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May 21, 2012

Top defensive and special teams position battles for Panthers

DEFENSE

NO. 2 CORNERBACK

Candidates: Captain Munnerlyn, Brandon Hogan, Darius Butler, Josh Norman

Favorite: Munnerlyn

Comment: No corner in the league gave up more completions last year than the diminutive Munnerlyn, who was beaten on more than just jump balls. But the 5-8 Munnerlyn is in a contract year and won't concede his spot without a fight. Hogan, a year and a half removed from ACL surgery, will get a long look – as will Norman, the long-armed, fifth-round pick from Coastal Carolina.

FREE SAFETY

Candidates: Sherrod Martin, Haruki Nakamura, Jordan Pugh, Reggie Smith

Favorite: Martin

Comment: Martin was put on alert this offseason, first in dismissive comments from owner Jerry Richardson and later through the acquisition of free agents Nakamura and Smith. Martin must make better decisions when the ball's in the air or risk losing his job to Nakamura, who gets a chance to start after backing up Ed Reed for four seasons in Baltimore.

SPECIAL TEAMS

PUNTER

Candidates: Brad Nortman, Nick Harris

Favorite: Nortman

Comment: Ron Rivera said the Panthers drafted Nortman for a reason – to be the long-term replacement for Jason Baker, who was cut in March. And Nortman showed off a strong leg at the rookie minicamp. But Harris can attest that being drafted comes with no guarantees: Harris was beaten out by Tom Rouen in Denver after the Broncos took Harris in the fourth round in 2001.

--Joseph Person

 

Posted by Observer Sports on May 21, 2012 at 05:50 PM | Permalink

Comments

Please tell me that those favorites are BS...

Posted by: Godwin | May 21, 2012 9:39:53 PM

Godwin, I feel ...and share...your pain. I keep hoping that there will be a free agent signing. The lack of any major CB or safety upgrade makes me very nervous.

Posted by: Stil Hopin | May 21, 2012 10:33:19 PM

Jenkins from Cowgirls is asking for a trade! Give them Jimmy!

Posted by: DL | May 22, 2012 7:49:53 AM

Football isn't going anywhere! You must be a Saints fan!!! Your team sucks while Carolina Panthers are rising to the top! Get over it!

Posted by: DL | May 22, 2012 9:28:12 AM

Well said, DL !

Posted by: nasty704 | May 22, 2012 11:06:16 AM

So nothing about Jason Shirley getting cut and bringing another receiver... what the heii does Ron Green do? I mean damn got to be the slackest bunch, seriuosly!

Not just these guys the whole staff!

Posted by: 10-4!! | May 22, 2012 3:39:06 PM

got cut last night!

Posted by: 10-4!! | May 22, 2012 3:42:02 PM

Next time you start thinking playoffs, look at the names listed above. At least one more year away.

I mean Joe really just had to type "nakamura and smith were brought in to put martin on alert". The stuff 7-9 teams are made of!

Posted by: Frank | May 22, 2012 3:46:24 PM

Since we drafted Martin as a cornerback and moved him to safety, why dont we move him back? We know he is fast enough, he just forever goes for a kill shot and misses.

Posted by: spaceman mike | May 23, 2012 9:13:53 AM

I agree...I really hope those favorites are a joke...we need a serious upgrade at safety!

Posted by: Jtoom | May 23, 2012 11:56:03 AM

Football is not dead, and JoePa is a great example of why football is doing just fine. Stop defending the guy who let his staff member molest kids, and instead of telling police/someone who could do something about it, he tells his boss. Yeah, what a hero.

Posted by: Chef | May 23, 2012 2:15:21 PM

Corner back will be fine with competition between these named above.. Martin as part of the competition would be great also... Thomas Davis was drafted as a Safety from college.. Why not put him back there and take care of his knees while having a sure tackler in the position. He and Godfrey would make a great pair of football knowledgeable ball hawks..GO PANTHERS ... KEEP POUNDING !!

Posted by: Mainone | May 23, 2012 4:36:19 PM

Improve the line, and you improve the secondary. Without pressure on the QB, no ones secondary looks good. As for the need, it is not a major one when you consider the yardage Green Bay gave up last season. Over 1400 Yards in the first three games. Of the bottom 5 Defenses, 4 made the playoffs, and two played each other in the Super Bowl. Stop with your whining, I think the Defense will be serviceable; we just need to hold opposing team to 28 points per game.

Posted by: JC | May 23, 2012 10:41:53 PM

re:Next time you start thinking playoffs, look at the names listed above. At least one more year away.

I mean Joe really just had to type "nakamura and smith were brought in to put martin on alert". The stuff 7-9 teams are made of!

Carolina lost something like 7 games by one score or less(I don't have stats in front of me so don't argue with me LOL) including a heart breaker to the Packers which would have ended their undefeated talk in WEEK 2, sounds kinda like the playoff bound Lions year before last.

Posted by: wilyanish | May 23, 2012 11:38:01 PM

The biggest problem are that Godfrey and Martin should switch safety positions. Godfrey has better ball skills, and Martin wants to hit, so move him into the box.

Posted by: Panthers-Prowlin' | May 24, 2012 8:59:29 AM

I wouldn't mind both new safeties making a run at the starting spot. I actually like Martin over Godfrey. Godfreys pass defense is so porous you can't even tell he is the one getting beat he gets so far out of position. The guy can't even
Cover tuppaware. As for CB, I believe Josh Norman will win out. That Dude is
Gonna be a straight studin this league. Love the way he attacks the ball.

Posted by: Braff | May 24, 2012 10:51:09 PM

Munnerlyn. What a joke, and how is he the favorite to win if he was so terrible last year. Gawd.

Posted by: Season Ticket Holder | May 25, 2012 9:55:39 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.

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