FoxSpeak - October 13, 2004

Ever wonder what Fox really means when he answers questions from reporters? So do we. As part of an ongoing effort to "give you the straight talk", we took liberties in deciphering what Fox said and what he means.

*The following commentary features notes from Panthers coach John Fox after Wednesday's practice. The thoughts and opinions of Mike Miller do not necessarily represent the thoughts and opinions of

The Original Transcript can be found at -

On injuries: DeShaun Foster broke his clavicle (collarbone), and Will Hampton tore the anterior and medial ligaments in his knee.

What he meant: Our pride mostly. We had out butts handed to us again. But physically, Foster won't be on the high bar any time soon, I can tell you that.

On if Hampton will miss the rest of the season: More than likely. We haven't made any decisions yet as far as what we're doing with the roster, but he'll be out a substantial amount of time. He will be out the rest of the season. He won't be able to play again this year.

What he meant: Yes

On how long Foster will be out: Typically, it's anywhere from six to 10 weeks, depending on the individual.

What he meant: Who do I look like, freakin' Marcus Quimby, M.D?

On the substantial number of injuries the Panthers have suffered: We've been less fortunate with injuries this year than we have the past couple (of years). But I look around the League, and there are lot of players getting injured. It's that way every year but it seems there have been a little bit more of them early this year. With us, that has been the case. The reality is that we're 1-3. Our goal in the first quarter was to be 3-1. I'd be surprised if our team gave up at the end of the first quarter of a game if we were trailing. So I look at that to be the way our season should be. It's a stiff challenge going to Philadelphia this week, but every week when you line up it's a stiff challenge in this League. I'll be anxious to see how we respond. I think it will be good.

What he meant: Blah blah blah. Like I said last week, we're starting to look like a MASH unit. At one point in the game, I was thinking of drafting somebody out of the stands to run back there for us. I mean, we were having our TE play fullback? The next thing you know, they'll be having washed up backup linemen starting on a championship NFC team…uh, next question.

On keeping the team focused: I think our players understand that. I don't think there is any quit in our football team regardless of the circumstances. We still have three quarters of the season left, and whether there are injuries or not, nobody is going to come rescue us. We have to bow up and compete.

What he meant: I told the guys that it's time to cowboy up. Not only is this looking bad for us as a team, but the writers of are getting tired of writing the same thing in a different way about how we're getting hurt and how they keep running the ball on us every week.

On what the Panthers will do at running back: Obviously, we're going to have to do something. What that is I can't answer yet. We're evaluating that now and hopefully by Wednesday we'll have made a decision and move forward. We're very thin there at this point.

What he meant: Right now we're trying to see if Biakabatuka can resurrect his knees and come back from the dead to run for us. Anyone know the # for Anthony Johnson? Maybe we can get Berry Sanders.. yea, that's the ticket!

On if signing running back Joey Harris off the practice squad is an option: That's a possibility. We have to gather information. We've got some guys injured and whether we'll need those spots for IR guys, we have to evaluate that, and we don't have all the information in at this point.

What he meant: If he can show that he's not going to fall apart when we run left (‘cause we can't run right), then I'd put a blind baboon in the backfield.

On running back Stephen Davis' status: Much like it was last week. Hopefully, it will be a week closer to being healed. We didn't feel like he was 100 percent Sunday. We evaluated it all week. We just have to continue that this week.

What he meant: Davis is chillin, sipping some Courviosier and rolling on dubs in his Rolls. I think he's ready to come back and plow ahead to help take the toll off Jake. Hey Jake, Patrick Ramsey called. He left a message. It said, "Ha ha!"

On why the Broncos ran the ball so effectively: I don't think it was one position or one position group. I think it was a collective thing. We had some injuries during the game, and there were some new faces in and out of there. Brentson Buckner didn't play. Mark Fields didn't play. Dan Morgan was in and out. That's not an excuse. This game is played better when you have guys used to each other. Fundamentally, you have gap responsibilities. Even in the secondary, you have crack replacements. There are a lot of different factors as to why their yardage was so high. I think the encouraging thing is that we still had a chance to win the game. We're capable of better, and I think there are things that are correctible. I expect us to improve.

What he meant: Because we were trying to hand tackle and slap that man down like everyone on the defensive line went to Deion Sanders School for Tackling. The only other time I've seen so many men trying to grab somebody with their hands while the man ran through a pile was when George Michaels ran up on stage at his concert.

On if poor tackling is part of the problem: I include tackling in fundamentals. Playing blockers and tackling are all fundamentals of the game, and I think we need to improve there.

What he meant: Yes. If you don't tackle that man, he's not going to fall down by himself (unless he's Julius Peppers).

On why the same personnel that was so successful last season is struggling this season: It's hard to say. We have some new faces. Not that it's totally on them. We have some old faces that have been bitten by it, too. It's something we have to continue to harp on and work on in practice and hopefully improve.

What he meant: Because we got a big head and other teams are not respecting our front seven. We have a perfectly good rookie corner out there just dying to be picked on and nobody is taking advantage of that. I don't get it.

On why linebacker Mark Fields did not travel with the team to Denver: That was partially it (did not want him to sit on an airplane for three hours). We felt like he would be better served being here and getting the treatment, and the therapy he's getting requires some rest.

What he meant: Have you ever had back spasms? Tell ya what. Let me stick your tongue in a light socket and see if you can walk straight. Mark had to stay at home and hannel his bidness of getting better.

On Fields' status: He continues to be day-to-day. Again, I'll know a lot more Wednesday as far as the actual injury report and who will be probable and questionable. I think Rod Smart and Steve Smith will still be listed as out as will DeShaun Foster and William Hampton.

What he meant: I'm not telling you squat until I have to. Besides, you can go to all the websites and read the rumors just as well as I can.

On if he considered letting John Kasay attempt a 63-yard field goal following the two penalties nullifying his 43-yarder: In hindsight, if I'd know they were going to hold the ball the rest of the game, I think I probably would've let him. But giving them that field position at that time and place would have been a tough call. That would have tied an NFL record. With the game that close, if he did miss it, it would've been great field position (for the Broncos), and I elected not to do that.

What he meant: Are you freakin kidding me? The last guy that tried that had a metal plate in his boot. Even with the higher altitude, you'd have to take a rocket to get that thing to go. No way!

On if the ball travels farther in higher altitudes: You have a good idea (of from how far you'll attempt a field goal). (Special teams coach) Scott O'Brien and both our punter and kicker are aware of it. You get a feel for it in their stadium in pre-game warm-ups. It does travel (further). It's documented that kickers who kick in it, at home and on the road, their stats are different as far as even kicking the ball off. The air is thinner, and the ball travels farther.

What he meant: Yes, the air is thinner, just like the space between your ears. Thank you for your question, Mr. Wizard.

On the two penalties that nullified Kasay's successful 43-yard field goal: At this point, I'm still trying to find the movement that initiated the original call. Supposedly, it's unsportsmanlike conduct to touch a flag. It was a mistake on Matt Willig's part. It was out of frustration. Still, you can't do it. He understands that, and I think we all do. It took three points off the board because it was a good kick.

What he meant: I call BS on the movement call and I'm going to let the NFL head office know it! As far as the other call, Willig is an idiot for doing what he did and we almost had to get the tranquilizer gun out to slow down the big beast. When he plays scary roles in movies, he doesn't have to use make-up. You feel me?

On if he is especially frustrated about the Panthers run defense because he is a former defensive coordinator: Whenever we lose, it tears me up internally. It's an area that we definitely have to improve in. I think I've got a very able coaching staff and we've got the ability there to do it. Now we just have to get it done and we didn't get it done Sunday. I didn't think it was as obvious until this week. This was probably the poorest we executed our run defense. I think our players understand that. I know our coaches understand it. It is something that we'll address.

What he meant: Everything I just said I meant. It was just edited to be able to print on page. I'm pissed. More than that I'm embarrassed and our guys feel like crap right now. They should.

On if the Panthers offensive style of play makes stopping the run even more important: Our style has been to play good defense. Even as many yards as we gave up, we won the turnover battle, which was a step in the right direction, and it gave us an opportunity to win. Lately, we've faced a heavy dose of run and play action, which makes it a little bit harder to pressure the quarterback. But at the end of the day, we need to play very well in the kicking game and on defense in our style of play. We left six points off the board, three due to a penalty and three due to one (field goal) we missed. That could have been the difference in that game, also.

What he meant: When you can't run, you can't set up the pass. When you can do either, you rely on your defense to keep you in the game. When you can do that, you have to rely on the kicker. God help up now that we have to rely on the kicker. Say, do you think he'd be a good running back?

On the Philadelphia Eagles with the addition of wide receiver Terrell Owens: I think he's a very, very quality player. He's big and fast and definitely a huge weapon in their offense. They have a lot of weapons in their offense. I think (Brian) Westbrook is very good. He wasn't there last year when we played them in the NFC Championship game. I thought he was a big part of their offense a year ago as well as this year. They've got a mobile quarterback again in Donovan (McNabb), who's throwing the ball very well.

What he meant: Holy crap! We have the Eagles next week. Put on your bootstraps boys because this could get ugly really quick. That team has revenge on their minds and they have TO that can deliver the KO. I have a feeling it's going to be a long day up in Philly….

The Original Transcript can be found at -

Panther Insider Top Stories