Carolina's run defense problems might get worse.">
Carolina's run defense problems might get worse.">

Inside Slant

Defensive end Julius Peppers said he still can't understand why the Panthers are having so much trouble stopping the run this season, even without defensive tackle Kris Jenkins.<br><br> "Everyone should know how to execute and there shouldn't be a dropoff in talent or effort," Peppers said. "We aren't going to make excuses. We just have to get better."<br><br> Carolina's run defense problems might get worse.


Defensive end Julius Peppers said he still can't understand why the Panthers are having so much trouble stopping the run this season, even without defensive tackle Kris Jenkins.

"Everyone should know how to execute and there shouldn't be a dropoff in talent or effort," Peppers said. "We aren't going to make excuses. We just have to get better."

Carolina's run defense problems might get worse.

Carolina lost starting defensive tackle Kindal Moorehead, who was filling in for All-Pro Kris Jenkins (now on injured reserve) to a shoulder contusion on Sunday. It's unclear at this point how long Moorehead will be out.

Fellow starting defensive tackle Brentson Buckner refused to blame the team's revolving door on the defensive line as a reason for the lack of success against the run.

"It's football," Buckner said. "It's not about having new guys -- because from the time you step into the NFL, it's all about being one play away from being the starter. There are new guys all over the place. They had two new guys playing on their offensive line today -- and they still rushed for over 200 yards.

"So it's not about having new guys. It's about doing your job. You get paid to play football -- whether you're new to this team, you're a backup who came in as a starter, or if you're a starter who's been here awhile. You get paid to do a job. And it's not getting done right now."


--RB Brad Hoover's stint as the team's go-to running back predictably proved to be just a one-week stint. After carrying 24 times for 99 yards last week against San Diego, Hoover carried the ball seven times for 20 yards Sunday against Seattle.

Head coach John Fox entrusted more carries to rookie Joey Harris, who got a team-high nine carries for 45 yards. Harris provided the Panthers with their biggest rush of the day when he scampered 19 yards around right end to open the second half.

However, Harris left the game later in the half when he injured his shoulder.

"It's fine. I aggravated it a little," said Harris, an undrafted rookie from Purdue. "But I will be OK for next week."

As for his increased workload, Harris said, "It was good to get more carries. It is good to see the coaches are gaining some confidence in me. I wish I could have done more to help this team win."

Nick Goings got just one carry for the Panthers, and newly acquired Brandon Bennett received none.

Fox said there's "a possibility" Stephen Davis will play this week.

--DE Julius Peppers said he was as surprised as anyone that his alma mater, North Carolina, upset the third-ranked Miami Hurricanes on Saturday.

"I was shocked just like everybody else in the country," Peppers said. "Those guys in the locker room are probably the only people in the country who thought they had a chance. Congratulations to the Tar Heels."

Peppers admitted teasing teammate Dan Morgan, a former Miami player, before the game Sunday.

--MLB Dan Morgan left the game Sunday in the first half with a concussion and did not return. The Panthers won't know until later this week if Morgan will be ready for the Oakland game.

--QB Jake Delhomme is trying to stay optimistic despite the frustrations of a 1-6 season.

"I don't think you play for yourself," Delhomme said. "You play for your team, first of all. And if you don't have enough pride to keep on playing and fighting no matter what your record is, you need to think about what you do for a living.

"This team won't quit. We'll keep on fighting. You've got to pull together as a team. The minute you start being an individual, first of all you lose the respect of your teammates, and secondly the team breaks up. That won't happen on this team."

--SS Travares Tillman did not play because of a forearm injury, leaving the Panthers with no backup safeties behind starters Mike Minter and Colin Branch.

The team waived its other backup safety, Jarrod Cooper, earlier in the week. Eddie Jackson and Dante Wesley would have been used there if an emergency had arisen.

--G Tutan Reyes, who had been listed as probable all week with an ankle injury, wasn't activated, which was a surprise.

--QB Jake Delhomme had more time to throw on Sunday than in past weeks and threw two touchdown passes to Muhsin Muhammad. Two other touchdown passes were called back.

--WR Muhsin Muhammad had his best game of the season on Sunday -- 108 yards and two touchdown receptions against the Seahawks.

--RB Joey Harris ran for 45 yards on a career-high nine carries before leaving with a shoulder injury. Harris at this point appears a little too small to carry the load for the Panthers.

--RB Stephen Davis did not play, missing his sixth game this season because a knee injury. The team might have a tough decision regarding whether to keep Davis, who will be 31 next year.

--DT Kindal Moorehead left Sunday's game with a shoulder injury and did not return.

--CB Artrell Hawkins forced two fumbles and broke up a touchdown pass on Sunday against Seattle. Hawkins is the team's nickel back, playing behind starters Chris Gamble and Ricky Manning.



PASSING OFFENSE: B -- Jake Delhomme threw for 248 yards and two touchdowns, but much of that came when the game was already out of hand. Still, give Delhomme credit for not giving up and for keeping the outmanned Panthers in the game until the end. Delhomme did have one costly interception where he simply appeared to throw the ball up for grabs. Muhsin Muhammad and Keary Colbert both went over 100 yards receiving for the Panthers and Muhammad scored twice. Carolina's offensive line did a better job on Sunday of protecting Delhomme, who was not sacked.

RUSHING OFFENSE: C -- The Panthers ran for 94 yards on 20 carries Sunday, a 4.7-yard average. As expected, the Panthers took some of the load off fullback Brad Hoover, who carried just seven times for 20 yards. Carolina's leading rusher was undrafted rookie Joey Harris, who amassed 45 yards on nine carries.

PASS DEFENSE: C-plus -- The Panthers did a decent job against the pass, holding Matt Hasselbeck to 201 yards passing and interception him once. Carolina also forced two Darrell Jackson fumbles, recovering one. All in all, the Panthers weren't beaten deep; Seattle's longest pass play went for 22 yards. However, it was obvious the Seahawks were trying to take advantage of second-year safety Colin Branch, who struggled all day in pass coverage. The Panthers didn't do a good job of containing Hasselbeck on the ground as he rushed seven times for 24 yards, including a 19-yard scamper on a fourth down play.

RUSH DEFENSE: F -- Awful. Seattle had no problem running over Carolina, especially on third-and-short situations. Shawn Alexander finished with 195 yards on the ground. The Panthers run game seemed to have bounced back, but they took a huge step backward this week. Also, defensive tackle Kindal Moorehead injured his shoulder on Sunday, so the Panthers might have to dig deeper into their depth chart.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- Jamall Broussard had two good kickoff returns, and the Panthers twice pinned the Seahawks inside their own 10 on punts. Carolina also made a nice play sniffing out a fake field goal in the fourth quarter to take over on downs. However, the Panthers didn't come close to recovering an onside kick late in the game. On that play, it appeared nobody was watching where Todd Sauerbrun's kick was headed, and Marcus Trufant fielded the ball without anyone in his face.

COACHING: C -- Let's face it, nobody really expected the Panthers to win this game, and the coaching staff did a decent job of keeping these guys in the game until the end. Give the Panthers credit -- they aren't using injuries as an excuse. Nonetheless, they are 1-6, and their hopes of returning to the playoffs have almost vanished.

Panther Insider Top Stories