How is the thumb?
“Thumb feels great. No, it really does.”
You sprained your thumb in London and within a week firing a gun at a gun range…what are you thinking there? It doesn’t seem like the best judgment call.
“True. That’s what Mark Dominik addressed me with right after the incident, but with a little free time during the bye week I like to use a gun range. it is a bit of an escape. [I] grew up shooting guns with my dad. I have always enjoyed shooting guns as a recreational thing. In hindsight, it wasn’t the smartest decision, but got to learn from it so no more shooting guns in season.”
Do you own several guns?
“A few. It has always been a bit of a hobby, but I always practice in safety. It was just a bit of a freak incident.”
What type of gun was it?
“It was a desert eagle.”
Is that a pistol?
“Yes, it’s a pistol.”
Was it the recoil that caused it?
“Yes, the thing slid off and cut it.”
Was it an unusual recoil this time or something?
“It was just a little different. It’s something [that] I [have] talked to Mark Dominik about it and really it’s something that never happened before. [It] was just kind of a weird thing.”
You had fired that weapon several times before?
How much do you think that has affected your play?
“Really not at all. The scratch on the thumb [is] purely cosmetic. The main thing that was affecting me was the sprain that game in and game out kept getting hit and kept flaring back up. It was mainly the sprain.”
Where was the cut?
“Right on top. No ligaments [and] nothing as far as grip.”
Did the sprain have anything to do with some of the throws in New Orleans that looked like you would have made last year?
“Honestly that game was – (if you look at the [and] I don’t remember the exact numbers – but Donald Penn brought it to my attention today that that was one of my better games of the year. That was right after the incident so honestly people just miss some throws sometimes. You can’t really attribute it to the thumb or anything.”
Are you worried with how this whole thing may but you in a different light with fans?
“Not really. I shoot guns all the time. Obviously, it was a poor choice of judgment doing it in season. At the end of the day, got to live with the consequences [and] move forward.”
Your stats do suggest you had one of your better games in New Orleans, but how did you feel that day?
“In actuality the cut like I said was cosmetic [was] purely just a scratch and no pain.”
Have you kind of found your way offensively with the running game again?
“Yes, LeGarrette (Blount) has been doing a great job. I think the offensive line has been doing a great job. Like you said penalties and this past week [with] turnovers [they] really cost us. We still have confidence moving forward. I know everybody in that locker room is excited moving forward to a great opportunity this week versus the Panthers.”
Can the running game success and confidence help break the slump?
“We are obviously doing everything we can to win. Having LeGarrette (Blount) running like he is gives us a lot better chance of winning.”
How is the chemistry between you and Kellen Winslow?
“Having a weapon like Kellen (Winslow) sometimes you feel like maybe you can force a ball into him and its really [that] you got to end up making better decisions. He is a great player [and] has a tremendous set of hands. [He is] a great route runner. Like you said you can’t take it too far.”
How often shoot your gun prior to incident?
“It was only the second time during the season. I went on an off day on a Tuesday —Tuesday afternoon a few weeks before. In the off season I used to go all the time.”
Why was the incident not revealed at all until now?
“Because it really wasn’t an issue. The scratch on the thumb was never anything that hindered me from doing anything. It wasn’t painful. Just viewed it as just any other scratch I got on my hand.”
How tough has this season been?
“It has definitely been rough. We have a lot of competitive guys. We have lost some close games. You hate to see them turn out like they have been. You look at the this game [and] you look at New Orleans game [and] the Chicago game—games that looking back there were just a few plays that if you executed better [or] maybe done something a little bit different then you would have had a chance to win. Really the outlook would be different in my opinion. It is what it is. You got to move forward and continue to work. We are in there working as hard as we can. Trying to get back in the win column.”
As a fellow QB are you impressed with Panthers QB Cam Newton?
“You see it every now and then maybe on ESPN, but I am really not that familiar with his numbers. I know he went over four hundred his first couple games. He is a tremendous player [and] a tremendous athlete. Coming in as a rookie making the plays he is making is definitely something to be praised.”
-Mark Cook contributed to this report