Still quiet on the QB front
Rod Marinelli declined to name a starting quarterback again Thursday, but reading between the lines Daunte Culpepper still looks like the guy.
Culpepper and Drew Stanton split reps for the second straight day Thursday, with Culpepper going first in the rotation. Dan Orlovsky is on his way back from New York right now, where he visited a hand specialist this morning. He is not expected to be available this weekend, though official word won't come until tomorrow.
Marinelli said he wants to evaluate Thursday's practice on film to see how his quarterbacks have been handling checks and making reads before deciding on a starter. He acknowledged Stanton probably knows the system better having been in it all year, but said there's something comforting about Culpepper's veteran presence, too.
That guy's done it, been there, confidence, command, Marinelli said. Those are vital things also. I'm not saying I'm going that way. I'm taking each day and trying to do a good job evaluating, trying not to look ahead. I'm going to take this practice tape and see where we've made improvements and then I'll look at that and tomorrow we'll have another good day and try to evaluate. And my goal is to put the best team on that field that helps this team win. That's my goal.
Marinelli pointed out that veteran quarterbacks have signed as free agents and stepped immediately into playing time before. Last year with quarterbacks Jake Delhomme and David Carr out, Carolina signed Vinny Testaverde on a Wednesday, started him on Sunday, and the Panthers beat the Cardinals in Testaverde's Carolina debut, 25-10.
Certain veterans can do it, some can't, Marinelli said. And that's what I'm trying to find out right now.
In other news:
Safety Dwight Smith did not practice Thursday and looks like he'll miss his third straight game with a mid-foot sprain.
Marinelli said rookie linebacker Jordon Dizon could be an outside guy long term. Dizon is working at strong-side linebacker and in the middle on nickel packages in practice.
As for why he kept coordinators Joe Barry and Jim Colletto off limits from the media Thursday, Marinelli said simply, I think this is the right thing for me to do.
Marinelli on whether Dominic Raiola, who has a broken right thumb, really could snap left-handed and play Sunday: When a man gets something in his mind we were on the plane and he had it; he's snapping on the aisle. It means everything to him. I love seeing that. It means everything in the world to him, but we'll just see how things progress.