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Q&A with Carolina Panthers Head Coach John Fox

    <span style="">                 <span style="">Q: Now that you guys have won three of the last four, do you think you're building?</span>                 

A: In this business you take it one week at a time. I think we got some confidence a week ago, there's no question about that and now we're playing a very, very good New Orleans Saints team.

Q: You have not lost a game played at New Orleans since you've been coach. What goes into that?

A: I don't really look back too much. I know it's going to be really tough to do this time.

Q: Is it more a familiarity factor than anything?

A: Yes, I think there have been a couple different coaches during that time. It's a division game. Everybody gets up for division games. You know those opponents. You play them twice. We've had some great battles. None of these games have been easy. They're all hard. I guess you could say there's a familiarity with the division.

Q: What made you stay with Jake Delhomme?

A: He's in my opinion our best quarterback. There's no question we had some struggles in the passing game, but it wasn't all Jake. There's a lot of moving parts in the passing game. You have protection, how crisply you're running routes and then the cornerback and you have to give the defense some credit too. I know he's had his struggles. He's our best option. I knew he'd fight through it and he did.

Q: What's been the biggest reason for your turnaround in the last month?

A: We've been healthy. We had a lot of injuries all through camp and the preseason. We didn't come into the season with a whole lot of depth. When you become a better team you have a lot of your salary cap involved in starters. Basically, that's where we were. We had some young guys we had to get better and we had some guys that we had to get healthy and get back in.

Q: How similar and how different is the Saints team from the one you faced last December?

A: They're still the number one offense in the league, so that part hasn't changed. I think they're playing extremely well in that area. Anytime you can average 40 points a game you're doing something right. I think probably the biggest change has been their defense in terms of their scheme and what they've done. They've acquired a couple of guys in (Jabari) Greer and (Darren) Sharper…I'm probably missing somebody. They changed their scheme quite a bit. I think their biggest change has been on defense.

Q: Is Julius Peppers playing at another level or the level you wanted him to play at all along?

A: Julius has played very good football. He came in here highly touted as the second player in the draft. He's been to five or six Pro Bowls. I think he's done pretty well. Right now over the last month, I think he's had a pretty good stretch.

Q: How much does your running game fit into your passing game and are you relieved to see some semblance of a good running game last week?

A: We ran the ball pretty well prior to that. I don't know where we were a year ago. Our running game's pretty decent I think. Where we've struggled is turnovers. Going into last week were minus 14. I think we were playing good football, but when you play giveaway football in that many games when you're minus 14 you're lucky even last week going in at 2-4. We turned it around last week and had six takeaways and zero giveaways. That put us at minus eight, which is still not very good. I think once we can clean that up, I think we have a shot.

Q: How much does your passing game feed off your running game?

A: No doubt they work hand in hand. Usually to be successful offensively. We're trying to gain that balance. I think last week we finally put that together. We're going to have a huge challenge this week.

Q: Is there any type of advantage you can get by playing a team that had a tough Monday night game?

A: We had a tough Sunday night game too; we had to fly from the west coast. I think it's just our league.

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