Things Go from Bad to Worse

As if things couldn't get any worse for the 1-7 Carolina Panthers, they are know faced with a slew of injuries following Sundays' 34-3 loss to New Orleans.

Five key players left the Sunday's game and did not return, including quarterback Matt Moore (shoulder), running backs Jonathan Stewart (shoulder) and Tyrell Sutton (ankle), linebacker Dan Connor (hip) and defensive end Greg Hardy (head).

Coach John Fox offered no update on the extent of the injuries at his post-game press conference or if any will play next week at Tampa Bay.

Moore left the game with 12 minutes left in the second quarter when Saints defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis sacked him and drove his shoulder into the turf. Stewart, who was starting for the injured DeAngelo Williams, took a devastating blow to the head from Saints free safety Darren Sharper.

That leaves the Panthers quarterback and running back positions up in the air entering next week's game against Tampa Bay.

"We've got two very young players there that, depending on Matt's status, might be our two quarterbacks for the rest of the season," coach John Fox said.

If Moore can't play, Jimmy Clausen will return to the starting lineup and Tony Pike will be the backup. Armanti Edwards could also see some action there if needed.

LB Jon Beason
Joe Robbins/Getty
It's been a frustrating season for Fox and on Sunday things seemed to fester.

"We are not really a juggernaut right now but to lose two of your three running backs that were active for the day and your starting quarterback, things could go from kind of not so good to really bad," Fox said. "Our issues offensively start at quarterback but it's not just the quarterback. We are just not executing very well. I wish I knew the answer. We've got nothing to do but keep working and get better and we'll continue to do that."

Fox said if Moore is healthy, he'll start against Tampa Bay next Sunday.

"It would be fairly obvious that it would be Matt," Fox said. "He can operate our offense the best of the quarterbacks, unless we decide to go with the wishbone or some kind of option offense."


LINEUP WATCH: If Moore can't go, then the Panthers could activate former Appalachian State star Edwards next week to give them another option at quarterback. Edwards was a star quarterback who the Panthers have tried to make a wide receiver with limited success.

Fox doesn't feel strongly about Edwards as a receiver right now, but hasn't ruled him out playing some quarterback.

"Depends on what position," Fox said when asked if Edwards can help the team. "Receiver right now? No. (But) we'll be taking all of the help we can get as far as the quarterback position moving forward."

TRENDING: Wide receiver Steve Smith was limited to one catch for nine yards, which came in the final minute of the game even though he wasn't double covered a lot. Smith had a 27-yard reception called back because of offensive pass interference.

"Their defense has a little bit to do with that," Fox said. "They double him at times. He did have one catch. Unfortunately they flagged another catch for offensive interference. We had a lot of issues today. We had a lot of penalties go against us that were big plays for them. We didn't execute very well. We turned it over, one for a touchdown."


--RB DeAngelo Williams did not play Sunday because of a sprained foot.

--RB Jonathan Stewart left Sunday's game with an apparent concussion and did not return. He had 30 yards rushing.

--QB Matt Moore threw for only 13 yards before leaving the game with a shoulder injury in the second quarter. He did not return.

--LB Dan Connor reinjured his hip and did not return to the game. He was a little sore last week with it and was limited in practice.

--RB Tyrell Sutton was the team's leading rusher on Sunday before leaving with an ankle injury.

--RB Mike Goodson could end up starting this week with the team depleted of running backs.

--DE Greg Hardy left Sunday's game with a head injury.

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