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Carolina Panthers News

News » Carolina Panthers Notes, Quotes 2008-08-28


Carolina Panthers Notes, Quotes 2008-08-28


Carolina Panthers Notes, Quotes 2008-08-28
--All signs are that D.J. Hackett (toe) is close to returning to practice and could be ready for the season opener against San Diego.


"I hope so," quarterback Jake Delhomme said. "I saw him out there yesterday (running on the side) and that is the first step. Mentally I think he will be just fine. He's a pretty sharp guy. He picks up stuff pretty quick and the questions he asks in meetings you can tell he has an understanding of what is going on."

Hackett hasn't played in a preseason game with the Panthers, but Delhomme believes that can be overrated.

"I always look back to the 2003 season, and I don't know how many plays I ran with Moose and Steve and Ricky Proehl until that halftime of the first game," said Delhomme, who relieved Rodney Peete that afternoon and led the Panthers to a come-from behind win against Jacksonville.

"I didn't run many plays with those guys. I think a lot of that, in my opinion, is on the quarterback - watching film and watching them in practice and watching body language and learning how they run certain routes. You just try to get familiar with them in that way."

--Fans have been anxious to see rookie RB Jonathan Stewart run behind the first-team offensive line and on Saturday night they finally got their wish.

And the kid didn't disappoint.

Stewart, the first-round pick out of Oregon, turned in a brilliant performance carrying 10 times for 100 yards, half of those coming on an impressive 50-yard touchdown run around left end in the second quarter.

Prior to Saturday night Stewart had only gained 3 yards on four carries, all of those coming last week against Philadelphia while running behind the second-team line.

"It was definitely a different experience than last week," Stewart said. "Last week was more getting my feet wet. It was like, 'This is what I'm doing now.' But I had a little more confidence tonight, especially when one of your first runs is a big run. It builds confidence as a runner. So that being said, I just kind of kept things rolling after that."

As for his touchdown run, Stewart was quick to deflect credit to his blockers.

"The only thing I had to do was run to the sidelines and cut it up - that is how good the blocking was," Stewart said. "The offensive line did a tremendous job all night and (fullback) Brad Hoover, he's our lights in the dark. So he just kind of leads and guides us and we have to pick and choose holes."

--With WR Muhsin Muhammad sitting out with a rib injury against the Redskins, Dwayne Jarrett was given an opportunity to showcase his skills with the first-team offense.

Jarrett caught four passes for 40 yards, including an 18-yard catch.

"It definitely helps out your confidence," Jarrett said. "You have to do the best you can while you are out there and try to get better the next week and keep the progress going."

Muhammad, by the way, has since returned to practice and should be fine for the regular season.

--Jake Delhomme said getting two-and-a-half quarters of work against Washington was huge for him.

"For me, I needed to play," said Delhomme, who completed 11 of 19 passes for 159 yards with two touchdowns and one pick. "I needed to get hit.

"The first game I didn't play much and the last game when it started pouring, the big thing was to get the snap and don't do anything stupid. But I needed this. I needed to get hit. I needed to play. I made a few mistakes early on. That was huge for me. I knew I needed it, but I didn't think I needed it as much as I did."

--TE Dante Rosario is showing why he may wind up leading all Carolina tight ends in receptions this year, catching two passes for 44 yards and a touchdown. Rosario, who came on toward the end of his rookie season in 2007, has great hands and better speed than starter Jeff King.

--For those who think John Kasay doesn't have much leg left, think again.

The 18-year NFL veteran hit on all four field goal attempts Saturday night, including a 52-yarder in the fourth quarter. He also hit from 29, 28 and 29 yards.

--You can pretty much bet kicker Rhys Lloyd has earned a roster spot. Lloyd got quite a workout on Saturday night and was terrific on kickoffs with all 10 attempts reaching the end zone. Four of those sailed at least six yards deep with two resulting in touchbacks.

--Coach John Fox said seventh-round pick Hilee Taylor from UNC has performed well so far in the preseason as well as in training camp. Taylor has two sacks for the Panthers as a pass rush specialist.

"Hilee's a guy that's got good speed off the edge, and I think he's a smart, young man," Fox said. "He's picked up the defense schematically and I think has had a fine camp."

BY THE NUMBERS: 43-28. Jake Delhomme's career record as the Panthers starting quarterback, including playoff games.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm sitting there watching the first offense (at Fan Fest practice in August) and I got a smile and thought, 'Hey, this is really cool; I've got a quarterback!' No offense to anybody else. But it's important to have a guy that's been there, that has the confidence of the team - not just on offense, but the whole football team - that's been with you for a long time, and is a great leader." -- Coach John Fox on having Jake Delhomme back leading his offense.



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: August 28, 2008

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Steve Smith Name: Steve Smith
#89
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Age: 29
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