Quarterback David Carr practiced for the first time this week on Friday and appears likely to start at quarterback for Carolina vs. the Cardinals on Sunday, while the just-signed Vinny Testaverde will be backing up.
Carr is replacing Jake Delhomme, out for the year with an elbow injury.
Carr, who is listed as probable, will try to play with a sore lower back after taking a hit last week that he said caused “the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life.”
For the Cardinals, tackle Levi Brown is out for the third straight week with a sore ankle, while receiver Anquan Boldin is doubtful with a sore hip.
Boldin has not been able to practice this week, but, “Physically, he can play,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “My concern is not getting a lot of reps” in practice. “That’s why he’s doubtful.”
Boldin has said he prefers to get in practice time before playing in games, a belief shared by Whisenhunt.
“That’s what it’s going to be around here,” the coach said. “You’re going to have to practice to play. That’s the idea...”
As for the game, Boldin said, “I’m getting better, but I’m not sure” whether he’ll play.
Backup defensive end Joe Tafoya is questionable with a hamstring problem.
Everyone else should be ready to go, including receiver Bryant Johnson, who has practiced through a quadriceps problem the past two days.
For the Panthers, running back Nick Goings (concussion) and linebackers Dan Morgan (ankle) and Adam Seward (calf) are out. Linebacker James Anderson (thigh) and cornerback Ken Lucas (shoulder) are probable.
IT’S EDGE’S BALL
The running back spot has been as clearly defined this season as the quarterback position has been unsettled.
Edgerrin James is the man.
He’s gotten virtually all the carries (107 of them), as Marcel Shipp and J.J. Arrington (a combined 11) wait their turn. The reason, Whisenhunt said, is that every game has been a nail-biter. And as the fourth quarter approaches, “You want your best players in there. That’s been a function of why Edge has been in there so much.”
Still, the Cards have been balanced enough that James hasn’t been forced to carry 30-plus times.
“As long as he’s in the mid-20s … it’s not a problem,” Whisenhunt said.
NEW VOICE IN HUDDLE
With Kurt Warner’s insertion as quarterback, the Cardinals’ huddle gets a different personality.
“They’ll probably say the huddle gets older,” Warner said.
“I think I talk a little faster than Matt (Leinart).
“You can ask (Leonard) Pope about that. He always tells me to slow down.”
Fans may want to keep an eye out Sunday for the Panthers’ long-snapper.
He is Jason Kyle, a former standout player at Tempe McClintock High School, who was lightly recruited and walked on at Arizona State.
He is now playing in his 13th NFL season; he’s been with the Panthers since 2001.
AN EXPLANATION, PLEASE
The Panthers are a hard team to figure, having gone 3-0 on the road and 0-2 at home so far.
How can this be?
“That’s a good question ... I have a hard time explaining it, to tell the truth,” Carr said.