Youth movement, injuries to key players evident in another Panther preseason setback

Panther Rookie Wide Receiver, Brandon LaFell gains extra yardage after catching a short pass in the first half of the Panthers-Jets game Saturday at Bank of America Stadium. Photo by James Witherspoon.

CHARLOTTE – Two games into preseason outings Carolina football is apparently feeling the hurt of pain from its youth movement, which is being enlarged by the loss of such veteran players as Julius Peppers (traded to Chicago) and Muhsin Muhammad (retired).

Additionally, the current Panther squad is truly handicapped by not having linebacker Jon Beason and running back Jonathan Stewart and some other key personnel available for services as/of the last exhibition clash Sat. night versus the New York Jets, which ended up with the Panthers on the short end of a 9-3 count, at Bank of America Stadium.

The long and short of what has happened at the halfway point of dress rehearsal activity is overall play that isn’t pleasing to John Fox and the Panthers themselves.

And while facing media shortly after the conclusion of the encounter this past weekend opposite the Jets, Fox was quick to voice unsettling feelings.

“Right now, we’re just not playing that well as a team,” said the Carolina coach, who is starting his ninth season and the final year of his (current) contract with the National Football Conference (NFC) South Division-affiliated team. “In spots we did some good things but too many mistakes killed our chances (to win). The Panthers turned the ball over five times enroute to their second consecutive preseason game setback.

“Although I haven’t had a chance to look at the film on the game, I thought our defense gave us a chance to win the football game,”added the Carolina tutor. “Offensively, we struggled and didn’t look like the kind of team we quickly have to become, if we’re going to be able to compete in this league.”

Matt Moore echoed the sentiments of his coach.

“What we showed out there tonight was just not good football by us as a team; although I thought the defense gave us a good enough shot to get a win,” pointed out Moore, the projected starting quarterback for the Panthers.

“I know we were missing some key players on both sides of the ball but we can’t use that as an overall excuse for the way played as a team. We just have to play better if we won’t to get going in the right direction (this season).”

Trying to avoid laying blame on any one phase of the game, Eric Moore zeroed in on working harder to improve as a team.

“It didn’t go that well for us tonight against the Jets but the main thing for us is to just keep on working hard to get it together,” stressed the Panthers defensive end, who is in his fifth year as a pro, out of Florida State.

“Defensively, I thought we gave it a good shot (tonight) but we win and lose as a team. This game was just not a good effort for us (as a team). It didn’t happen for us tonight but we’ll get better. Count on it.”