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November 17, 2011

New additions get shot on special teams

Ron Rivera is wasting no time throwing the Panthers' newest additions into the special teams fire: Running back Josh Vaughan and linebacker Kion Wilson, signed off the practice squad Wednesday, both will play special teams Sunday at Detroit.

The Panthers are looking for any kind of boost on a special teams unit that ranks at or near the bottom of several categories.

Wilson played special teams at San Diego, where Rivera was the defensive coordinator, for six games last year before injuring his ankle. Vaughan said he played a number of special teams when he was backing up Tim Hightower at Richmond.

The Panthers have allowed three punt returns for touchdowns this year, one away from tying an NFL record. The last one was a 79-yarder by the Titans' Marc Mariani, whose easily ran past punter Jason Baker, the last man with a shot to tackle him.

Rivera said he would have liked to have seen Baker make more of an effort on the play.

But,” Rivera added, “he's a punter.”

As for injury updates, Rivera said he feels optimistic about TE Jeremy Shockey (ribs), who missed his second consecutive day.

CB Captain Munnerlyn (quad) and LB James Anderson (ankle) returned to practice and are expected to play.

--Joseph Person

Posted by Observer Sports on November 17, 2011 at 03:54 PM | Permalink


The Pantherss need to bring back our punter that used to regularly get unsportmanslike conduct penalties because he had a nasty streak. I think he went to jail though for a violent crime. But I don't recall any punter returners ever running over him.

Posted by: Chuck | Nov 17, 2011 5:20:17 PM

solved our punt coverage problem! kick ball out of bounds! repeat if necessary!

Posted by: joe cool | Nov 17, 2011 6:30:20 PM

I am afraid that the special teams problems are being allowed and continued by Coach Rivera. Seems that he might not have the intestinal fortitude to make changes when they are obviously needed. The special teams coach should have been fired in week 5.

Every special teams coach in the NFL has to work with player turnover during the season and still produce an acceptable result. The Panthers special teams play has been inexcusable for way too long.

If Coach Rivera defends terrible coaching, he will continue to get terrible results.

I give any team opposing the Panthers, 7-14 points - points that are usually "given away" by "specially bad teams" errors.

Bite the bullet Coach!

Posted by: Grizzly | Nov 17, 2011 7:41:15 PM

Good it's about time. They're new and have something to prove, plus they couldn't possibly play any worse than the pathetic performances we've seen most of this season, which hit the nadir against Tennessee.

And lol @ joe cool, I know that was sarcasm but that's exactly what we should have done against Devin Hester. But Marc Mariani??? Who the *@&% is that anyway? Your average o-lineman could've run that one back...just pitiful.

Posted by: bigboi | Nov 17, 2011 8:03:07 PM

I don't understand why they all stay in their assigned lanes on defense all the way down the field. It seems to me the punt returner only has to make 2 defenders miss and he's on his way to six pts. Can someone clarify? Seems stupid to me.

Posted by: shaun | Nov 17, 2011 8:49:32 PM

What would you have them do, Shaun-- everybody run to the same spot so the return team can just wall them off and run around them all? Besides, it's not just about lane discipline/setting the edge/keeping containment... Once you've done that, somebody's gotta have the talent to BEAT A BLOCKER and make a tackle.

Posted by: banks | Nov 17, 2011 9:32:07 PM

going to give coach a break! special teams have been bad for years before his first season! why?

Posted by: joe cool | Nov 17, 2011 10:13:57 PM

unfortunately - its going to take this offseason to fix carolinas problems. :) especially on defense and special teams.
Tough but its whats going to have to happen.

Posted by: NICK | Nov 18, 2011 1:28:26 AM

We missed Todd Sauerbraun on that punt return for a touchdown. Sauerbraun would have done alot more to get that guy out of bounds. Remember the game where he got his nose broken and kept playing. On the other hand the last time I saw him was not on the football field, but in the courthouse.

Posted by: Dan | Nov 18, 2011 7:32:08 AM

Yeah! And after the tackle, Todd Sauerbraun would have quickly followed up with another DUI. Come on. Lay off Baker who a) has never had off-field trouble b) was a relatively cheap acquisition c) been a superb Punter while at Carolina.

Posted by: Kevin | Nov 18, 2011 1:19:49 PM

@Kevin, I agree, actually Jason Baker last year was probably the MVP of this team. He punted more then any other kicker in the NFL, and consistently kicked it long.. Considering how bad the offense was last year, he probably had to be helped off the field with a sore leg after every game.

Posted by: Catsnmbrfan | Nov 19, 2011 1:21:07 AM

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