Blogging The Boys: Jake Delhomme? Any indications that he's on a short leash from the organization? How many of the fans are still behind him? And could our old friend Matt Moore figure into the picture?
Cat Scratch Reader: The last poll I ran on Jake's popularity had it around 75% but that was before the Eagles game. I would imagine its around 50 to 60% confidence right now. If Jake throws a couple picks early then Fox might have a shorter leash than in the past with him. With Josh McCown on IR I have to assume AJ Feeley is still too fresh to the team to take over. So in that event you would see Matt Moore.
Make the jump...
BTB: We've been reading lots of bad reports about your defensive line. Give us the injury problems and the skinny on the replacements? Is Julius Peppers playing a big role?
CSR: We've lost three DT's to injury for the season, a position we were not deep in to begin with. Starter Damione Lewis is available but completing our three man rotation will be 2nd year man and 6th round pick Nick Hayden who sat last week with a sore toe. The other guy is RaShon ‘Sunny" Harris, a UDFA cut loose by the Steelers at the final cut down. So you guys should be able to make some hay running right up the middle. Peppers had a decent game against the Eagles but disappeared against the Falcons. Our million dollar a game DE looks pretty average so far.
BTB: Most people think you guys have two quality backs, with DeAngelo Williams being especially dangerous. How has the ground game worked so far?
CSR: The running game has looked good early in both games so far but since we can't hold a lead we have ended up throwing the ball in the second half. DeAngelo Williams hasn't missed a beat and looks as strong and shifty as ever. Jonathan Stewart essentially sat out the entire preseason with a foot injury and looked a little rusty in the Eagles game but came on strong against the Falcons. The offensive line was horrid against the Eagles but performed much better against the Falcons. I have no reason to think the Panthers won't run the ball a lot against the Cowboys just as they plan to every week.
BTB: Is John Fox close to losing his job? If he doesn't turn things around could he get fired either in-season or at the end of the season?
CSR: That's hard to say so far. I think it depends on how bad the season went (if it goes bad). Another 7-9 season with the tough schedule and the injuries the Panthers have suffered might buy him another season. Anything less than that and it might get shaky. Panthers owner Jerry Richardson just fired his two sons from the organization so any thoughts about blind loyalty to Fox are probably unfounded. It also doesn't help his case that Bill Cowher is unemployed and lives just up the road.
BTB: What's the perfect game plan for the Panthers to beat the Cowboys?
CSR: On offense, run the ball effectively, takes some shots down field to Steve Smith and most importantly score TD's instead of FG's. On defense we have to limit the Cowboys running game, we absolutely have to get a pass rush in order to force Romo into some mistakes. We cannot overlook special teams either. The Panthers have been horrid on kick coverage so we need to limit the long returns and force the Cowboys to move the ball the length of the field. Of course limiting turnover is essential every game. Given the Panthers have 9 in two games they obviously need to improve protecting the football.