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October 01, 2012

Rivera mulling change at safety after Nakamura's bad day

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said backup safety Sherrod Martin will get more practice reps this week, and left open the possibility that Martin might replace starter Haruki Nakamura following Nakamura's nightmare day Sunday in a 30-28 loss to Atlanta.

Nakamura had four major blown assignments – three on touchdown plays and another that led to Matt Bryant's game-winning field goal with five seconds left.

Nakamura took responsibility for the loss after the game, saying he cost the Panthers the win.

Martin started at free safety in 2010 and 2011, but fell out of favor last season with several missed tackles in the open field.

If we're going to evaluate, we're going to evaluate different combinations and what those possibilities can be I think when you go back and look at what happened in training camp, I didn't think Sherrod did a bad job,” Rivera said. “And we've got obviously until Sunday to make a decision on what we're going to do.”

Nakamura signed with the Panthers during the offseason after backing up All-Pro Ed Reed for four seasons in Baltimore. Rivera said Nakamura won the starting job after the third preseason game against the Jets.

Nakamura gave up a pair of touchdown catches to Roddy White, then allowed White to get behind him for a 59-yard reception when the Falcons were backed up at their 1-yard line with less than a minute remaining. White's catch set up the game-winning kick.

He had a tough day obviously on a couple plays,” Rivera said. “But he also made a couple plays – a big interception down in the red zone and a big knockaway down in the red zone, a couple of nice tackles coming up. We've got to evaluate all situations and circumstances, not just one position.”

--Joseph Person


Posted by Observer Sports on October 1, 2012 at 12:34 PM | Permalink


Never saw a NFL safety misplay both the ball and his man on the same play. Letting White behind him and then Naka leaps and misses the ball by feet/yards. Replacement safety from the lingerie league.

Posted by: Tarhoosier | Oct 1, 2012 12:43:32 PM

Why dont you report on Cams behavior, he is a big baby, also calling the cartoon in the Charlotte Observer racist. It wont be long before he has a big blow up!! Can you say Vince Young!!! Great judge of character Hurney.

Posted by: JD | Oct 1, 2012 12:49:51 PM

I thought Cam played great as well as the pass rush. If it werent for the long 59 yard catch by Roddy White we would have won.

Posted by: Frank | Oct 1, 2012 1:00:11 PM

All 3 losses thusfar stem directly from the head coach. 1 or 2 more from RR and we'll just hire Chud in the offseason.

Posted by: John | Oct 1, 2012 1:01:27 PM

Watching the "head coach" get on the job training while screwing up the season is not pleasant for anyone. Effectively the season is over for the Panthers barring a miracle of sorts. But this coaching staff and a poorly functioning defensive secondary don't give much hope for change

Posted by: Jim | Oct 1, 2012 1:02:15 PM

Nakamura doesn't have very good coverage skills and his tackling is barely better than Martin's. Martin's coverage skills are so much better that he is an immediate upgrade for us. He's a bit taller, much faster and he plays Free Safety more like a Cornerback. I hope he gets the starting nod again. Not sure how you can discredit a good 2009 and 2010 when a guy has one down year in just his tackling production. He still had a good amount of interceptions.

JD - I'm sure you were singing Cam's praises when he beat the Saints. So shut up.

Posted by: Greg | Oct 1, 2012 1:08:08 PM

you guys are a bunch of whiny pussys!!

Posted by: skywalker1 | Oct 1, 2012 1:10:09 PM

Can Armanti play CB? he has skills galore I hear. it may take a few years to "learn the position", but it appears that is not an issue.

go panthers!

Posted by: big gulps | Oct 1, 2012 1:12:09 PM

Nakamura has not been very good in each of the 4 games thus far in the regular season. The mistakes yesterday were just more obvious. For example, he wasn't even in the same time zone against the Giants. However the other defensive were playing very soft also so I suppose that was McDermont's call. McDermont is one of the problems also. But the architect is Hurney. I am afraid that as long as Richardson is with us, the Panthers are doomed to lousy to mediocre play. Hurney would already have been fired by the other 31 owners based on his performance during the past 9 years plus this year.

Posted by: dardjohn | Oct 1, 2012 1:18:19 PM

Nice dance Cam. Real class. If I was a teamate, I would kick his butt Smitty style.

Posted by: Realist | Oct 1, 2012 1:19:31 PM

Please no more Nakamoron at safety. Guy can't guard his shadow.

Posted by: Dave | Oct 1, 2012 1:44:42 PM

1. Stephen A Smith said the cartoon in the Charlotte Observer racist not Cam.
2. Armanti made a good catch and run. Also great throw to Smith would have been a big play if he was not tripped up.
3. Safety play and over all tackling was awful the past two years.
4. The Cats only lost by 2 and played a good game. Yes, there were plays left on the field, but when it isn't it.
5. Can someone tell me what team has all their 3-7 picks on the roster from 2009 and past? Not every player in the league was drafted.
6. Give up the crap about celebrating a touchdown. Everyone yells about the No Fun League and then complains when someone have fun.

Posted by: Big Cat | Oct 1, 2012 1:49:20 PM

Wow, talk about being stuck between the proverbial rock and hard place. Nakamura or Martin? No right choice for Coach here.

Posted by: James Reed | Oct 1, 2012 1:51:39 PM

Im just saying, I call it like it is. He played the race card!! What a joke!!

No Greg, you shut up

Posted by: JD | Oct 1, 2012 2:01:54 PM

Maybe had we addressed this in the draft, it may have been a good idea? I asked on draft night why we were drafting an LB with pick 9 that we did not need. Still don't need him. Needed a beast DL and secondary. We got neither. Oh well. I guess this was to be expected considering we did nothing to addres our areas of weakness. Hey coach, we're still weak. You know....the same areas as last year. Ignoring it will not make it better.

BTW, Atlanta fans, go run your mouth on your own blogs. Yes, you will make the playoffs, probably. Gag, gag, cough, cough. That's what you do when you get there....choke. So shut up!

Posted by: YeahRight | Oct 1, 2012 2:04:55 PM

Post the link where Cam played the race card.
I can spell it out for you - Stephen A Smith is NOT Cam Newton.
Now go get you some glass for your eyesight.

Posted by: Big Cat | Oct 1, 2012 2:06:12 PM

Bad secondary, but what's new? No issues with coaching other than the first half clock mis-management. Good to see Hardy, CJ and Frank play at the same time. Overall a good game that we lost because of 1 dumb play (or 2). Need wins quick to keep the team morale and fan interest. go panthers!

Posted by: byteAbit | Oct 1, 2012 2:10:17 PM

Blah blah blah. Who cares anymore. Below average franchise with a poor owner. Jeery has had plenty of time to build a winner ... failed! Move on

Posted by: Cooter | Oct 1, 2012 2:16:41 PM

Big Cat ...are you serious about the 3-7 picks since 2009??? What about all the first and second round picks that Hurney has blown?? You did "hit it on the head" I guess. We look like a team of 3-7 picks.

Posted by: Realtree71 | Oct 1, 2012 2:25:40 PM

not so sure i like the knee jerk grass is greener mentality rivera seems to be displaying. you have to make tough choices and replace guys that aren't getting the job done sure.....but guys can't play scared of being pulled if they give up a big play. you play like that and you give up 10 yards EVERY play.

that being said, martin was always a ball hawk, just a horrible tackler. pick your poison i suppose. No doubt that next years draft picks should probably be spent on defensive backs since we're looking pretty solid and pretty youthful at almost every offensive position and defensive line/linebackers look solidified but need to play a bit better.

hard to have 2 first time starters at D-back and NOT give up big plays. norman looked equally bad most of the day but got bailed out a few times by drops and other people deflecting the pass. he did make a play or 2, as did nakamura.

Posted by: charlottean | Oct 1, 2012 2:27:04 PM

I don't think this was all Nakamura's fault. He did have a problem with timing his jumps for the ball, but he made some good plays also. It looks to me like there is a major miscommunication going on between Nakamura and Josh Norman. When they play zone coverage the corner is not supposed to release his coverage on the receiver until he knows the safety is there to pick him up. For the past 2 weeks the opposing QB's have been placing the ball right in between Nakamura and Norman with about 10 yards of cushion all around the receiver, and that is mostly because they are targeting a rookie cornerback, who for some odd reason has been assigned to cover the best receiver on the opponent's team. What genius thought it was a good idea for a rookie to cover all-pro WR, Roddy White? Now that Norman has been exposed 2 weeks in a row, every other team we play is going to target him. He has to get better real quick or sit down and study from the sidelines, along with whoever plays safety.

Posted by: BillyB | Oct 1, 2012 2:28:03 PM

Nakamura has been worthless since we signed him. He has whiffed on tackles on ST and in the regular games. The only good play he has made was the INT v. ATL - which was counterweighted with a lot of blown coverage and bad tackling by him.

Bring back Martin and lets end yet another Hurney waste of money free agent experiment.

Posted by: manu4t | Oct 1, 2012 2:43:31 PM

There's a reason Nakamura was a backup for all those years. I'll take Martin, please.

Posted by: Jeff | Oct 1, 2012 3:05:43 PM


Any Idea if Cam is spending 10k a week at the cheesecake factory a la vince young?

I noticed the gatorade towel was on his cranium as the winning field goal was kicked. maybe he should've used that gatorade towel to dry his paws prior to the critical fumble???

Posted by: big gulps | Oct 1, 2012 3:24:29 PM

Cam you are no Super Man. Concentrate on the game and winning instead of trying to be something you're not. You need to have some big wins in the Pro's before you can make that distinction of being a super hero.

Posted by: Phil | Oct 1, 2012 3:27:05 PM

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