Carolina Panthers kickoff specialist Rhys Lloyd was in on a few “tackles” in the 30-7 victory against New Orleans last Sunday and looked pretty uncomfortable in the process. Lloyd said after practice Thursday that his teammates give him a good-natured hard time about his tackling skills, or lack thereof. Does he plan on working on tackling?
“No!” he said emphatically. “I don't plan on tackling. That's the problem. I don't want to work on it because the intention is not to have to tackle. Last game, I cuddled up to the guy and waited until I got hit by everybody else.”
Lloyd's right: If he does what he was brought in to do – kick the ball into the end zone for a touchback – he won't be tackling anybody. He's reached the end zone on 26 of his 35 kickoffs and he's first in the NFL with 15 touchbacks.
Tackle Jeff Otah (ankle) and center Ryan Kalil (ankle) both missed practice again. It's looking more and more likely that they won't play Sunday against Arizona. They would then have two additional weeks, including next week's bye, to get healthy for the next game, Nov.9 in Oakland.
Quarterback Jake Delhomme said a brief meeting he had with receiver Steve Smith last week was pretty one-sided.
“I'm a big believer in just listening sometimes,” he said. “Just listen to him talk. I didn't say too many things. I'm a ‘right-to-the-point' guy. I don't need to beat around the bush with him.”
Smith sought out Delhomme after a frustrating game against Tampa Bay in which he dropped a certain TD pass in the fourth quarter.
“When you go through a season, it can be a grind,” said Delhomme. “There's tough times and you can get down on yourself. He knows what I expect out of him. He needs to just worry about Steve. When you don't play well – and none of us did in that game – it eats at you.
“I just told him, ‘Be Steve.'”
Smith bounced back with six catches for 122 yards and a touchdown against the Saints.
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