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November 14, 2011

Ron Rivera: Injuries have hurt special teams

The Panthers have been at or near the bottom of the league in several major special teams categories all season.

In a 30-3 loss to Tennessee on Sunday, the Panthers allowed Marc Mariani's 79-yard return for a touchdown. It was the third punt return for a score Carolina has yielded this season, a franchise high.

But first-year coach Ron Rivera today defended special teams coordinator Brian Murphy, saying the spate of injuries this season has made it difficult to get the right personnel on the field for special teams.

The Panthers have 11 players on injured reserve, including a couple of special teams members in linebacker Thomas Williams and tight end Gary Barnidge.

Rivera also pointed to a trickle-down effect, citing middle linebacker Dan Connor as an example. With Connor getting more defensive reps after Jon Beason's season-ending injury, the Panthers have not used Connor on every special teams, as they normally would have.

"When you're moving guys constantly from being starters to being backups, and backups to starters, you're taking guys off what they should normally be doing. And that's just not fair," Rivera said. "It's tough. The job is tough. It's a very tough job. It's tough to find those types of players. When you're constantly shuffling people around, you're put at a huge disadvantage."

In injury news, Rivera said:

--Tight end Jeremy Shockey is undergoing an MRI today on his ribs and hip area after getting injured on his first play against the Titans.

--Center Ryan Kalil's wrist should be OK. Kalil had the wrist taped in the first half Sunday and returned to the game.

--Joseph Person

 

Posted by Observer Sports on November 14, 2011 at 01:13 PM | Permalink

Comments

No excuses! Excuses are for losers!

Posted by: joe cool | Nov 14, 2011 2:38:55 PM

It's funny that Rivera would mention Dan Connor, because I noticed him running down the field slow as molasses on that punt return TD.

Posted by: Nate | Nov 14, 2011 2:39:35 PM

Soooooo, you can't get other players for just special team.

Posted by: Real Panther | Nov 14, 2011 2:53:05 PM

Every team in the NFL has players injured and on IR, they too have to shuffle players around, but the vast majority of them play a whole better on STs.

Also, the Panther just had an extra week off with their bye week so they should have been well rested. Time for accountability and not for trying to protect.

Posted by: Out of town Panther fan | Nov 14, 2011 3:03:59 PM

So your telling me Marty Hurney can't replace Gary Barnidge who was placed on IR before training camp ended! Add not being able to evaluate special teams talent with not be able to find run stoppers! Give Marty a break he's only had years of looking! How many years have special teams been bad?

Posted by: joe cool | Nov 14, 2011 3:16:40 PM

Defense is terrible...almost as bad as the special teams. We are AT BEST 3 years away from playoff contention...thats if EVERYTHING goes right.

Posted by: Brian | Nov 14, 2011 3:27:30 PM

Lol, you people are so angry... Yes, every other team does have injuries - but those other teams were not the last placed team in the league last year. Last placed teams usually don't have much depth - and the Panthers have exhausted much that they did have. I bet Connor was running slow on special teams - he starts on defense. A defense that was on the field all afternoon. You might have heard, but that takes a lot of energy. I cannot believe you all are acting like this team is letting you down by not winning every game - this was how EVERY game last year looked. How about a little perspective - they have one of the top young QBs in the league, great coaches (worst to top 5 offense just goes to show), and next year they will get back starters, and have a ton more depth. This year was always going to be a rebuilding year. And if that is not enough for you, you can always jump on the Packers bandwagon...

Posted by: swizzlesticks | Nov 14, 2011 3:52:33 PM

That excuse for the shockingly poor special teams play is infuriating. I'm not expecting us to be at the top of any standings this year, but Rivera needs to instill some discipline and accountability.

Posted by: Stumpy | Nov 14, 2011 4:07:32 PM

Having spent time in the military, I understand Rivera's approach. When your team, platoon, company, etc. is attacked from the outside you don't jump on the bandwagon yourself and bash them. You stand behind them and support them. Now as to what goes on behind closed doors - it is probably not pretty. But Rivera is not going to do his disciplinary work in public, its not fair to his staff.

As a previous poster commented, if you don't like it, go find another bandwagon to jump on!

Posted by: dbigcat | Nov 14, 2011 5:23:49 PM

No excuses, Brian Murphy needs to go. The special team blunders are NOT the result of injuries. They are the results of NOT letting the players be aware of circumstances.

Posted by: par404 | Nov 14, 2011 6:58:48 PM

swizzle, you are what your record says you are. Nothing else matters. Having a "top young QB" or "great coaches" gets you nothing in the win-loss column. This franchise simply can't get it done.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Nov 14, 2011 9:10:00 PM

Excuses - Mariani ran right by Connor as if he wasn't even there. Great positioning by Baker as well...

Posted by: sbh1024 | Nov 15, 2011 11:18:34 PM

@SWIZZLESTICKS. WHAT GAME WAS YOU WATCHING . THE RUN BACK WAS THE FIRST POSSESSION THAT THE TITANS HAD. AFTER THE FIRST POSSESSION OF THE GAME THAT THE PANTHERS HAD.. GUESS WHAT. DAN CONNOR WAS ON THE SIDELINES DEF DIDNT EVEN HIT THE FIELD YET. SO HE WAS FRESH AS FRESH CAN BE.. HE GOT BURNED THATS IT. NOT ONE PANTHER WAS NEAR THE CATCHER AND THE TITANS HAD LIKE 3 PLAYERS. AND FOR IT TO HAVE WENT THAT SIDE ITS SAD THAT IT WAS ONLY LIKE 3 OR 4 PANTHERS IN THE AREA.

@REAL PLAYER@@ NO YOU CANT. IF YOU PLAYED FOOTBALL YOU WOULD KNOW THAT. THERES NOT ONE TEAM IN THE NFL WHERE THERE ISNT A PERSON WHO IS PLAYING SPECIAL TEAMS ALSO PLAYS SOMEWHERE ON OFFENSE OR DEF. ITS USUALLY THE 2ND AND 3RD STRING THATS ON SPECIAL TEAMS THOUGH. BUT YOU WILL FIND STARTERS ON THERE. JUST LIKE DAN CONNOR IS. MAYBE HIS HEAD WAS IN THE WHO PENN STATE THING..AND HE LOST FOCUS THAT GAME.

Posted by: PANTHERFAN4LIFE | Nov 16, 2011 3:25:30 PM

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