Originally created 11/19/02

Fox sticking with Peete for now



CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Rodney Peete's four turnovers against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers apparently won't cost him his job as starting quarterback for the Carolina Panthers.

Although Carolina's chances of making the playoffs are slim, head coach John Fox said Monday he plans to stick with the 36-year-old journeyman instead of taking a look at the younger quarterbacks on the roster Sunday against Atlanta.

"At this point I still think we're going to do what gives us the best chance to win and Rodney Peete will be our starting quarterback against Atlanta," Fox said.

Peete had three interceptions and a fumble in Sunday's 23-10 loss to Tampa Bay, Carolina's seventh straight since opening the season 3-0. All four turnovers came in Carolina territory.

The Panthers' offense was ineffective in the second half, failing to register a first down on its first six possessions after going into the locker room tied 10-10. The Panthers didn't register a first down in the second half until their final drive of the game.

"We weren't as proficient in the second half of Sunday's game but that was by no means all Rodney Peete's fault," Fox said.

Fox said the sprained tendon on Peete's right middle finger may have contributed to him being a little off on some throws Sunday. Peete said after the game the finger bothered him.

"It wasn't 100 percent. I'll leave it at that," Peete said. "But if I'm going to go out and play, I've got to make the throws and be accurate. I wasn't doing that today on certain occasions and it hurt us with the turnovers. We can't turn the ball over like that on the road against Tampa and expect to come out on top."

Fox wouldn't rule out the possibility of getting a closer look at second-year player Chris Weinke and rookie Randy Fasani later in the season. Weinke started the first game against Atlanta when Peete was sidelined after knee surgery, but suffered a concussion in the 30-0 loss. Fasani started the next game, a 12-9 loss to Tampa Bay.

"You never make any decisions for the whole year, or what is remaining in one. You evaluate players daily and weekly," Fox said.

--- Notes: Middle linebacker Dan Morgan is expected to return to practice Wednesday and will likely play this week against the Falcons. Morgan has missed the last two games following surgery to repair a sports hernia. ... Wide receiver Steve Smith fractured a rib in Sunday's game, but is still expected to play this week against the Falcons. ... Wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad had a knee strain and tight end Wesley Walls a concussion in the game, but neither is expected to be held out Sunday.