|BREAKING NEWS: Delhomme has broken finger on throwing hand, status up in the air|
|Written by Steve Reed|
|Monday, 30 November 2009 12:48|
CHARLOTTE -- Carolina Panthers coach John Fox said starting quarterback Jake Delhomme broke a finger on his right throwing hand during Sunday's loss to the New York Jets leaving his status for this week up in the air.
That could open the door for Matt Moore could replace Delhomme on Sunday when the Panthers host Tampa Bay at Bank of America Stadium, but Fox stopped short of naming a starter at Monday's press conference. He said he will know more after Wednesday's practice, but added that it might be difficult for Delhomme to take any snaps.
Fox said Delhomme injured the finger with 2:24 left in the game when a defensive player's hand crashed in between the fingers on Delhomme's right hand as he released the football. Delhomme didn't mention the injury after the game, but when he reported to work on Monday complained of soreness in his hand. Doctors examined Delhomme's hand and determined he had a broken bone in his finger.
Fox wouldn't say which finger, but did say it wasn't the thumb."It got caught in an abnormal direction," Fox said.
Fox said just learned of the injury about an hour before Monday's press conference and said he's uncertain if the injury has the potential to be season-ending. The Panthers already have placed eight guys on injured reserve this season, including five former starters.
As for how this affects the team's quarterback situation, Fox said, "We'll evaluate that as we move foward. Obviously he'll be day-to-day and we'll see what he can take and can't take. I would say it would be pretty hard-pressed for him to take snaps Wednesday."
Fox wouldn't say if Delhomme would start if he's recovered.
"I can't deal with ifs," Fox said. "I think it's fairly safe to say that Matt Moore will be there Wednesday and we'll evaluate it day to day."
Delhomme declined to interview requests Monday.
Meanwhile, Moore talked like a guy who didn't want to say much until he knows for sure that he's starting.
"I'll probably get a few more reps but as of now that's what we're going with and we'll see how things shake out later in the week," Moore said. "I've been here before. All I can do is prepare and be ready and if it's a case where I've got to go, then I've got to go. The week will go by and we'll prepare just the same."
Moore last started at the end of his rookie season in 2007, going 2-1 as a starter in the team's final three games. After suffering a broken leg in the 2008 preseason, Moore wound up returning as the No. 3 quarterback last year. He started out in that same spot this year, but was elevated to No. 2 after Josh McCown went on injured reserve earlier this season.
For his career, Moore has completed 69 of 123 passes for 793 yards with three touchdowns and six interceptions.
"We haven't got a chance to see him in a whole lot of live play lately, but I think he's capable of making all of the throws and he has the height, weight and arm strength you're looking for," Fox said. "The quarterback position is about decision-making and until you get in there in live situations you really never know. He hasn't had that opportunity a lot. I think he prepares hard and I think he'll definitely give his best effort."
Moore said his knowledge of the offense has grown since '07.
"I've grown a ton," Moore said. "I was only here for four games before I got put in there before and I'm going on my third year now so I feel good and I feel ready if it comes to that. And we'll find out soon enough."
Fox said after Sunday's game he thought about benching Delhomme on Sunday during a four-interception performance against the New York Jets, but instead stuck with him. Delhomme finished the game 14 of 34 for 130 yards with no touchdown passes, although one was overturned by officials and another was called back because of offensive pass interference.
For the season, Delhomme ranks 31st in the league in quarterback rating (59.4) and has thrown a career-high 18 interceptions with eight touchdown passes.
When asked if a little time away might be good at this point anyway for the struggling Delhomme, Fox said, "I think with a broken finger he's going to get a little time away from it. I think if his finger wasn't an issue I couldn't, with a straight face, make a change just to him. (The struggles) are a combined effort by the offensive players, not just one player -- just for the record. We get a chance to research those things and it was poor not just by the quarterback."
Fox made it clear he's not real happy with his offense after the averaged just 2.9 yards per play and scored just six points against the Jets.
"We didn't execute very well at all, not just the quarterback position," Fox said. "There were miscommunications in protection, routes, the run game from the first play on, so we have a lot of work ahead of us... Obviously we didn't do a good enough job preparing them and we weren't ready to play. That starts with coaching and all the way down to the players' responsibility. I thought there were some phases of our game that were pretty good but the offensive phase was below average."
In other injury news, running back DeAngelo Williams and wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett suffered ankle sprains on Sunday against the Jets, while defensive tackle Tank Tyler sprained his knee.
EDITOR's NOTE: We'll have more after talking with Delhomme in the open locker room session later today...