Delhomme leads NFL in interceptions
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- When the finger-pointing begins in Carolina, quarterback Jake Delhomme wants it to be in his direction.
Delhomme is shouldering the blame for the Panthers' 1-4 start, particularly after throwing four interceptions in Sunday's 30-8 loss to Philadelphia.
"We're not getting it done, especially offensively, and it has to fall on the quarterback," he said. "I just felt extremely good about what we were going to do out here, but it's just not happening.
"We're not carrying it over. I'm one that's not carrying it over. It's hard for me to look around and see who else might not be, when certainly I'm not holding up close to my end of the bargain."
Delhomme currently leads the NFL with nine interceptions.
But Carolina coach John Fox refused to place the blame on his quarterback Monday.
"Each individual play, people have things they have to execute," Fox said. "I couldn't begin to put it all on him. That's the kind of guy he is (to take the blame).
"But I know from my standpoint, I don't feel it's all him."
Through five games this season, Delhomme is 99-for-168 for 1,150 yards and seven touchdowns.
A year ago he was 65-for-113 for 691 yards, five touchdowns and five interceptions -- and the Panthers were 5-0.
But part of Carolina's offensive problems start with the overhauled offensive line, where only two players from last season are back. The replacements have not been stellar, and Delhomme is constantly getting knocked down or rushing throws from a quickly collapsing pocket.
Delhomme would never use the line as an excuse, and refused to blame his play Sunday on a vicious hit he received from Jevon Kearse in the second quarter. Replays showed the tackle was helmet-to-helmet, although the officials didn't call it. After the initial hit, Delhomme's head slammed into teammate Tutan Reyes.
Delhomme appeared woozy after the play, and needed a timeout to collect himself. Fox said Monday he was submitting the play to the league officials for review.
Penalty or not, Delhomme wasn't the same after the hit.
Before the hit he had been 5-of-6 with no interceptions; After he was 19-for-36 with four picks.
"I wish I could use (the hit) as an excuse," he said. "But I can't."
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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