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November 15, 2011

Kealoha Pilares hoping for more chances

The Panthers made a change at kick returner last month in part because they wanted to see what rookie Kealoha Pilares could do.

But the new kickoff rules have made it difficult to do much of an evaluation.

Pilares, the diminutive receiver from Hawaii, lined up deep seven times Sunday against the Titans. And seven times he either caught the ball too deep in the end zone to bring it out, or watched it sail out of the end zone for touchbacks.

Pilares is averaging just 20 yards per return, with a long of 27. But thanks to the rule that moved the kickoff spot up 5 yards, Pilares has had a small sample size with only 10 returns in five games.

"Almost every one's getting kicked out of the end zone," Pilares said Monday. "You've just got to focus more (because) you never know when you're going to return a kick."

Mike Goodson had 11 returns and a 22.7-yard average in the first four games before getting benched. He was beginning to get back into Ron Rivera's good graces when he injured his hamstring last week.

Pilares said the rule has taken an exciting element out of the game and made for some frustrating moments -- for him and the guys blocking for him.

"They're going out there and battling every play, and you don't even know if you're going to be able to return it," Pilares said. "It's hard, definitely hard."

--Joseph Person

Posted by Observer Sports on November 15, 2011 at 03:58 PM | Permalink


"diminutive receiver"? 5'10 201 is diminutive ? Good grief I need to try out as a Munchkin.

Posted by: Patrick | Nov 15, 2011 4:06:28 PM

Yes, Patrick, it is. 5'10" is certainly short for an NFL receiver.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Nov 15, 2011 5:09:23 PM

Yes, Patrick, it is. 5'10" is certainly short for an NFL receiver.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Nov 15, 2011 5:09:30 PM

He has not seemed in any hurry to run any kicks out, especially when the coverage team is already at the 10 yardline. Our blocking is pitiful.

Posted by: sbh1024 | Nov 15, 2011 11:16:35 PM

pretty soon they're going to eliminate the onside kick because teams are going to start doing it once a game and guys will get injured because of that.

over under on the rule being changed to just starting at the 20? they are ruining the game. and guys are still getting concussed.

Posted by: charlottean | Nov 16, 2011 3:34:40 PM

They'll move the kickoff spot back next year, so no worries there.

Posted by: Keith | Nov 16, 2011 4:20:03 PM

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