"They're a good team, but we're going down there with a lot of confidence. I'm looking forward to the matchup."">
"They're a good team, but we're going down there with a lot of confidence. I'm looking forward to the matchup."">

Notes, Quotes: Panthers vs. Falcons

"It's a different time, a different team and a different situation," said Panthers defensive end Mike Rucker, who is 0-5 lifetime against the Falcons at the Georgia Dome. "This is a unique situation the way we're going right now.<br><br> "They're a good team, but we're going down there with a lot of confidence. I'm looking forward to the matchup."

--The Georgia Dome has been a house of horrors for the Panthers since they came into the league in 1995. Carolina has lost six straight at the Georgia Dome and is 1-8 overall.

Carolina's lone win in Atlanta came in 1997 in one of the ugliest games in franchise history when it defeated the Falcons 9-6 behind three John Kasay field goals.

"It's a different time, a different team and a different situation," said Panthers defensive end Mike Rucker, who is 0-5 lifetime against the Falcons at the Georgia Dome. "This is a unique situation the way we're going right now.

"They're a good team, but we're going down there with a lot of confidence. I'm looking forward to the matchup."

Panthers head coach John Fox made light of the Georgia Dome jinx, saying, "We're undefeated there on Saturday nights."

--RB DeShaun Foster popped his head in the locker room earlier this week and said his surgically repaired shoulder is feeling much better.

"I'll be ready for the minicamps," Foster said. "I'll probably start lifting hard the first of the year, and then we'll go from there."

Asked if he might have been able to return from this injury this season had the team not put him on injured reserve, Foster replied, "I don't know. The collarbone is a tricky thing. Maybe if I wasn't going to be taking a pounding all the time, I could have (come back this year).

"But as a running back, you're going to get hit. You don't know what's going to happen. This was best for the team, I guess."

The Panthers might be wishing they hadn't put Foster or receiver Steve Smith on IR so early because both might have been able to play in the playoffs. However, at the time things were looking pretty bleak for the Panthers and they needed all of the roster spots they could get.

--Foster said he's impressed with how well his teammates have responded after losing so many key players to injuries this year.

"It just shows the character of the team," Foster said. "We've had other guys step up. To lose people like we have and still win games, that shows the depth that we have."

--MLB Dan Morgan was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week for his effort in Sunday's 20-7 win over the St. Louis Rams. Morgan had two interceptions, a forced fumble and a team-high nine tackles in his first game back from a concussion.

BY THE NUMBERS: 99.3 -- Jake Delhomme's quarterback rating since Week 9, which ranks fifth in the NFL behind Peyton Manning, Donovan McNabb, Billy Volek and Daunte Culpepper.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think it's technique. I was always taught that whoever gets their hands inside and the lowest person, that's who's going to win. So if I can stay low -- and I'm pretty much down there already -- and I can get my hands inside him, then I've pretty much got the advantage. Most of the time those guys who are 6-5 and 6-6, they give me the advantage." -- 6-foot-2, 285-pound DT Kindal Moorehead on how he's been able to be successful this season despite being undersized for his position.

--Former Falcons SS Brian Jordan (1989-91), who also played for the Braves, visited team headquarters Wednesday to check in with a few old friends.

--After undergoing arthroscopic surgery Tuesday to repair torn cartilage in his left knee, Falcons RB T.J. Duckett and team officials are hopeful that he'll miss just one game. Duckett was encouraged by teammate and SS Bryan Scott, who had a similar procedure last season and missed just one game. Scott told his tale to Duckett. "It was good to hear that," he said. "Hopefully this one game is all that I'll be out."

--The Falcons know the Panthers might use DE Julius Peppers in certain situations as a WR. "He's so unique because he's so tall and so strong and so athletic," coach Jim Mora said. "I'm just hoping they don't put him out there. But if they do, we've got a plan and we try to get a bigger guy out there who's athletic." That probably means a linebacker.

--In 2001, when newly signed Falcons FB Fred McCrary was with the Chargers and San Diego held the No. 1 pick, Atlanta QB Michael Vick, then a redshirt sophomore at Virginia Tech, visited the West Coast on a recruiting trip of sorts. "I took him out, took him to dinner, showed him a good time, had him meet some of the other players, showed him the life in San Diego," McCrary said. The two have remained friends, McCrary said.

--The Falcons are 4-4 in games on ESPN, which will broadcast Saturday night's contest. They're 1-2 against the Panthers on ESPN, 13-6 against Carolina overall.

BY THE NUMBERS: 3 -- Number of games this season in which the Falcons have had both starting cornerbacks healthy. Rookie LCB DeAngelo Hall missed the first seven starts with a fractured left hip socket. RCB Jason Webster is about to miss his sixth start. This time it's a groin pull, but he also has been bothered by a sprained left knee and a bruised lung.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "At least now I can see some fingers and knuckles." -- Falcons starting NT Ed Jasper, whose broken and swollen left hand is getting better. He will, however, miss his second straight game.

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