CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Maake Kemoeatu spent some of Thursday's practice with a medicine ball on an adjacent field. Fellow starting defensive tackle Damione Lewis was nearby riding a stationary bike.
"Our offense has been playing lights out the last few weeks," cornerback Ken Lucas said. "We need to get on their level so we can become a complete team."
Kemoeatu was officially listed as limited in practice Thursday, while Lewis didn't participate. Kemoeatu missed the Giants game with a sprained right ankle, and Lewis left in the fourth quarter with a shoulder injury.
"You can't redo everything you've done all season," Fox said when asked about the prospect of starting an inexperienced player. "You can't reinvent the wheel in a week. It doesn't necessarily change so much what you do, as much as training guys to do what you do."
That used to be playing stout defense. Fox, a former Giants defensive coordinator, has always emphasized that side of the ball. Carolina started the season strong, holding the Falcons without a touchdown, shutting out the Kansas City Chiefs and limiting the Saints to a season-low seven points in a four-week span.
"Watching these guys is inspiring to a defense," linebacker Na'il Diggs said. "It shows the offense has showed up, and we've got to step our game up now. It kind of challenges you. You don't want to be lagging behind."
"We're just trying to figure out ways to get back to playing that good defense that we were playing early in the season," Lucas said. "We're doing everything in our power to try to get that point before the playoffs start because it's one and out if we continue to play like we have been playing."
"We just got to go back to doing the things the technical things that we did at the beginning of the season that you sometimes take for granted," Lucas said. "We have so many guys who feel like they're playmakers out there trying to do too much. If we just do our jobs, then that should be good enough."
Notes: WR Muhsin Muhammad practiced Thursday after sitting out one day earlier with a sore foot. ... Starting TE Jeff King (knee) was limited in practice, and TE Dante Rosario (illness) didn't participate.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press