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Q&A with Carolina Panthers QB Jake Delhomme

    <span>              <span style="">Q: How are you feeling?</span>                 

A: I feel good. Physically I feel fine. I took a good shot the other day. Other than that I'm good. We just got off the practice field. Everything's good to go.

Q: Do you anticipate playing on Sunday?

A: Yes. I can say that

Q: Did you practice today?

A: Yes, I sure did.

Q: Can you put in a nutshell what have been the team's problems?

A: I think the biggest thing offensively is that we haven't been consistent running or throwing early on. The last few weeks we picked it up running the football, but the passing game has just kind of lagged behind. But, I think turnovers have been a big key. Certainly I've been one of the ones leading the way in that department, just not playing good consistent football. I think as a team the first few weeks not one phase played well. I think slowly but surely we're starting to play a little bit better here and there. That being said, we had a great win last week in Arizona on the road, but now we get to play the best team in football. We're going to have to play lights out.

Q: How important is it for your running game to get off to a good start to set up the rest of your offense?

A: That's how we're built. I don't think there's any doubt. That's how this offense is built. That's how Coach John Fox wants it. That's kind of the way it is. It's kind of the way we've always tried to do things over here, some years better than others, but that's what we try to do every football game, to try to establish the run.

Q: How much did beating Arizona out there help your team's psyche?

A: I think the biggest thing was that we had a tough loss to Buffalo and then we travel out on the road against a team that had two very big wins. They had beaten the Giants on Sunday night. They were playing good football. We started fast. That was the big thing. We started fast, played good, turnover-free football. It was a big win. I don't think there's any doubt.

Q: In winning three of the last four games, do you guys feel like you're building something?

A: Somewhat, but I don't mean to slight this in anyway; it doesn't feel like we've won three of the last four. We were able to beat Washington then went to Tampa and were able to beat them. We were winning, but we weren't playing good football. I don't know any other way to put it. We were able to get a couple of wins, which was nice, but we were not playing good football as a team. I think last week was the closest we came as a team to playing decent football. That's what you kind of want. If one phase is struggling, the other has to pick it up and just everybody has each other's backs. Last week was nice, but again, that's the last week, now it's on to the Saints. There are no weaknesses when you watch this football team.

Q: When was the last time you lost in the Superdome?

A: I don't know. I'd be lying. I'm not sure.

Q: Did you ever play in the Superdome in high school or college?

A: In college we played there twice against Tulane.

Q: Did you win or lose?

A: We won.

Q: Is there any reason why you guys think you play so well when you come to the Superdome?

A: I can't say. You look back a couple of years ago when we played them at the end of the 2006 season. I don't really think the Saints have to play for anything at that point. They had a bunch of inactives and they had already clinched a bye and everything and they couldn't improve their seed, but that's a throw out game. I think to me, it's always division games. When you play someone in your division, know you them well, they know you well. I think Atlanta, Tampa, New Orleans, ourselves, the comfort level, you're not going into a new environment. Everybody knows what it's like to play on the road at their stadium, so you kind of know their personnel. I think that's kind of the mindset that everybody in that division takes.

Q: How tough was it on you losing in those first three games, losing, having to go through the turnovers?

A: It was very tough. I think for me as a football player, that's the biggest thing. I always prided myself in being there for my team and making plays when they needed to be made and I wasn't doing that, turning it over and putting us in bad situations and I think I was pressing a great deal, trying to search and find an answer. Obviously that didn't work for me.

Q: Were you surprised that Coach Fox stuck by you during those tough times?

A: I wasn't and on the flip side, I wouldn't have been shocked either way. When you're the head guy you have to do what's right for the team and I hadn't played well enough in a few games. I was going to have to respect his decision. I was very happy that I was able to be under center last week.

Q: Was there some sort of satisfaction for you or the team to beat Arizona after losing to them in the playoffs?

A: I got asked that after. I meant more for the 2009 Panthers to win for the game than for the '08 Panthers. What happened in the playoffs was over and done with. It was over, it's a new season. We needed that win more so for this year than we did last year. That's done with. We're still right in the middle this year. It's still much more important we just needed a win to do how we did on the road against a good football team was nice.

Q: How close do you think the team's season was getting to spiraling out of control?

A: I don't think it ever came close in my opinion. We started out in '04 at 1-7. It wasn't close to spiraling out of control. I think we have certain guys on this team, the way this team is built and made; you're not going to let that happen. Guys are going to do what's right and try to win and I think that was never kind of brought up or an issue here.

Q: What are the strengths of the Saints?

A: I'm talking strictly defense here. When you watch them on defense, certainly Charles (Grant) and Will (Smith). They can still rush the passer, but the back seven. They're coming from all over the place and they're making plays. You watch the Buffalo game. They're bringing corners a bunch that game. They're bringing guys from all over. In having (Scott) Fujita, (Jonathan) Vilma and (Scott) Shanle, they're back together, those guys, very intelligent football players, moving around all over. Darren (Sharper) on the back end. You never know. Darren's at the line of scrimmage one minute, the next thing you know he's 20 yards across the field covering that half of the field. So, they do a great job. I guess Gregg Williams has come in and done a great job and these guys have bought into it and played outstanding. They're ball hawkers. That's something that's evident when you watch on film.

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