Panther Strategy vs Falcons

Panther Strategy vs Falcons

Middle linebacker Dan Morgan had tests earlier this week to determine the cause of the dizziness he felt during Sunday's game against Philadelphia, but they proved inconclusive.

Morgan had to leave the game early in the fourth quarter of Carolina's 25-16 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

It appears Morgan will not play this Sunday night against the Atlanta Falcons, leaving the Panthers with two options.

Lester Towns could start at middle linebacker, or the Panthers could move Will Witherspoon inside and start Brian Allen at outside linebacker. Allen missed last week's game with an ankle injury, but did practice on Wednesday.

It's expected the Panthers would go with the latter since Allen gives the Panthers more speed to defend quarterback Michael Vick. That is, of course, providing Allen's ankle allows him to play. He is listed as probable this week.

PERSONNEL/INJURY NOTES:

--TE Kris Mangum is listed as questionable with a knee injury, but he did practice on Wednesday and the team is optimistic he will play against the Falcons. If he's not Marco Battaglia, who signed with the Panthers on Monday, will be active.

--LB Dan Morgan had tests for the cause of his dizziness that forced him to miss the fourth quarter of Sunday's game against Philadelphia. They were inconclusive and it appears as though Morgan will not play this Sunday against Atlanta.

--LB Brian Allen could start at outside linebacker if Dan Morgan is unable to play.

--LB Will Witherspoon could move from weakside linebacker to middle linebacker if Dan Morgan is unable to play.

--CB Terry Cousin did not practice on Wednesday and may miss his first start if the season with a strained cal. If Cousin doesn't start, Ricky Manning would take his place.

--RB DeShaun Foster is listed as probable for Sunday night's game. Foster said he will play, but of course he said that the last two weeks only to be deactivated on game day.

GAME PLAN: The Carolina Panthers could have some problems running the ball if tight end Kris Mangum doesn't play. Stephen Davis ran for 158 yards and a touchdown in 23-3 win earlier this season against the Falcons. Don't be surprised if the Panthers throw more than usual this week against the Falcons and if wide receiver Steve Smith has a big game.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Falcons QB Michael Vick vs. Panthers front seven. The Panthers lost two games to Vick and the Falcons by a combined score of 71-0 last season. Vick kept Carolina's defense off balance in both games and put up huge numbers. The Panthers will be hurting if middle linebacker Dan Morgan doesn't play. Carolina doesn't play well against mobile quarterbacks. Among the teams they've lost to are clubs quarterbacked by the likes of Steve McNair, Donovan McNabb, Tony Banks and Quincy Carter.

INJURY IMPACT: The Panthers rely heavily on their tight ends for their running game, but with Mike Seidman out for the season and Kris Mangum listed as questionable with a knee injury, the Panthers could go with more three-receiver sets and throw the ball against the Falcons.

--The Panthers may be without two starters on defense (cornerback Terry Cousin and linebacker Dan Morgan), which is not good news while facing Michael Vick. If Morgan is out, there's a big drop-off in speed at linebacker.


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