Carolina Panthers

Moore takes advantage of first-team reps

CHARLOTTE -- Coach John Fox said Thursday he wasn't worried about quarterback Vinny Testaverde getting much practice time. For Matt Moore, the opportunity is golden.

Fox couldn't help smiling when asked about the 44-year-old Testaverde, who was held out of practice for the second straight day.

"I'd say reps aren't as important as rest is," he said.

For Moore, the possibility of his first start has brought more work than he's ever gotten with the starters, since not even the Grinch would make David Carr play in front of a Charlotte crowd this close to Christmas.

"Yeah, there's been some weeks it's been close to this, but this has probably been the most and it's been good," Moore said. "I think everybody's handled the changes pretty well, so it's been good."

If he starts, Moore would be the 60th quarterback in the league to start a game this year, and the fourth for the Panthers, which would make them the only such team.

It would also throw him into the teeth of a Seattle defense which has 41 sacks this year, second-most in the league.

"I don't really think too much about that," Moore said. "I've just got to worry about my game and the offense, whatever, but any defense is going to throw a challenge at you and we've just got to be aware of it and stay on top of it."

Not much seems to rattle the rookie, who went to camp with Dallas and has appeared in parts of six games. He has an abysmal passer rating of 21.1, but he's trying not to put any more pressure on himself than the Seahawks. He's pretty laid-back, preferring to look at the positive of possibly having a chance to run a standard offense, instead of the constant passing of the mop-up situations he's been forced into.

"Easier, I don't know, but it definitely will give you a chance to develop a rhythm," Moore said. "There's so much that goes on during the game; to be on the same page with your guys would definitely help us.

"So that would be nice if that's the case, but you've still got to play, make the plays."

• EASY FOR HIM TO SAY: Seattle coach Mike Holmgren pointed to the absence of Jake Delhomme when asked about the difference he sees in the current Panthers and the one he beat for the 2005 NFC Championship.

"I know expectations were high coming into this season, as they should be," Holmgren said. "On paper it was a good football team, but as is the case in this business, some teams get hit with injuries and I think if you lose your quarterback, it just becomes a lot harder in all areas. If you have injuries after that, we went through that last year a little bit. We were fortunate enough to pull out of it at the end and also get into the championship game.

"I think the fans in Carolina can continue to believe in their football team. When they are healthy, they are as strong and as physical as anybody."

• EXTRA POINTS: Curious to see what the tooth fairy leaves Jeremy Bridges. The Panthers' right guard returned to practice after having a pair of wisdom teeth extracted Monday. He took Wednesday off.

Otherwise, the injury report was unchanged, as wide receiver Keary Colbert (knee) and Testaverde were held out.

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