This past weekend was a microcosm of the entire Carolina Panthers season and their ever-changing quarterback situation.
The Panthers, after preparing all week for the New Orleans Saints with Vinny Testaverde as their starting quarterback, learned Saturday morning that Testaverde's back had tightened up. Testaverde, 44, couldn't go and the Panthers had to go with David Carr, who didn't get any reps with the first team in practice.
"If it didn't hurt so bad, it would be laughable," coach John Fox said of the team's quarterback woes which have plagued them all season.
Jake Delhomme and Brett Basanez are already on injured reserve, while Carr has struggled with back and head injuries and Testaverde has been hobbled by Achilles and back problems.
Laughable is a good way to describe Carolina's offense.
Carr, who again lacked any confidence in the pocket, threw for just 95 yards and was intercepted twice by the league's 28th-ranked defense. After the Panthers picked up only one first down in the first quarter, fans quickly grew restless and began chanting "We want Moore!" early in the second quarter, hoping to convince Fox to bench Carr in favor of rookie Matt Moore.
As the game progressed, the chants grew louder even as the crowd got smaller.
"We just need to get guys healthy and get a guy who can go in there and make some plays and win football games," Carr said.
Few in Charlotte think Carr is capable of doing that, and right now it would be stunning if the Panthers bring him back next season after giving him a two-year, $6 million deal.
"I know everyone wants to pin it on the quarterback, but I think there's evidence that it's not just the quarterback," Fox said. "My take on it right now is that we are not a very good football team. We're just not playing well as a football and the buck stops here."
When asked after the game if he's worried about Carr's confidence, Fox replied, "I think that would be fair to access. You would have to ask him that. I'm sure when fans are booing him that will probably do it a little bit."
Said Carr: "You just try to go out and make a play. It wasn't like we wanted to go out there and do what we were doing. I wasn't purposely not scoring points."
The Panthers (4-7) have lost seven straight at home and been outscored by a remarkable 130 points (200-70) during that span. Carolina has not won at home in 372 days, but they look to end that streak Sunday against San Francisco.
Testaverde is expected to start, but that is a big if.
For the players, disgust emanated throughout the locker room.
"Right now we're probably one of the worst teams in the NFL right now, by the way we're playing," said cornerback Ken Lucas. "I know we're not talent wise, it's just not showing on the field. We've got to get this thing fixed, at least end this season positive fashion. But a lot of things will have to change in how we're playing."
After the game, the frustration was evident in the voice of longtime Carolina fullback Brad Hoover.
"Right now, I'm so sick of it I can't stand it," Hoover said.