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panthers' foster feasts on the falcons per ajc


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panthers' foster feasts on the falcons

with troubles at quarterback, expect to see lots of running

by d. orlando ledbetter

the atlanta journal-constitution

published on: 11/10/07

flowery branch don't be surprised if carolina running back deshaun foster throws out the welcome mat to bank of america stadium in charlotte for the falcons on sunday.

foster, a sixth-year player, has eight career 100-yard games, and four of them have come against the falcons. he ran for 122 yards in the panthers' 27-20 victory over atlanta on sept. 23.

"i don't know if it's personal confidence; i just think we end up running the ball more [against atlanta]," foster said. "it's kind of a rivalry game in our division, and we just end up running the ball, and i end up getting more chances."

foster played a big role in helping the panthers secure the victory earlier this season. he ran out the final 3:03 with 37 yards and three first downs on four carries.

"that's kind of how you want to finish the game," foster said. "both sides know what's going on; you're trying to run the clock out, and we were able to do it."

foster has been solid against the rest of the league. with 529 yards rushing, he is on pace for his first 1,000-yard season. but when foster sees the falcons, he finds another gear.

with carolina's quarterback situation up in the air, foster will get plenty of carries.

"he's run the ball very well this season," carolina coach john fox said. "offensively, i think we are 10th or 11th in the league rushing. that's something that we've been consistent with, fortunately; that's the big reason why we're 4-4 with some of the lack of continuity at the quarterback position."

in the past, the falcons had faulty scouting reports.

"deangelo [hall] said on his radio show that every year we talked about how this guy will lay the ball on the ground, how this guy will make mistakes, but every time that he's played us, he's been a whole different back," free safety chris crocker said. "we have to go out there and respect this guy. he has had some very good games against us."

the falcons want to limit foster's outside runs.

"we can't let him bounce around like we did last time," defensive end jamaal anderson said. "he was able to get to the outside, and he hit us on a few draws. he's that type of back that wants to bounce outside the tackles. we have to definitely keep him inside the tackles."

even the falcons' offensive players want foster stopped.

"some teams and some situations you just have a knack for playing well against them," falcons running back warrick dunn said. "i don't know foster's record, but he has run well against us when he's gotten a bunch of carries. we have to try to offset him a little bit and stop him from getting going."

foster has reputable lead blockers in fullback brad hoover and tight end jeff king, who's sometimes used as an h-back.

"he [foster] is a good back," linebacker michael boley said. "over the last few times we've played them, you have to give it to them, they've done a pretty good job of doing some things to put him in the best position to make plays."

the falcons' run defense, which is ranked 23rd in the 32-team league and gives up 125.1 yards per game, has received a boost from defensive end chauncey davis lately. he has averaged just over 20 plays a game, mostly in running situations.

"that's kind of his niche," falcons coach bobby petrino said. "he's really good against the run. he's got long arms. he holds the point."

what's troubling for the falcons is that they can't get too preoccupied with foster. he has a solid backup in deangelo williams, and wide receiver steve smith is the team's no. 1 offensive threat.

"just him as a runner, he's probably having the best year of his career," safety lawyer milloy said. "it's going to take all 11 guys, but we can't just focus on him. they've got mr. smith on the outside."

http://www.ajc.com/sports/content/sports/f...lcons_1110.html

sorry if already posted sad.gif

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