Carolina Panthers

Beason might play in middle

Carolina's Jon Beason might have to replace the injured Dan Morgan this Sunday against Tampa Bay.
Carolina's Jon Beason might have to replace the injured Dan Morgan this Sunday against Tampa Bay.

CHARLOTTE -- Carolina Panthers coach John Fox didn't want to show his cards when asked who might play middle linebacker this week.

His biggest problem is he's running out of cards to play.

Starter Dan Morgan (ankle) and backup Adam Seward (calf) were held out of practice Wednesday. Backup outside linebacker James Anderson finished last week's game when Morgan left, since Seward was inactive. But part of their long-term reasoning for drafting Jon Beason in the first round was the possibility of him moving inside at some point, so they're holding that out there as well.

"I'm not going to discuss fully and our players know now not to discuss that whatsoever," Fox said. "But we've got some options there and we'd like to keep those to ourselves."

Of Anderson, Fox said, "He'll be one of the options. He's a guy that stepped in on short notice, and I thought did an admirable job."

Of Beason -- "That's another one of the options. He does possess that ability. He is a rookie. He is young. Sometimes one position is all you can handle, but he's a very instinctive guy and he has that ability, so he is one of those options."

Anderson laughed when asked about his experience, saying he had never taken a snap at middle linebacker, not even in pee wee football. He's kicked, played quarterback and running back, but never in the signal-calling capacity he found himself in last week.

"I felt pretty good just controlling the defense," he said. "My main goal was just to get in there and not make any big mistakes and just control the defense and make sure everything stayed the flow."

Beason, who has played well on the weakside, said it's been a grind this week, since all the remaining linebackers are doing extra homework to learn all three spots.

"We don't know how it's going to go," Beason said. "With Seward out, that really hurts us. Everybody has a lot to do this week. Being a young guy, it's extremely tough. You are still learning your position and to go learn someone else's makes it a little difficult, but it's part of it."

When asked if he knew enough to step in and play the middle if need be, Beason hedged, knowing it's probably part of his future.

"Aw, I don't think so," he said of the short-term. "It's not that I don't know it, but getting the signals in and getting everybody lined up. It's that part of it, being the actual quarterback of the defense. Not so much what the mike 'backer has to do. That aspect, you have like four seconds to get (the play) and it's fast paced and I wouldn't want to mess anything up."

• DELHOMME-WATCH: Starting quarterback Jake Delhomme was held out of practice and said he didn't try to pick up a football.

He suffered a strained right (throwing) elbow in last week's game, and it's unclear if he'll be able to return this week, or whether they're going to have to rely on backup David Carr.

Delhomme's activity this week has been limited to watching film and getting treatment.

"I feel better. It's day-to-day," Delhomme said. "That's about all I can give you on that right now."

When asked if he could put a percentage on his chances, Delhomme shrugged, saying it's too soon to tell.

"You know what, no, because I haven't grabbed a ball and tried to throw it," he said. "That's when I can really tell you. It's not really the grip, it's the actual motion of throwing. I can sign something, write something and whatnot. But the position we put our arms in when we throw, and all that, the force, the torque or whatever you want to call it you put on your shoulder and elbow. I won't know until I get out there and try."

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