Matt Moore still the Panthers' starter
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Matt Moore still has his job and John Fox insists he's not worried about his. It's just that nobody can seem to figure out how to end a dizzying display of offensive ineptitude that could rewrite the Carolina Panthers record book.
Fox spent his Monday press conference after the latest failed effort to move the ball replying simply, "yep," when asked if Moore will remain the starting quarterback ahead of rookie Jimmy Clausen.
Moore threw three more interceptions in Sunday's 20-10 loss to St. Louis that left the Panthers (1-6) the NFL's lowest scoring team (12.1 points), worst offensive unit (251.4 yards a game) and last in turnover margin (minus-10).
I don't think it matters if you have four years or one year and I don't care if you're a player or a coach. I think in the times now we're all well compensated. I don't think I've ever really worried about having a job in this league. I'm not going to start now.” -- Panthers coach John Fox
Despite playing in only four-plus games, Moore has 10 interceptions and two lost fumbles, accounting for more than half of Carolina's NFL-high 23 turnovers.
But Fox was quick to point out miscommunication with the Panthers' underwhelming receiving unit.
"There were some other areas that broke down on some of the interceptions," Fox said. "I don't think I can pin it on" Moore.
Fox, who has never finished worse than 7-9 in his eight previous years in Carolina, also shook off questions about his future.
Denied a contract extension over the past two years, Fox is in the last year of his deal after the Panthers spent the offseason overhauling the roster and shedding payroll to become the NFL's youngest team.
"I don't think it matters if you have four years or one year and I don't care if you're a player or a coach," Fox said of his contract. "I think in the times now we're all well compensated.
"I don't think I've ever really worried about having a job in this league. I'm not going to start now."
While Fox has taken subtle shots at the roster-gutting earlier this season, he disputed Monday the claim the Panthers don't have enough offensive talent to be competitive -- even if statistics say otherwise.
Carolina's 85 points are 33 fewer than the NFL's second-lowest scoring team, Cleveland. Its eight touchdowns are three fewer than second-to-last Miami. The 13 interceptions are a league-high and the Panthers are getting inconsistent performances from rookie receivers and new offensive linemen.
Even four-time Pro Bowl receiver Steve Smith is struggling. He dropped two passes and had a key fumble in the fourth quarter that led to St. Louis' clinching touchdown.
"I have always believed we have enough talent," Fox said. "It is just a matter of executing your assignment on a particular play."
With Williams hobbling in the locker room Monday and saying only, "I'm doing my best to get back on the field," the Panthers have dropped to 28th in the league in rushing.
After a team-best 1,133 yards rushing last season, Stewart has 178 yards in seven games and is averaging 2.8 yards a carry behind an offensive line that's struggled to block.
"Did you see any holes?" Stewart said Monday, reluctant to talk. "As an offensive unit, we're just not making enough plays. Point blank."
Sunday's dismal performance, coming a week after Carolina's first win against San Francisco, left a dark reality with games against New Orleans (5-3), Tampa Bay (5-2) and Baltimore (5-2) the next three weeks.
The Panthers, who have scored 10 or fewer points four times, are on pace to score 194 points. That would shatter the previous worst offensive showing of 253 in 2001 when they went 1-15.
Nothing Carolina tries seems to works. The normally conservative Fox signed off on a flea-flicker on the first play from scrimmage against St. Louis. Moore was pressured, threw off his back foot, and was easily intercepted.
Later in the first quarter, receiver David Gettis lost 11 yards on a reverse. It was part of a day that produced 201 yards and more headaches for a team two years removed from an NFC South title.
"We've just got to keep going, keep plugging away, trying to get a win," Moore said. "You've just have to keep that attitude or you've got no shot."
NotesRT Jeff Otah said Monday he still isn't ready practice this week, but isn't ready to shut it down for the year. Otah hasn't played or practiced all season because of a sore left knee that's required two surgeries. "It's getting better every day, every week, but just not getting better as fast as I want it to," Otah said. ... The Panthers signed G C.J. Davis to the practice squad and released C Adrian Martinez.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
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