Carolina Panthers

Delhomme should be ready for camp

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger stretches out for extra yards as he is brought down by Miami's Joey Porter (55) and Vonnie Holiday.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger stretches out for extra yards as he is brought down by Miami's Joey Porter (55) and Vonnie Holiday.

CHARLOTTE -- The agent for Carolina Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme said Monday his client was recovering well from elbow surgery and remains on target to be ready for the start of training camp next year.

Delhomme had "Tommy John" surgery Oct. 18 to rebuild the ulnar collateral ligament in his right (throwing) elbow. Surgeons took tissue from his hamstring to rebuild the ligament, which had been bothering him for several years.

The Panthers placed him on injured reserve the previous week, after he initially hurt himself on Sept. 23 at Atlanta.

Agent Rick Smith said Delhomme was doing range-of-motion exercises with his right arm, although there's no timetable on when he'll throw again.

"Right now everything's on schedule," Smith said. "Our goal is to be ready for the start of training camp, and right now it absolutely looks like that's the case."

The starting quarterback has been a fixture on the Panthers' sidelines on game days, and has been around for some practices, as well, but hasn't talked to reporters since his surgery. The 32-year-old is under contract through 2009.

• IN PERSPECTIVE: Coach John Fox kept a stiff upper lip when asked to assess his own performance as coach of the 4-7 Panthers.

"I'm not into doing that," Fox said. "That's for other people. We're not pleased with where we are right now. We still have five games to go, and those decisions are not in my control."

Several players mentioned that after the game, he expressed his disappointment with the team, but Fox said the team has to proceed.

"It's simple," he said. "We've been there before, and really we've got the hand we've been dealt, and we've got two choices -- cry about it or move on. Right now, the best avenue to go, in my opinion, is move on, and we're going to have to have some guys play well."

• FASHION STATEMENT: Wide receiver Steve Smith rolled through the locker room wearing a shirt the Panthers should order in bulk.

The white shirt had a drawing of a green hand grenade, with the following words -- "It is my turn to fall on the grenade?"

• GOING FOR THE RUSH: Fox was asked why he didn't put a return man back for Olindo Mare's 57-yard field goal attempt at the end of the first half, which barely made the end zone. Mare was 2-of-6 from 40 yards and beyond entering the game.

"We elected to go with a max rush and try to make the field goal be errant, and that it did," Fox said.

The Panthers made several changes on special teams, swapping DeAngelo Williams back to a kickoff return role -- not that it worked, with a 17.3 yard average that was worse than his 17.8 for the season. He was barely better than defensive tackle Kindal Moorehead, who had a 16.0-yard average.

They shuffled several of the coverage units, getting linebacker Donte Curry back on the field in place of running back Alex Haynes and using rookie safety C.J. Wilson in place of cornerback Richard Marshall on kickoffs, since Marshall was starting. They also had Stanley McClover on the punt return team in the place of inactive linebacker James Anderson.

• EXTRA POINTS: As bad as the offense has been, this week's opponent's is worse. The Panthers are 26th in total offense and 27th in points per game, while San Francisco's last in both categories.