It was no accident that rookie CB Josh Norman did not return to the field in the 2nd half against the Falcons. Head coach Ron Rivera said it was in the game plan. In his place was second year CB James Dockery who didn't waste his opportunity as he held his own against Julio Jones. Dockery finished the game third in tackles with 6 combined and only gave up a couple catches.
Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera: CB Josh Norman’s demotion opens doors | CharlotteObserver.com
"We wanted to see what Josh Thomas could do in a starting role," Rivera said. "And then also (Sunday) we wanted to find an opportunity to play Dockery. I figured half a game would be a pretty good opportunity to see what Dockery could do.
As for Norman, I think his propensity to give up too big of a cushion at the line of scrimmage just got exasperating. The kid has a ton of potential and I think can be a good CB in this league in time. I like the way he plays, with some moxie. He's a hitter and a trash talker. But I like his size and think he just needs to learn to trust himself to play closer to the line and get better jams on the receivers
I'll tell you, when the announcer said 'Dockery' for the first time I yelled 'Who?'. "Who in the hell do we have covering Julio Jones one-on-one down the sideline?" I had to go look this Dockery guy playing pretty damn well against Julio Jones. He gave up a 17 yarder to him.
Apparently we signed him to the PS on Oct 24th, worth only a quick mention on CSR. No wonder I forgot about him. He has nice size for a CB standing 6'1, 185 lbs 2nd year out of Oregon St. He's a beaver.
Let's throw him out there again this week; I'm okay with a similar platoon of Norman and Dockery. So I'm not sure I really call this move a 'demotion' for Norman when the HC says he's trying to evaluate other players. This will be an interesting test for the brash Norman who will hopefully take the reduced playing time in stride. Even better, tighten up those cushions and knock down some passes.