We've got a number of Paw Prints previewing the Panthers home game with the Ravens. The big news this week was the decision by HC John Fox to start Brian St. Pierre, a 7 year journeyman who has never started a game and just joined the team two weeks ago. The decision has everyone guessing at Fox's motives, including Pat Y at ESPN:
NFC South Saturday mailbag - NFC South Blog - ESPN
Pat Yasinskas: That’s a nice thought about protecting their investment in Pike. But I don’t think that’s the case whatsoever. At this point, John Fox doesn’t care about the team’s future investments because he won’t be around beyond this season. Choosing St. Pierre to start over Pike is clearly an act of defiance by Fox. He’s sending a message to ownership and the front office that he’d rather play a guy off the street than a quarterback they drafted.
I don't think Fox has anything against Pike personally, other than he is a rookie. Fox has never trusted rookies and I'm sure this season has forged that notion even more...Scott seems to second this theory:
Scott Says ...: This QB situation is getting ridiculous
4) "Take that, personnel department" theory: It's a well-known fact that Fox and his personnel department haven't seen eye-to-eye for much of this season. He doesn't like rookie quarterbacks. In fact, he says here, he's so tired of starting them when they're not ready that he's going to skip Pike (and Armanti) entirely and start someone who just got here. Take that, personnel department. Truthiness factor: 60 percent.
So is Fox now even mocking himself?
It is what it is – and that's mutiny - CharlotteObserver.com
"It is what it is," Fox said Thursday. People think Fox is boring because his news conferences are. But he does this intentionally. This "it is what it is" was sarcastic and even playful.
If not for the 1-8 record I might find it humorous too...yet now he's just showing contempt for the who situation:
Inside the Panthers: Fox defends QB choice
"All our decisions are based on right away who gives us the best chance to win. I think (Pike) understands that. I think everyone in that locker room understands that," Fox said after Friday’s practice. "He understands he’s a young player learning. It’s really pretty easy to understand."
Moving on to some other player performances needing improvement:
The Week 10 "Had a Bad Day" team | ProFootballFocus.com
Safety — Charles Godfrey, Carolina (-2.9) Godfrey wasn’t the primary coverage for a single pass for the Panthers this week, but his poor play against the run more than makes up for that. He missed a pair of tackles on the day and struggled to come up and stop plays close to the line of scrimmage.
Just when we thought Godfrey was moving forward he takes a step back. Here's to hoping for two steps forward this week...
From the Obvious Department comes DE Charles Johnson:
What to watch: Panthers vs. Ravens
"We're going to have to get a lot of pressure on Flacco," said defensive end Charles Johnson, who leads the Panthers with 3.5 sacks. "If he gets time back there, he's just going to pick us apart. We have to get in his face, try to disrupt him, try to cause mistakes and turnovers."
If only it was as easy as Johnson makes it sound...
Moving on to a little history with this weekends opponent, the Panthers are the only team in the NFL the Ravens have yet to beat:
PressBox: Opponent Preview, Week 11: Carolina Panthers
The Panthers are the only NFC team Baltimore has never beaten in regular season play, beating the Ravens in 1996 and 2002 at Charlotte and in 2006 at M&T Bank Stadium, a game in which Jake Delhomme threw for a career-high 365 yards. The Ravens have won four of five preseason meetings, including this year‘s August opener, 17-12.
Barring an absolute Panthers miracle or Ravens letdown they will finally end that distinction...
Fantasy Football Sleepers: Week 11 Emergency Waiver Wire Starts | Bleacher Report
Mike Goodson, CAR. With the news that DeAngelo Williams would be placed on the IR, Goodson’s value took an upwards spike. The only Carolina back to top 100 yards rushing when he did it last week, Goodson will see little competition from a constantly dinged up Jonathan Stewart. This week’s matchup with Baltimore isn’t exactly stellar from a fantasy standpoint, but then again, Goodson did well against an improving Tampa defense last week. Goodson is owned in just 28 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Finally, we learned yesterday that Bucs CB Talib WAS NOT FINED for his hit on Panthers QB Jimmy Clausen.
"It could have been any number of plays, but there's a chance it could have happened on the last play," Fox said of the injury.
If he wasn't sure then why send the tape to the league office? Why does Fox feel the need to bail out Talib now? Just another reason to shake my head in wonderment at John Fox...