Panthers call players-only meeting to reverse spiraling season Print
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Wednesday, 03 October 2007 11:49
NFL Headline News

 CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -After a weak performance that left their fans booing and one of their top players calling out his teammates, the Carolina Panthers held a players-only meeting Wednesday.
The sitdown, called by guard Mike Wahle, came three days after defensive tackle Kris Jenkins said the Panthers had ``no heart'' following a 20-7 home loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
``I think it's a good idea,'' tackle Jordan Gross said Wednesday before the scheduled meeting. ``There has been a lot that has gone on in the last week. I mean we're a team where everybody gets along real well. Instead of just talking in the locker room, we might as well have everybody present. It's not a big drama story. We just want to talk.''
Wahle declined to discuss why he called the meeting and seemed irritated word got out.
The Panthers had plenty to discuss. Although they're 2-2, they weren't sharp in two straight games before Sunday's meltdown against the Bucs.
Playing without injured quarterback Jake Delhomme and middle linebacker Dan Morgan, the Panthers fell behind 14-0 in the first quarter, when the booing began.
The defense gave up 189 yards rushing and the offense didn't cross the Tampa Bay 45-yard line until late in the fourth quarter. Jenkins, a three-time Pro Bowl pick, called the performance ``garbage'' and said his team lacked heart and desire.
``When things are going wrong, this is not the time to separate. This is a time to get closer,'' cornerback Ken Lucas said.
With Delhomme and Morgan likely to be sidelined for a while, the Panthers have a crucial stretch coming up. They face New Orleans and Arizona on the road before returning home after a bye week to host Indianapolis.
``I think we have a good team and good players and now is the time to get on track,'' Gross said. ``I don't think anybody wants to waste any more opportunities.''
Tight end Christian Fauria, a 13-year NFL veteran and the only player on the roster with a Super Bowl ring, said he's been in team meetings that are downright comical, and others that have been extremely helpful and productive.
``It all depends on the team,'' Fauria said. ``Sometimes it's just people talking just to talk and sometimes people make some good points and everyone is on the same page. Maybe just people want to get out what they're feeling. All I know is you can only have it once. Once you do, you can't keep having team meetings because it loses its credibility.''
David Carr, who has replaced for Delhomme at quarterback, said there is plenty positive that can come out of a players-only meeting.
``When you get in there and hear it from a guy's heart and hear what they really feel about what is going on, that's good,'' Carr said. ``I wouldn't say it makes you play better, but it definitely makes you accountable to your guys. You want to step it for them.
``You spend a lot of time with these guys and you don't understand how much it means to other guys that you play well. That is one of the things, be accountable.''
 

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