina Panthers. It's a premium service from Bucsblitz.com.

Is the Matt Moore era upon us?

We will have to wait until later this week to learn if coach John Fox will name Moore the starting quarterback for Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks.

"You're well aware of our options, and so are we. We'll evaluate that come Wednesday," Fox said at Monday's press conference.

It's expected that if the Panthers don't start veteran Vinny Testaverde, they will turn to Moore, an undrafted rookie from Oregon, to given him some experience. David Carr is the other option, but two weeks ago Fox said he didn't want to play Carr at home.

Moore has played in parts of six games this season but has yet to throw a touchdown pass.

When asked if the Panthers would need to be mathematically eliminated before turning to Moore, Fox replied, "Really my concern right now is to put the guys out there that we think give us the best chance to win. Whoever that will be out there will be deemed as such. Sometimes the worst thing you can do for young players is to put them out there."

Fox said he worries about that with all rookies.

"We have some guys that are progressing -- Ryne Robinson and Dante Rosario," Fox said. "It's taken some time to get them on the field, and they're having some success. With Matt, he's played sparingly in games. But he's gotten opportunities."

So far this season Moore has completed 14 of 32 passes for 166 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions for a wretched passer rating of 21.1.

"I don't think he's been lights-out by any stretch in that time," Fox said. "He just gained some needed experience, which is important for all rookies."

A couple of weeks ago, Testaverde said he thinks it takes most rookie quarterbacks three years before they're really ready to step in and play in the NFL.

"Every guy is different," Fox said. "I think you could say this about all 31 other teams, if you knew that all the top picks would be superstars and all the low picks wouldn't be. But that's not been the case. There's not a manual. But it is a hard position to play as a young player. I think that's pretty agreeable."

NOTES, QUOTES

--When asked why the team didn't give DeAngelo Williams the football more on Sunday, coach John Fox pointed out that Williams was actually on the field more (33 snaps) than DeShaun Foster (24 snaps).

However, Foster got 11 carries and Williams only three.

"I think sometimes the way the game's going and the opponent's defense dictates that," Fox said. "It's not all based on carries, it's also opportunities. I think we had fewer carries after that early in the third quarter."

A week earlier, Williams ran 17 times for 82 yards.

Fox would prefer a more even balance in carries, "I think like most two-back offenses," he said. "Between Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew, those are similar to what other teams do. We strive to maintain that as much as possible. Unfortunately (Sunday), we didn't have as many runs, so they're hard to split up."

--On Dec. 2, the Panthers used a lot of wrinkles in their offensive sets, occasionally lining up WR Steve Smith in the backfield.

They didn't do any of that on Sunday against the Jaguars.

"We threw the ball deep some (to Smith)," Fox said. "Some of it was out of bounds. But there were some deep balls."

--For the second time in three weeks, Drew Carter started at wide receiver for the Panthers.

"I think Keary (Colbert) primarily is our third wideout when we go to sub packages, and there's a little difference in assignments and whatnot," he said. "That's primarily the reason. He's more of a slot receiver."

--Fox doesn't see his team making any personnel changes in the near future.

"We kind of are what we are," he said. "We've had that approach for quite some time now... We make lineup changes when they're deemed necessary. That's been the case and won't change moving forward."

--When asked how Fox was after the game, tackle Jordan Gross replied, "He was upset. How can you not be when you get beat like that.

"That's pretty embarrassing. That hasn't really happened since I've been here. You want to know what the answer is and the one problem is, but there really is not (one). I put a lot on our offense. We have to do better."

The 31-point loss was the third-largest margin of defeat in the Fox era that began in 2002.

--"Tell them the truth, Chris. Tell them the truth." -- Panthers CB Richard Marshall after Sunday's game when teammate SS Chris Harris was asked about the team's poor play on offense and how it affects the defense. However, when given a chance to talk to reporters, Marshall declined comment.

PLAYER PERSONNEL NOTES

--WR Steve Smith had another pedestrian performance Sunday with six catches for 44 yards.

--RB DeAngelo Williams appeared in more plays (33) than DeShaun Foster (24) on Sunday, according to coach John Fox. However, Williams only received three carries.

--QB Matt Moore could start this week vs. Seattle. A decision is coming later this week.

--DE Mike Rucker came up with a fumble Sunday and is playing better in what could be his final month in the league.

--SS Chris Harris forced a fumble and delivered some big hits on some Jaguars players Sunday. He is one player the Panthers will look to keep this offseason.

REPORT CARD VS. JAGUARS

PASSING OFFENSE: F -- Vinny Testaverde had a brutal day for the Panthers, completing 13 of 28 passes for 84 yards with one interception for a passer rating of 38.4. His passes were off target all day -- some high, some low and some just a bit outside. He also had one pass returned 39 yards for a touchdown before being replaced by Matt Moore early in the fourth. The Jaguars left Pro Bowl CB Rashean Mathis in one-on-one coverage on Steve Smith a good portion of the game, and he shut Smith down.

RUSHING OFFENSE: F -- The stubborn John Fox stuck with DeShaun Foster as his starter, and that didn't work out so well. Foster's fumble to start the second half was huge, leading to a Jaguars touchdown, and it was all downhill from there. He finished with 42 yards on 11 carries. For some reason the Panthers won't use DeAngelo Williams, even though he's averaging 4.9 yards per carry for the season as opposed to Foster's 3.6-yard average. Williams received only three carries.

PASS DEFENSE: F -- David Garrard completed 20 of 36 passes for 230 yards and two touchdowns, and the Jaguars' middle-of-the-road receivers beat up Carolina's secondary pretty good. Chris Gamble had a horrible game for the Panthers. Not only did he miss a tackle on a touchdown reception by Reggie Williams, but he also gave up numerous completions on third downs throughout the game. Chris Harris had a few nice pops in the secondary. He's a keeper.

RUSH DEFENSE: F -- The Panthers allowed Fred Taylor to go over 100 yards, with 80 of those coming on a touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Taylor surpassed Eddie George and Tiki Barber to move into 18th place all-time in NFL history in career rushing yards. Jacksonville finished with 178 yards on the ground. Taylor gained 132 despite losing 24 yards on one fumble.

SPECIAL TEAMS: F -- Carolina's coverage units continue to struggle. On Sunday, they allowed Dennis Northcutt to return a punt 37 yards -- the longest return of the season for the Jaguars. Ryne Robinson had a 58-yard kickoff return called back because of a holding penalty. Kasay made two field goals, but he also booted a kickoff out of bounds.

COACHING: F -- Apparently, the Panthers used up everything in their bag of tricks last week because they were extremely vanilla on offense against the Jaguars. They didn't have a great game plan coming in, and it resulted in a blowout loss. One of the major problems is the Panthers don't make quality adjustments at halftime. The team has been outscored 103-38 in the third quarter. The only real drama remaining in this season is whether or not Fox and general manager Marty Hurney will keep their jobs.


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