Panthers Bye-Week Wrap-Up

The latest news and notes surrounding the Carolina Panthers.

John Fox said he doesn't feel Lions safety Kenoy Kennedy was intentionally trying to hurt Jake Delhomme this past Sunday even though he took a shot at Delhomme when he sliding. Under NFL rules, defensive plays cannot hit a quarterback once he begins his slide.

"I don't think it was intentional," Fox said. "That game is played fast, and guys are trying hard. I think sometimes that stuff happens. We've been on the other side of that, too. It's not intentional. These guys respect each other too much to go after them.

"They want to play the game hard and tough, but I think for the most part most everybody respects the other players and doesn't intentionally try to hurt them."

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--The Panthers rank second in the league in rush defense, behind only division rival and first place Tampa Bay. The Panthers are allowing just 77.7 yards per game on the ground.

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--Jamal Robertson saw his most extensive action at running back for the Panthers on Sunday with Brad Hoover and DeShaun Foster out. However, Robertson was largely ineffective, carrying four times for 7 yards. He also fumbled once, but Steve Smith hopped on the loose ball.

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--Fox reiterated the importance of Mike Minter catching tight end Marcus Pollard five yards before then end zone, a play that allowed the Panthers to hold the Lions to a field goal and keep it a one-possession game.

Minter was not involved in the defensive breakdown that allowed Pollard to break free. Instead he ran from the other side of the field to help out and chase down Pollard.

"One of the things you always stress, no matter what phase it is whether offense, defense or special teams, is hustle," Fox said. "You just never know what's going to happen, and that proved to be a game-saving tackle because we were able to put together a pretty good series there defensively and force them to kick a field goal and be down six instead of 10, which would have been a little bit tougher road. It was a critical play. Was it the only one? No. But it gave us a chance."

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BY THE NUMBERS: 77.8 - Percentage of times the Panthers have scored a touchdown inside the red zone (14 of 18), the best mark in the NFL.

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QUOTE TO NOTE: "You always adjust a little bit. Probably about the same number of pressures. I think we just probably executed a little bit better and covered them a little bit longer. That buys time for the rush. I think defensively, our defense gave us an opportunity to win the game without a doubt. Was it perfect? No. But I think it was much improved over the week before." - Coach John Fox on if changes were made to create more of a pass rush against the Lions this past Sunday. The team had six sacks and forced four turnovers, including two on Joey Harrington fumbles.

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The fact that Rod Gardner played most of the game on Sunday for Carolina was the result of a Keary Colbert injury in the first quarter. Colbert's injury is not believed to be serious, but it could be a good excuse for the Panthers to get Gardner into the starting lineup. Colbert has done very little so far this season, although he did make a nice 42-yard grab on Sunday on the game's opening drive.

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--RB DeShaun Foster is likely to be ready to go when the Panthers return from the bye week and face the Minnesota Vikings.

--FB Brad Hoover should be recovered from a shoulder injury and ready to go against Minnesota.

--CB Chris Gamble should be ready to go against Minnesota after the bye week. He could have played Sunday against the Lions but the Panthers didn't want to risk a setback.

--LB Dan Morgan was held out of practice on Wednesday with a separated shoulder.

--DT Jordan Carstens, known for being a run-stopper, came up with his first career sack on Sunday against the Lions. Carstens is really doing a fine job filling in for Kris Jenkins, a two-time All-Pro. Carstens isn't as dominating up front, but he has held his own.

Panthers head coach John Fox is glad the Panthers have a bye this week.

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"If we had to list injuries on Wednesday it would probably be a longer list (than normal)," Fox said.

Fox said quarterback Jake Delhomme did not technically suffer a concussion on Sunday against the Detroit Lions even though he was briefly knocked unconscious, and believes he will be fine to play in two weeks against the Minnesota Vikings.

Fox was purposely vague on the status of the team's other injured players, especially Dan Morgan, who was carted off the field on Sunday because of a shoulder injury. Fox said Morgan's shoulder has "some dislocation." However Fox was optimistic Morgan might be able to recover through rehabilitation and be ready for the Vikings game if he wears a harness.

Also, defensive end Julius Peppers has a broken bone in his right hand, but will continue to play with a cast on his hand. Tight end Kris Mangum also left the game after taking a shot to the head and Keary Colbert departed early with a sprained ankle.

The Panthers are hoping the four players who sat out on Sunday - running back DeShaun Foster, cornerback Chris Gamble, fullback Brad Hoover and kick returner Rod Smart - will also benefit from an extra week off and be ready to go for the Vikings.

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