Sunday, October 17, 2004 - 1pm, FOX
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After working out five free agent running backs on Tuesday, the Panthers decided to promote from within, signing Joey Harris off the practice squad.
Harris, an undrafted rookie from Purdue, turned some heads during training camp and was later signed to the team's practice squad after failing to make the 53-man roster. He's been working hard on the scout team ever since, and the Panthers felt as if he deserved a shot.
"When you get right down to it, he knows what we're doing on offense and he's fast, quick and tough," Panthers head coach John Fox said. "And you don't have a lot of options this time of the year."
Although the promotion means a significant boost in his weekly paycheck, Harris is taking the promotion in stride.
"Yeah, you feel good for a minute, but you know you've got to get back to work because at any time they could bring five more guys in," Harris said. "I want to be happy about this whole situation, but for the most part I just want to work hard."
With DeShaun Foster and Rod Smart listed as out for Sunday's game, the Panthers are thin at running back so Harris is expected to get a jersey on Sunday. However, either Stephen Davis or Nick Goings will start, depending on Davis' status. Davis has already given the rookie some good advice.
"I've told him, 'You've got an opportunity. Don't make it your last opportunity -- you only get one chance,'" Davis said.
· The Panthers added running back Derrick Knight, who spent training camp with the team, and defensive tackle Tron LaFavor, a former fifth-round draft pick by the Chicago Bears, to their practice squad on Wednesday.
» PLAYER PERSONNEL NOTES:
· DT Kris Jenkins, a two-time Pro Bowl selection and a player widely considered the best in the league at his position, was placed on injured reserve with a torn labrum in his shoulder.
· DT Kindal Moorehead will start in place of Kris Jenkins. At 6-2, 285 pounds, Moorehead is two inches shorter and 50 pounds lighter than Jenkins. Moorehead is probable with an ankle injury. He should play.
· DT Brentson Buckner practiced Wednesday but remains questionable for Sunday's game. It's hard to say at this point if Buckner will play this week, but clearly the Panthers need him with fellow DT Kris Jenkins out for the season.
· RB Stephen Davis was back to work on Wednesday and participated in all team drills. Look for Davis to start this week because the Panthers really need him with DeShaun Foster out.
· RB DeShaun Foster is out 6-10 weeks with a broken clavicle.
· RB Nick Goings will make his first NFL start if Stephen Davis' knee doesn't improve by Sunday.
· RB Joey Harris was brought up from the practice squad and will play this week. Just how much will be determined by the status of Stephen Davis.
· DT Jordan Carstens was called up from the practice squad and takes Kris Jenkins' spot on the active roster.
· LB Mark Fields still hasn't recovered from back spasms and did not practice on Wednesday. It looks like Fields is on the dark side of questionable.
· LB Brandon Short will replace Mark Fields in the starting lineup if Fields doesn't recover from back problems this week. That is a significant dropoff in speed for the Panthers.
· KR/RB Rod Smart will not play this week, and his knee now appears worse than first expected.
» GAME PLAN:
Carolina's only hope will be to run Stephen Davis as much as possible and try to keep Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook and Terrell Owens on the sidelines. It's as simple as that.
» MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
Panthers DT Kindal Moorehead vs. Eagles RB Brian Westbrook -- All eyes will be on Westbrook, who should have a field day against Carolina's weak run defense. The Panthers are giving up 159 yards per game on the ground and are now without Pro Bowl DT Kris Jenkins.
Panthers CB Ricky Manning vs. Eagles WR Terrell Owens -- Manning will likely draw Owens, who is on a phenomenal tear for the Eagles. Manning is giving up five inches to Owens and will likely struggle. Donovan McNabb undoubtedly would love to torch Manning, who picked him off three times in last year's NFC title game.
Panthers RB Stephen Davis vs. Eagles front four -- Davis is about the only hope for the Panthers this week. If Carolina can maintain some semblance of a running game, then they may be able to keep it close for a while.
» INJURY IMPACT:
After predicting last week that only a hurricane or a tornado would keep him out the starting lineup against Denver, running back Stephen Davis is keeping his status for this week's game against Philadelphia a little closer to the vest.
"I feel like if every day I can be better, then I will be on the field Sunday," said Davis, who is listed as questionable on the injury report. "But right now we just have to wait and see."
One of the reasons Panthers head coach John Fox kept Davis out last Sunday was because he didn't look sharp while trying to make cuts during workouts before the game. Davis believes he's improved in that area. On Wednesday, he participated in almost all of the team drills and seemed a little more confident.
"I moved a lot better than I did last week, and I'm pretty comfortable with that," Davis said. Davis, 30, said the fact that Foster is not in the lineup doesn't provide any added incentive to get back this week. He said he wants to be on the field every week.
"I'm tired of eating sunflower seeds. People say I look crazy eating sunflower seeds," said Davis, who has just 26 yards on nine carries this season. "It hurts a lot to see what our guys are going through right now.
"I think it will just take a game where we go out and play a complete game and get back on track. We have to go out and do that."
· Talk about two teams headed in different directions -- the 1-3 Panthers list 10 players on their injury report; the 4-0 Eagles list none.
Along with Smith, Foster and Smart, who are out, the Panthers also have Davis (knee), Brentson Buckner (knee), linebacker Mark Fields (back), defensive tackle Omari Jordan (ankle) listed as questionable and linebacker Vinny Ciurciu (knee), wide receiver Karl Hankton (hamstring) and Kindal Moorehead (knee) pegged as probable.
The Panthers will struggle filling the void left by Jenkins, who was placed on IR this week. Look for the Eagles to run the ball right up the middle at replacement Kindal Moorehead and hurting Brentson Buckner.
Coach John Fox was asked why Smart, who was listed as questionable at one point last week, is now out this week.
"Early (in the week), you don't know how they are going to respond (to treatment)," Fox said. "As you move forward (in the week), you get a better feel. That was the reason for the change as far as what he's listed as."