Trusnik is under the radar for Carolina Panthers


With training camp in full swing for the Carolina Panthers, we are all aware improvements needed to be made for this team to win a third consecutive NFC South title and most of these improvements were addressed.  The offensive line was upgraded with the addition of Michael Oher.  The secondary now has Charles Tillman.  Devin Funchess now lines up at wide receiver to compliment Kelvin Benjamin.

But also, an entire side of the ball needed to be upgraded.  The defense was fine, the offense we have already discussed added upgrades.  Special teams though needed major improvement.  Therefore, the Panthers brought in a variety of players to improve special teams as a whole.  For instance, Ted Ginn Jr. is back to help special teams with speed on kickoff and punt returns, as we never know when he will take one to the house.

A main ingredient though that is overlooked, is the signing of Jason Trusnik, who has played for Miami the last four years.  Trusnik is not a small guy, standing at 6’4″ and 250 lbs., which demonstrates he ability to take the run and gun nature of special teams.

Dec 28, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins middle linebacker Jason Trusnik (93) in the second quarter at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

So why is Trusnik special?  Think of it this way.  Special teams coach Bruce DeHaven has a special term he uses for special teams players who play on the kickoff and kickoff return teams, as well as the punt and punt return teams.  The phrase – the “Big 4”.  Well, DeHaven might need to coin a new phrase, possibly “the 6th man”, as Trusnik contributes in all six phases of special teams – kickoff and kickoff return teams, punt and punt return teams and field goal protection and field goal block teams.  Not only does Trusnik play all of them, he plays all of them with a passion and enjoyment.

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“I’ve played ‘em all.  I’ve been in all six for quite a bit of time, especially all four years in Miami.  I enjoy playing them all.  And I hope to bring that enjoyment (to Carolina).”

Head coach Ron Rivera appreciates the work by the front office to bring an added benefit to special teams to help his team that was last in punt coverage, allowing 15.5 yards per return and next to last in kickoff coverage (32.4 yards) and also feels as if this will be beneficial for the team

“Dave (Gettleman) and his guys went out and found some guys that were available that were special teams guy, aces that we need.”

Trusnik’s play in all aspects of special teams will be key for the Panthers in 2015.  He will contribute in all avenues and the best part – he enjoys the game, influencing those around him to put forth full effort.