After going to head coach John Fox's day-after news conference Monday following Carolina's 28-20 loss to Atlanta, here are 3 quick thoughts. I'll address the Panthers more in depth in my column for Tuesday's Charlotte Observer and online here at CharlotteObserver.com:
1. The most positive development Sunday? It had to be Jake Delhomme's play. At least the Panthers don't have to worry quite so much about Delhomme (25-41 for 308 yards) right now -- his Sunday was better than Tom Brady's or a whole lot of other quarterbacks you could name.
Fox said Delhomme played "very well," although ultimately it wasn't enough. The Panthers have so many other problems that if Delhomme implodes this season it'll be all over. But right now, despite the 0-2 record, it's not all over for Carolina.
2) In Texas, the level of distress is at least as high as it is in the Carolinas. That's what happens when the Cowboys lose a game, especially the opener in their new 105,000-seat palace to the New York Giants like they did Sunday night. You think Delhomme is feeling some pressure? Try being Tony Romo this week.
3) As usual, Fox continues to be quite protective of Julius Peppers, the Panthers' million-dollar-per-game man, even when Peppers has a nearly invisible game like Sunday. Said Fox during the press conference when I asked him to evaluate Peppers' play against the Falcons: "Like I did our team's -- good, but not quite good enough."
And, later, Fox said when asked what exactly it was that Peppers did well Sunday: "He executed well enough for us to be in position to win. The reality is we didn't, but I don't know that it is Julius' fault."
Well, no, it's not Julius's fault entirely. But you can't just be a guy when you're getting that kind of money. you have to be THE guy at least several times a game when it matters.
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