Testaverde back at practice, Carr out for Panthers
Published 10:53 am Thursday, November 8, 2007
By By MIKE CRANSTON, AP Sports Writer
CHARLOTTE — Soon-to-be 44-year-old Vinny Testaverde has moved back into the lead in the pothole-filled race to be the Carolina Panthers’ starting quarterback.
Testaverde returned to practice Wednesday after missing the Panthers’ loss to Tennessee with a sore right Achilles’ tendon. David Carr watched practice from the sideline, yet to be cleared after sustaining a concussion against the Titans.
And even though he split time with undrafted rookie Matt Moore and coach John Fox declined to select a starter, Testaverde sounded like the guy who will be under center on Sunday against Atlanta.
Carr’s concussion, the fifth injury to four Panthers quarterbacks, forced the Panthers to sign former UCLA quarterback Drew Olson to the practice squad. Olson, who was cut by Baltimore in August, allowed the Panthers to have enough QBs to practice Wednesday.
The Panthers lost original starter Jake Delhomme to a season-ending right elbow injury in Week 3. Projected third-stringer Brett Basanez suffered a season-ending wrist injury late in the preseason.
Moore, signed when Basanez was placed on injured reserve, replaced Carr late in the fourth quarter of Carolina’s loss to the Titans when Carr complained of dizziness after a hit from defensive tackle Tony Brown.
Carr did some conditioning drills on the side Wednesday and had yet to take the mandatory cognitive baseline test required before any concussed player can return.
Carr was also sidelined last month with a back injury that forced the team to sign Testaverde, who was out of football after being released by New England before the start of the regular season. Four days later, he became the oldest starting QB to win a game.
Carr was one of several regulars to sit out practice Wednesday. Receiver Steve Smith was given the day off, but was not injured, Fox said. Receiver Keary Colbert (foot), tackle Jordan Gross (ankle) and center Justin Hartwig (broken right thumb) did not practice. Linebacker Thomas Davis was excused from the workout to tend to a personal matter.
Testaverde’s Achilles’ tendon flared up in the first half of Carolina’s loss to Indianapolis on Oct. 28. Carr replaced him in the second half when Testaverde complained he couldn’t push off on his foot to get zip on his throws.
Testaverde might start even if Carr is cleared to play. Carr, signed as a free agent in the offseason after being a five-year starter in Houston, has been indecisive at times. His average of 4.74 yards per attempt is the lowest in the NFL and he was sacked seven times in the loss to the Titans. Fox acknowledged he often held the ball too long.
Carr, who has three touchdowns and three interceptions, has also had trouble getting the ball to Smith. Carolina’s top receiver has been held to three catches for 15 yards in the past six quarters Carr played against the Colts and Titans.
Smith had two 100-yard receiving games with Delhomme and one when Testaverde started in the win at Arizona.