« Linebacker issues continue to plague Panthers | Main | Panthers work rookies during bye week »

November 01, 2011

Rivera mindful of Munnerlyn workload

The Panthers are 29th in the league in punt and kickoff returns, although Ron Rivera does not sound like he's ready to make any changes with his young returners.

Rookie kickoff returner Kealoha Pilares had two muffs/fumbles in last week's loss to Minnesota, although the Panthers recovered both of them. Pilares is averaging 20 yards on 10 returns, with a long of 27 yards.

Mike Goodson, whom Pilares replaced, averages 22.7 yards on 11 returns, with a long of 31.

Armanti Edwards, the former Appalachian State QB in his second year, is averaging 5.5 yards on 17 punt returns, wiht a long of 14. Starting cornerback Captain Munnerlyn, the main punt returner in 2009-2010, has a career average of 9.9 yards per return, which ranks second in team history behind Winslow Oliver (10.7).

But Rivera said he is leery of adding to Munnerlyn's workload.

"The thing you're always concerned with with Captain is he does so much for you," Rivera said. "He's your starter. He's your nickel. He plays the gunner for you on punt. We have to be careful with overexposure."

John Fox wasn't real interested in developing young players in his final season in Charlotte, most notably Edwards, who remains a work in progress at receiver.

It seems pretty clear with the Panthers (2-6) in a rebuilding year, Rivera is going to give young guys like Pilares and Edwards every chance to succeed -- even with proven returners available.

--Joseph Person

Posted by Observer Sports on November 1, 2011 at 12:23 PM | Permalink


So Captain does all of those things, and Armanti can only return punts - and not even very well. Why can't he return kicks and ounts, or play on other special teams? The team replaced John Kasay so that they wouldn't have to keep an extra kicker each week. Why isn't the same logic applied to other not-so-special specialists?

I know all you AE defenders will come out and tell me to get off his back, and that he's a great person. No one is saying that he's not a good kid, and it's not his fault that he was overdrafted. But, stop blaming Fox and everyone else for the lack of production. Who did you blame when Everette Brown failed to produce?

Posted by: Phillip | Nov 1, 2011 1:05:24 PM

captain was a 7th round pick, we traded up to get armanti. wow. just wow.

Posted by: zach | Nov 1, 2011 1:13:37 PM

Be fair, though, our blocking on KR and PR is dreadful. A big reason Hester is successful is that ST play in Chicago is superb.

Posted by: ecuscribe | Nov 1, 2011 1:17:25 PM

That's just down right stupid sacrificing winning games in order to try and give Armanti plenty of time as a PR hoping that he will succeed. This is most likely being done because of pressure from Hurney. Hurney knows how bad he's going to look if Armanti can't cut it like the wasted 1st round pick spent on Brown.

If Rivera concentrated on winning football games and not politics(Hurney's draft picks), then I think the Panthers record at this point would have been better. Having both Goodson and Captain returning punts and KOs would have put the Panthers in better field position and with the way the Panthers have barely lost most of their games, better field position may have been that little bit they needed to win most if their games.

Posted by: Out of town Panther fan | Nov 1, 2011 1:20:40 PM

I said it last year and will repeat again: AE will not be in a 53-man roster come opening day of 2012 season.

Posted by: HR | Nov 1, 2011 1:21:47 PM

The other reason Hester is successful is that he has NFL speed and he is decisive when he hits a hole...Armanti Edwards does/is not.

Posted by: Geoff | Nov 1, 2011 1:31:30 PM

Bernard Berrian still available? Why not bring this guy in for return specialist? He's had returns for TD before and knows the trade.

Posted by: Cranston C | Nov 1, 2011 1:35:37 PM

Yeah, now I know why Jerry and Hurney stated out of all the coaches they had, past coaches, and out of the choices they had to hire when hiring Rivera, that Rivera was the coach that suited the Panthers the most. I believe this is because, at least in part, that Rivera does what he is told, he is more of a "yes" man.

Last season they wanted Fox to play the rookies, especially Armanti, Fox didn't think Armanti was ready and refused to play him. It seems like Rivera is told the same thing and even though the Panthers would be better off with Captain doing PRs, Rivera does what he is told. I like Rivera and believe he will be an outstanding HC, but if he does succeed, it will be because he learned to say "no" to Hurney and Jerry once in a while.

Posted by: Out of town Panther fan | Nov 1, 2011 1:43:38 PM

why not give the young guys a chance? we are 2-6 and obviously not making the playoffs this year. let's be honest, captain isnt exactly a world class PR or KR. Steve Smith is the best returner on our roster, but we aren't putting him back there for obvious reasons.

Posted by: Elliot | Nov 1, 2011 2:39:08 PM

Rivera is no yes man! He cut all the garbage defensive linemen that Hurney drafted! Hurney has no idea what a run stopper is!

Posted by: joe cool | Nov 1, 2011 3:09:46 PM

Would only ask Armannti to run the ball up field when he catches it instead of dancing in place. Pick a lane and go for it. Ask Hester what he thinks about or sees when he gets the ball. He sees the field differently I would imagine. He doesn't see his life about to end with guys closing on him, he sees it as an opportunity.

Posted by: Mountaineer | Nov 1, 2011 3:13:02 PM

Our special teams are terrible as a whole, we given up punt returns for TD's, long kick off returns, had FG's blocked, missed FG's, and it's very clear that we can't block for our own return guys. Every time Armanti catches a ball there's someone looking him in the eye. I guess somehow the Armanti haters will blame it all on him.
One idiot poster even said we would be winning games if Armanti wasn't retuning punts, I guess benching Armanti would somehow also fix the defense.

Posted by: Kenny | Nov 1, 2011 3:24:40 PM

It is obvious this team has an offense that can produce, but we are lacking in the other phases. The defense and special teams do need work, though we did do a little better stopping punt returners is the last couple of games. Armanti has shown improvement thus far and he could be a factor down the road as a receiver/playmaker with his throwing ability. How many years did everetter brown get before we cut him?

Posted by: Actual Real Fan | Nov 1, 2011 3:48:30 PM

Once again we are discussing this!!! This is ridiculous!!! As I have said time and time again, neither Pilares or Armanti are EVER EVER going to be a factor returning punts/kicks. They are both dreadful and need to be relieved of those duties. The experiment has gone badly wrong!!!! Once again, we had a guy in preseason who was good at both returning punts and kicks. This guy was obviously better than either one of these guys is or will ever be. But due to the fact that we are trying to give the "young guys"-- translation-- the guys we wasted draft picks on a "chance", we find ourselves in the position that we are now. This is all the general manager's fault. He is sooo concerned about looking like the fool that he is that he is willing to allow our special teams to falter. He let a perfectly good punt/kick returner go because he was concerned that the undrafted guy would look better than the guys he drafted. This is a bunch of B&**S*&*!!!! The best players need to be on the field at all costs every week!!! And we definitely can't say that we have put the best punt/kick returner that we can on the field. We let him go two months ago and we have been suffering greatly every since. But once again, Cam looks good!!! And hey, how about Steve Smith!!! I guess that is good enough huh???

Posted by: slimgoodbody | Nov 1, 2011 4:52:45 PM

I agree, Cam does look good and is getting better with each game. However, we wouldn't have known that if we didn't allow him to play. I agree with the evaluation of the young players before we kick them to the curb. I also agree that instead of dancing in place, Armanti needs to run north with the football. We need to give Pilares a look at receiver too, especially since we now have a starting QB that is able to deliver the ball.

Posted by: Chuck | Nov 1, 2011 5:57:12 PM

This season is a sacrifice, we'll be better off next year and in the future if we can secure a top 10 draft pick in each round. Maybe some DL, LB and DB, PR, KR help will come!

If we finish 500 this year it is meaningless.... and will get 15 or so draft pick which sacrifices potential success in future.

I hope they play good and keep losing.... for 2011.

Posted by: pslowner dude | Nov 1, 2011 6:03:00 PM

Blaming Fox for Edwards? What? Did you see Armanti Edwards in last years preseason? How many punts did he muff and fumble? There's a difference in developing players, and not playing players who just can't cut it. Fox has his share of the blame, but this isn't one of them.

Posted by: carpanfan1 | Nov 1, 2011 7:43:28 PM

@Kenny, That's right, all the players on ST are absolutely horrible, except for Armanti. He couldn't possibly have any part in that at all. Of course, you may actually be right considering the only thing Armanti does is return punts. I guess since he literally isn't on any other ST unit, like Captain and even Pilares, hebmay not have a hand in the poor play. Then again, he isn't helping either. Waste.

Posted by: Phillip | Nov 1, 2011 8:40:45 PM

I see nobody wishes to address the blocking on returns. That might play a part in the subpar results.

Posted by: shp | Nov 1, 2011 10:20:35 PM

In addition to the blocking, look at how the defense loses the field position battle every week. If a team is punting, it is usually from midfield. Fielding punts inside your own 20 with weak blocking is not a playbook for long returns.
You guys are just falling into the CO's mind tricks of building up a player during the preseason, then busting on him at every chance instead of providing real analysis.

Posted by: Mediapuppets | Nov 1, 2011 11:34:05 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.