CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- Carolina Panthers quarterback Matt Moore has collected praise from all directions in the preseason.
Teammates have staunchly defended him and squashed any talk he might lose the starting job to rookie Jimmy Clausen. Coach John Fox thinks he's more comfortable than a year ago. General manager Marty Hurney describes Moore's performance in training camp as "excellent."
Moore, longtime starter Jake Delhomme's replacement, has seemingly done everything except get the Panthers in the end zone. Sustained drives are a priority for Carolina as it plays host to the New York Jets tonight in the second preseason game.
"Where are we? I'm sure we can still get better," said Moore, expected to play the entire first half against the Jets. "There are still steps we need to take, but I think we're where we want to be."
That's despite the offense's struggles in a team scrimmage and then again in the opening exhibition game against Baltimore. The Panthers were held without an offensive touchdown in the 17-12 loss to the Ravens, with Moore finishing 4 of 7 for 32 yards. He was sacked once and fumbled, which Carolina recovered.
Fox blamed much of the struggles on poor pass protection and penalties. With right tackle Jeff Otah (knee) still sidelined and Mackenzy Bernadeau and Duke Robinson competing for the right guard spot, the offensive line seeks a better showing tonight.
New York will be without star cornerback Darrelle Revis, who is holding out in a contract dispute. While Carolina receiver Steve Smith (broken arm) practiced in full Friday for the first time, he's not expected to play. No receiver has jumped to the front in the competition for the starting job opposite Smith.
"I think it's still shaking out," Hurney said. "We've got some guys who have been here that have had very good camps in Dwayne Jarrett and Kenny Moore. ... We'll see how it plays out."