This is it; the last preview before training camp kicks off today!
Today we look at special teams, which was an area of top priority (even more than receiver) going into Carolina’s offseason. The special teams unit ranked — literally — as one of the NFL’s worst in 2009. Hopefully 2010 will provide better results.
I’ve been told I was a little harsh on Captain Munnerlyn during my preview of the defensive backs. I got to thinking about it last night, and realized that yeah, I suppose I was, since I was jumping the gun and talking about his return performance well in advance of the special teams preview.
Munnerlyn’s got fire and so long as he’s not used in the return game this season, should be fine.
The Panthers’ acquiring of Wallace Wright, Aaron Francisco, and Marcus Hudson are all attempts to solidify the return game or defend agaisnt the the opponents’ return game in some way.
Wright and Francisco excelled on special teams — Wright with the New York Jets and Francisco with the Arizona Cardinals.
Carolina also has Dexter Jackson, who could see some time as a return man, and it’s been rumored that rookie receiver Armanti Edwards will see a lot of time as a returner, too.
At punter and placekicker, the Panthers have Jason Baker and old reliable, John Kasay.
A surprising move by Carolina during an offseason that saw so many older veterans kicked to the curb, was the retaining of Kasay.
Carolina’s long snapper stands alone on an island: J.J. Jansen.