Matt Moore to start if he’s healthy following concussion

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 12: Matt Moore  of the Carolina Panthers scrambles against the New York Giants on September 12, 2010 at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Matt Moore and Kevin Kolb have more in common today than they did at the start of the day yesterday.

That’s because they both played poorly on Sunday and each suffered concussions that now leave them uncertain for Week 2. Kolb was replaced by a very effective Michael Vick in a loss to Green Bay, while Moore is currently being backed up by a rookie that some are clamoring to see get some live game action (especially after Moore looked so bad in a loss to the Giants yesterday).

Today, head coach John Fox told the media that if he’s healthy enough to play, Moore would start against the Buccaneers this Sunday. But at this point, nobody should assume anything. Moore was atrocious against the Giants, throwing three horrendous picks and taking four sacks. He completed just 14-of-33 passes for 182 yards and never got settled in the pocket. It’s important not to draw any concussions after one game, but so far it’s the only game.

Jimmy Clausen will likely receive snaps in the first team offense this week in practice and Moore will be evaluated over the next couple of days. The NFL now has a strict policy against players returning from concussions, so even if Fox wants Moore to play he may not be medically cleared to. Just like the Kolb situation in Philadelphia, this is will be an interesting story to keep an eye on throughout the week.

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Panthers’ Steve Smith breaks arm while playing flag football

Panthers’ wideout Steve Smith broke his arm while playing in a flag football game at his annual youth camp over the weekend. It was the same arm that he broke last season against the Giants.

According to the Charlotte Observer, Smith has already undergone surgery and will likely miss all of training camp, although he’s expected to be healthy by Week 1 of the regular season.

“Steve has talked to me and feels terrible about it,” says Panthers General Manager Marty Hurney. “Now his focus is on the rehabilitating process and getting back as quickly as he can.”

While the situation is certainly unfortunate, it’s hard to fault an athlete for injuring himself while doing something good for the community. It was a freak accident.

Someone that could benefit from Smith not being able to practice is promising rookie Armanti Edwards, who was taken in the third round of April’s draft. The former Appalachian State quarterback has impressed Carolina’s coaching staff in OTAs this offseason and could earn more playing time in the Panthers’ offense if he continues to turn heads in training camp and during the preseason.

Update: Check that, the Charlotte Observer is now reporting that Smith was actually playing flag football in an adult league – not at a youth camp. Rut-oh.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Panthers’ WR Muhsin Muhammad retires

The Carolina Panthers’ official website is reporting that receiver Muhsin Muhammad has announced his retirement. He’ll finish his career as the Panthers’ all-time leader in receptions with 696 and receiving yards at 9,255.

“Coaching Muhsin has been a pleasure,” said head coach John Fox. “He is the ultimate competitor, and you always knew he would give you everything he had. We shared some great moments, and his contributions were invaluable to the success we enjoyed. His receiving numbers reflect what kind of receiver he was, but he was also one of the best blocking wide outs to ever play in the NFL.”

“The first word that come comes to mind when you think about Muhsin is toughness,” said general manager Marty Hurney. “His competitiveness was contagious in our locker room. He was a dependable playmaker and a leader who brought very much to our team.”

I always felt that Muhammad was one of those players that never got his full due. He was a crafty receiver that always found ways to get past an opponent’s secondary, even during his final years when he had lost a step. He was the perfect complement to Steve Smith throughout the years (minus the three seasons Muhammad spent in Chicago obviously), and vice versa.

In other Carolina-related news, linebacker Thomas Davis is likely done for the year after he re-tore his right ACL during a recent OTA session. He tore the same ACL last November, but had been recovering ahead of schedule and was even recently timed at 4.47 in the forty-yard dash, which is excellent for a linebacker.

With Davis likely headed for IR, Jon Beason could slide over to the weak-side position with James Anderson starting on the strong-side. Panthers’ defensive coordinator Ron Meeks likes the action to flow towards the weak-side ‘backer, so Beason will get a ton of work this season. Either way, losing Davis was a huge blow to Carolina’s defense.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Steve Smith denies calling Clausen a “punk”

Last week, reported that Panthers’ rookie Jimmy Clausen had already “pissed off multiple receivers” during a recent mini-camp and also claimed that Steve Smith “basically thinks Jimmy is a punk.”

Today, Charlotte Observer writer Charles Chandler denied the rumors cooked up by the hit-or-miss

Earlier today, Smith strongly denied having a problem with Clausen.

There was also a mention in the aforementiond item that Carolina tight ends were upset at Clausen for yelling at them. The most vivid memories I have of Clausen from minicamp were two passes he threw in red zone drills through traffic for touchdowns to tight ends Jeff King and Gary Barnidge. Both of those guys looked extremely happy. King even spiked the ball through his legs in a much more expressive gesture than he normally does.

A lot of people love because of its rumor mill section. But the problem that I have always had with the site is that it rarely, if ever, cites its sources. So you don’t know whether or not the rumor is coming from a general manager, the team janitor or Mike Florio’s neighbor. is standing by its story, but I’m more apt to believe Chandler, who covers the Panthers for a respectable news outlet and who was actually in attendance during the mini-camp. Plus, as Chandler notes in his report, Smith isn’t the type to hide his feelings. He’s a fiery guy who wears his emotions on his sleeve, so if he did have a problem with Clausen, the whole world would probably know about it by now.

As usual when it comes to a rumor by, this story is probably much ado about nothing.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Vick-to-Panthers rumors won’t die

While head coach John Fox continues to dodge questions about whether or not the Panthers are interested in Michael Vick, rumors persist that the free agent quarterback is bound for Carolina.

From FOX

“As I’ve said before, you always keep all options open,” Fox said Wednesday. “I can’t say that’s something that we’re heavily involved in at this point. I hate ruling out really anything.”

The rigid philosophy has left the Panthers on the short list of teams that haven’t officially ruled out signing Vick, who is attempting a comeback after completing a prison sentence for his role in a dogfighting operation.

Fox wasn’t budging under a barrage of questions Wednesday, and apparently wasn’t concerned about the television debates on the merits of Carolina signing Vick.

“I don’t think we should be high on the radar, but I don’t like to limit anything,” Fox said.

This is one of the hot rumors in NFL circles right now, but it’s still doubtful that the Panthers will pull the trigger on Vick. They like all three of their quarterbacks (Delhomme, Josh McCown and Matt Moore) and have also been a team that has avoided distractions since the Rae Carruth incident.

I think Fox is just being coy with the media.

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