Playoff notes and quotes

The Philadelphia Eagles would love to see the Panthers lose this week. The Eagles own Carolina's first-round draft pick in 2009 by virtue of the draft-day trade the Panthers made to move up from the second round to get offensive tackle Jeff Otah. If the Panthers win the Super Bowl, the Eagles would get the 32nd overall pick, a place they didn't think they'd be drafting.

The cold seat

There was a lot of speculation surrounding the uncertain future of coach John Fox after the Panthers went 7-9 last season and failed to make the playoffs for the second straight year.

But after adding 17 new faces to the roster, the Panthers have retooled and boast the most dangerous offense in team history led by a powerful running game behind DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart.

"Most people look at a 7-9 season and say it was all bad," Fox said. "There was a lot of good that happened in that season. There's a certain toughness it takes to play in the conditions we played in. At the end of the day, it makes you stronger and tougher. So that season was what it was. There's a lot of guys in there that hung together, which was a tribute to them, also."

Comfort zone for Delhomme

Quarterback Jake Delhomme was asked earlier this week when he started feeling comfortable playing after coming off Tommy John surgery.

"I'll be honest with you, the third preseason game," Delhomme said. "The Washington game we played into the third quarter. And I needed to play. I needed to get hit.

"The Indianapolis game we threw the ball once maybe because we had a couple of turnovers early on. We went to Philly and we had that rainstorm and we had that delay. The Washington game, I missed a hot read early in the game and got hit a couple of times. Things started to feel good in the second quarter and into the third. For me, that was it. I felt comfortable going into the San Diego game (to open the regular season)."

Beason defends Peppers

Middle linebacker Jon Beason defended teammate Julius Peppers, saying he has had an outstanding regular season, even through some fans insist on criticizing Peppers.

Peppers had a career-high 14.5 sacks and five forced fumbles.

"He has played relentless all year," Beason said. "He's really put the work in and the Pro Bowl was just part of it. He's fighting every play. If he's not in on a play, then he's chasing guys down."

When asked about the knock on Peppers that he takes plays off, Beason said, "That's not the case at all."

Overheard

"One day here and I'm already a champ. What are you going to do? You've got to love it." -- Panthers DT J'Vonne Parker, who joined the team in the final week and played against New Orleans after injuries decimated the Panthers at defensive tackle.

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