CHARLOTTE -- It only took a week, but Panthers 3rd round pick Atiyyah Ellison is back on the active roster. After being the highest draft pick cut since 1996, (The panthers drafted and cut 3rd round pick JC Price in 1996, who was picked 1 spot ahead of Ellison) Ellison passed waivers and was signed to the Practice Squad. With Kris Jenkins suffering a season ending ACL injury last week, Ellison will provide depth behind Brentson Buckner, Jordan Carstens and Kindal Moorehead.
"That's why we kept him around," Coach Fox said Wednesday regarding Ellison’s elevation to the 53 man roster. "He's a guy that we drafted in the third round. He's a developmental guy that we think has a future, and the future is now."
Although the Panthers initially cut Ellison, they do see a lot of potential in him. "He's just a young football player," Fox said. "He's still learning to play the game at this level, full speed. He's a guy that has gotten better as we've gone along and he's got to get better quickly."
No Word on Thomas Davis
Although he admittedly had a bad game last week against the Saints, Panthers coach John Fox wouldn’t say if rookie safety Thomas Davis would be benched in favor of Marlon McCree. "I don't talk about starting lineups or even who's active or inactive until way later in the week," Fox said, staying tight-lipped about any potential changes.
Stephen Davis Doing Well
Panthers starting RB Stephen Davis suffered no ill-effects from his longest action in nearly a year. "With the type of injury he had, we're hoping it's healed," Fox commented. "Like most injuries when their healed, hopefully, there aren't any ill effects. It's no different than any guy that has missed time and come back. In this case as all of them, you hold your breath and hope they stay healthy. He had a good day's work. He looked good last week. He didn't start playing until that last preseason game, so I think he'll just keep continuing to improve."
Fox's Take on New England
"They are a very, very good football team," Fox noted of the Patriots. "They played very well against the Raiders at their place, and we're expecting their best game when they come to our place. It's a big challenge. Every week, there are no easy ones."
There’s no question though, that what Fox took away from the Super Bowl was a huge sense of disappointment. "It was a hard fought game, just like most of them are in this League, whether it's the Super Bowl or not," Fox said. "Disappointment. That would probably be the word that comes to mind."
Fox also sung the praises of New England’s QB, Tom Brady. "If he's not the best, he is one of the best in the League," said Fox. "He makes good decisions. He's got good mechanics. He has a lot of freedom as to what they're doing offensively. He does a great job as far as audibling and things he does in the run-pass game. He is as good as there is out there."
And even though the Patriots lost both the offensive and defensive coordinators, Fox doesn’t think they’ve lost anything. "They have a system in place, and those guys were sure part of it, but they have continued that. It's basically the same system they've had since Coach Belichick has been there."