Fox demoted struggling Carr to protect him from booing fans

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers coach John Fox said Monday he still believes in struggling quarterback David Carr, a day after he demoted him to third-string in a win over San Francisco.

Fox said the biggest reason Carr was the emergency No. 3 quarterback behind 44-year-old Vinny Testaverde and undrafted rookie Matt Moore was to protect him from the Panthers' booing fans, who turned on Carr a week earlier in a loss to New Orleans.

"I don't know if I wanted to expose him here at home," Fox said. "We'll kind of weigh that as we move forward. Anytime you don't have success it has an effect on you mentally."

Carr, signed to a two-year, $6 million free-agent deal in the offseason, has struggled with his new team. Since taking over as the starter when Jake Delhomme was lost to a season-ending right elbow injury, Carr has thrown three touchdown passes, five interceptions and has a passer rating of 58.3.

Carr, a former No. 1 overall pick and a five-year starter in Houston, failed to lead the Panthers to a touchdown in a 31-6 loss to the Saints. He completed 10 of 22 passes for 95 yards and was yanked for Moore after his second interception early in the fourth quarter.

It delighted the Panthers' crowd, which began chanting "We want Moore" in the second quarter.

"I still have confidence in David Carr," Fox said. "I still think he has things to offer. I don't think it's gone as well for him, or for us, as we all expected. That doesn't mean that it won't move forward either."

Testaverde, who missed the Saints' loss with a sore back, led the Panthers to a 31-14 win over the 49ers, throwing two touchdown passes and two interceptions as the Panthers snapped a seven-game home losing streak dating to last season.

Testaverde, if he remains healthy, will start Sunday against Jacksonville.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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