Panthers Turn To Carr For Inside Info On Texans

Saturday, September 15th 2007, 4:58 pm
By: News On 6

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) _ The Carolina Panthers haven't been 2-0 since their Super Bowl season. The Houston Texans have never won their first two games.

Which team gets off to that quick start when they meet Sunday may depend on a guy who, barring injury, won't step on the field.

Who needs a video camera for spying when you have somebody who knows the opposing team's offense inside and out, like Panthers backup quarterback David Carr?

``If they ask the right question, I will tell them the right answer,'' Carr said.

Carr spent five seasons as the Texans' starter, suffering through 56 losses and 249 sacks. He started every game last season under new coach Gary Kubiak and knows the system unlike any opponent Houston will face this season.

So how much of an advantage do the Panthers have?

``I don't know. You can know what you want to know, but you have to stop it on the field on Sunday,'' Texans receiver Andre Johnson said.

The Texans looked much different last Sunday than the team that had a .300 winning percentage under Carr. His replacement, Matt Schaub, ran an efficient offense, throwing for 225 yards, including a 77-yard touchdown pass to Johnson.

Shifty running back Ahman Green rushed for 73 yards and power back Ron Dayne added 33 yards as Houston cruised past Kansas City 20-3 for its first win in Week 1 since 2003.

Kubiak, who said he labored with the decision to trade for Schaub and release Carr in the offseason, may have to show some wrinkles to cross up Carr's singing to the Panthers' coaching staff.

``He's going to tweak it a little bit,'' Carr said of Kubiak. ``He knows what I know. He'll have some tricks for us.''

Carr spent last Sunday in St. Louis in his new role as backup to Jake Delhomme. And Delhomme's performance _ 18-of-27 for 201 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions _ quelled any talk of Carr taking over against his former team.

Helped by an offensive line that didn't allow a sack and a running game that produced 186 yards in the 27-13 win, Delhomme looked much better than the 2006 mistake-prone version that threw six fourth-quarter interceptions.

And for the first time since 2003, the Panthers don't have to climb out of a Week 1 hole.

``I'll tell you what, it's huge. The last three years, we started 0-1 and they were all at home,'' Delhomme said. ``Every loss is bad, but two of those three losses were division games. It's nice to get a win.''

New offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson showed wrinkles with plenty of movement before the snap and lining up Steve Smith at different positions. Drew Carter caught two touchdown passes and tight end Jeff King had five catches.

The diversity forced the Rams to stop double-teaming Smith, and he blew past cornerback Tye Hill on a 68-yard touchdown catch that put the Panthers ahead to stay.

``That got us going,'' Delhomme said. ``Certainly, we would like to build off of last week and keep momentum going, but it's going to be tough. That's a good football team we're playing.''

The Texans were able to overcome another season-ending injury to a safety _ this time Jason Simmons _ to hold the Chiefs to 219 yards.

Much-maligned defensive end Mario Williams had a day of vindication. The No. 1 pick in the 2006 draft had two sacks and returned a fumble 38 yards for a touchdown.

The return yards were as many as Reggie Bush of New Orleans rushed for last week. And he has one more touchdown than Bush and Tennessee quarterback Vince Young, players fans and analysts have said the Texans should have taken instead of Williams.

On Sunday, Williams returns to North Carolina, where he starred at N.C. State _ and where he'll be measured up to Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers.

``Yes, he's playing against the guy they try to compare him to,'' Houston defensive end N.D. Kalu said. ``If he can outplay him, that will be a big game for him. Not only that, but for him to two great back-to-back games, it will really get that monkey off his back.''

A win Sunday could signal that the Texans, entering their sixth season, are finally ready to contend for a playoff berth. A 2-0 start for Carolina could show the team is ready to return to the postseason after a miserable 2006.

And Carr will likely spend the game on the sidelines, giving tips to his new teammates about how to beat the team that unceremoniously dumped him five years after he was the franchise's first draft pick.

``I used to have a coach in high school that told me, 'I don't care if they know what we're doing. If they can't stop it, then they just can't stop it,''' Johnson said. ``They have to go out and stop us on Sunday.

``He can tell them whatever he wants.''