CHARLOTTE – New DT Hollis Thomas is expecting to see a lot of playing time this week when the Carolina Panthers host the Washington Redskins.
Hollis, who was playing between 20 and 30 snaps per game for the St. Louis Rams, said the defensive scheme here is fairly simple but he’s still getting used to some minor things.
“It’s not like I’m walking in right off the street and I haven’t been in any organized activity,” Thomas said. “It will take some getting used to the way they do things. But it’s like a freshman in a high school learning where the classes are and learning how to go about things.”
Thomas knows that in the big picture his job is to clog the middle of the line.
“That’s what they brought me in for and what I’m known for. I’m just going to try to do it to the best of my ability,” Thomas said.
Coach John Fox said he doesn’t think Thomas will have a tough time filling that role.
“Each day he's going to get it better figured out,” Fox said. “Playing defensive tackle in the National Football League - it's a three technique or a one technique - so it's not real complicated. It's just there are a lot of stunts, adjustments, different blitzes, different techniques, so basically he's learning a new language. Other than that he's a pretty quick study.”
So what does Hollis, a 15-year veteran, see what’s wrong with a defense that’s giving up 182.7 yards per game on the ground?
“I don’t know. I’m just here to play the best of my ability and prevent those kinds of things from happening,” Thomas said. “It’s not just me. It’s not just me, it’s a total team effort. I can’t stop a team by myself. I’m just here to add to the pieces that they already have.”
PINK IS IN: Several players around the league wore pink over the weekend to raise awareness for breast cancer and it turns out the whole thing stemmed from RB DeAngelo Williams’ idea.
Williams petitioned the league this past off-season to allow players to wear pink cleats – dress code rules strictly prohibit players from wearing anything but black and white – and the league accepted his idea.
“It means something to a lot of people affected by it,” said Williams, who will be wearing pink cleats on Sunday vs. Washington. “Families and the people actually affected by it. Nothing is stronger than wearing pink on the thing that keeps you going in the National Football League and that's your cleats.
“Because if you don't have a firm foot in the ground you're going to slip. I made a suggestion to the league, well to (Panthers director of community relations) Riley (Fields), and Riley took it to the league and they OK'd it.”
Williams has three aunts who died of breast cancer and his mother is a breast cancer survivor.
We’ll have more on this story later in the week.
INJURY UPDATE: The Panthers are getting healthier.
As the Panthers returned to the field Wednesday, FB Brad Hoover, SS Chris Harris, LB Na’il Diggs and DE Everette Brown – all of whom missed Week 3 against Dallas – were back on the field. Hoover practiced full and should play.
Harris (knee), Diggs (ribs) and Brown (ankle) were limited, along with RB Jonathan Stewart (Achilles).
Stewart wasn’t available in locker room. When asked if he’s concerned about his fellow tailback, DeAngelo Williams replied, "I am. I am, but that's any teammate. I'm actually going to go check him out now (in the training room)."
As for the team’s overall injury status, Fox said, “It was a good break, and we got some guys (back) out there practicing - at least on a limited basis - so, hopefully, working some guys back in that will be ready Sunday.”