Carolina Panthers

Injured Vinny might start ... maybe

Carolina quarterback David Carr lays on the turf after being tackled by Tennessee defensive tackle Tony Brown during the fourth quarter. Carr would be knocked out of the game following the tackle and replaced by Matt Moore.
Carolina quarterback David Carr lays on the turf after being tackled by Tennessee defensive tackle Tony Brown during the fourth quarter. Carr would be knocked out of the game following the tackle and replaced by Matt Moore.

CHARLOTTE -- It's official: The Carolina Panthers' quarterback situation has gone from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Presumed starter Vinny Testaverde was held out of practice Friday and ruled questionable for Sunday's game against Atlanta.

Coach John Fox hedged when asked if Testaverde had a setback, after the elder quarterback said he wanted to push his sore Achilles on Thursday to make sure he'd be ready.

"I wouldn't say setback," Fox said. "It was a little sore, and we just elected to rest him."

Fox loves being cagey about injury information, but this is a case where "day-to-day," is absolutely the only way to phrase it, since they don't know if Testaverde will be ready to play. If he plays, it'll be his last game as a 43-year-old, as his birthday's Tuesday.

David Carr is also out because of last week's concussion, even though he practiced some Friday.

You can safely infer that Matt Moore took the snaps with the starters Friday, since he's the only quarterback on the active roster left standing. But they have also taught practice squad quarterback Drew Olson a little of the offense in case they have to promote him today to give them a backup if Testaverde can't go.

Olson was already the ninth quarterback to appear in Panthers practice at some point this season, and Moore would be the fourth different starter. It's gotten to the point they're also thinking seriously about which position players could get them through a game if need be. Don't think they've forgotten that DeAngelo Williams thing from last year's game, either.

It's hardly an ideal set-up, but the way things have gone for the Panthers this year, Moore's probably not the worst option.

"I've had confidence in every guy we've sent out there from Jake (Delhomme) all the way to Vinny with three days practice," Fox said. "Everybody on the team, everybody on the coaching staff, has confidence in whoever goes out there."

• SILVER LINING: Since it's impossible to know who's going to be throwing, the good new is that DeShaun Foster will be running this weekend.

Recording four of his seven 100-yard games against them, he's owned the Falcons.

"I just think we end up running the ball more," Foster said when asked about his success against the Falcons.

Though Foster downplays it, the numbers might not necessarily lie.

Though the eight times he's played them make up 14.5 percent of his career, he's posted 22.6 percent of his career rushing yards and 44.4 percent of his touchdowns against them.

Falcons defensive end John Abraham always played better against New England when he was with the Jets, and thinks Foster's improvement against them is real.

"It's personal confidence," Abraham said. "I feel like when I play certain teams, I can play well. I guess he feels that whenever he plays us, he can play well. It's just that personal thing that you have in your mind that says, 'Well, I have the Falcons this week, time to put up some numbers.' Sometimes it's just like that."

• EXTRA POINTS: Center Justin Hartwig (broken right thumb) was listed as questionable after practicing the last two days, as was wide receiver Keary Colbert (foot) ... Right tackle Jordan Gross (ankle) and defensive end Otis Grigsby (thigh) were listed as probable ... The Falcons returned 400 tickets to the Panthers, meaning a few seats remain for Sunday.

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