Special Teams Performance, Panthers vs Dolphins

I was reviewing the game, and looked at our starting lineup for special teams and their performances

Kick Off Coverage

Josh Norman - CB, Sherrod Martin - S, Kealoha Pilares - WR

Antawn Applewhite - DE Josh Thomas - CB Jordan Senn - LB

Reggie Smith - S Kenny Onatulu - LB Haruki Nakamura - S

Jason Williams - LB Justin Medlock or Olindo Mare- K

As for their performance, the kick off coverage was good, averaging 25.3 avg. starting position with Medlock and a excellent 20 yard avg for Mare, with a 22.6 yards overall for the whole team, very good indeed. The highlight was the opening kickoff, in whick Medlock boomed the ball nine yards deep in the endzone, by far his best kickoff so far, and our coverage team ran down the returner at the 16 yard line with Kenny Onatalu and Jordan Senn combining on the tackle. Sherrod Martin had a good lick on the returner as well on the third kickoff, stopping him on the 29 yard line. Mare clearly outshined Medlock on the kickoffs, getting touchbacks on all three attempts. If you are like me and really want to see Medlock win the starting job, the only thing currently holding him back is Mare's superior kickoff skill.

Medlock improved greatly on his dismal performance from the first game, booting the ball into the endzone for all three of his kickoffs. The first one went nine yards deep, the second, one yard deep and returned for 30 yards to the 29, and the third, 4 yards deep in the end zone but returned 35 yards to the 31. This shows improvement from his first game, but still is not up to par with Mare who killed it on kickoffs with three touchbacks. I still think Medlock is a better overall kicker, with a stronger leg and greater accuracy on field goals(which he showed with a long 48 yard field goal), and more confidence in himself. Mare was a great kicker at one point in his career, but right now he is struggling and I think we should cut our losses, he is just too unpredictable on field goals. Hopefully Medlock will continue to improve on his kickoffs and solidfy his hold on the starting job.

Our punt return team consisted of Pilares and Nakamura as the left side blockers, Richie Brockel, Onatulu, Jason Williams, and Tolbert in the middle on the line, with Applewhite and Senn behind them, and Josh Thomas and Jordan Pugh as the right side blockers.

Our punt return team had a pretty good performance, Joe Adams averaged 11.5 yards per return, but the 18 yard return was wiped out by a holding penalty. Armanti Edwards had a return of 13, which was also wiped out by a holding penalty, then followed that up by a three yard gain and a fair catch. Its safe to say that Joe Adams has that position locked up.

Kick off Return team: Tolbert, Sherrod Martin, Fua, Jeff Byers, Ben Hartsock, Applewhite, Senn, Jason Williams, Jason Phillips, Reggie Smith, with Pilares returning of course.

One of our worst performance in the game came from our Kickoff Return team, which only averaged a starting position of 17 yards. This is clearly an area for improvement and must be addressed. We might want to think about switching up some of our personal.

Our punt team was mediocre this game but we only punted once in the first half so it doesn't mean very much. The guys who were out there for the only punt of the first half were: Josh Norman and Josh Thomas as gunners, Kenny Onatulu, Jason Philips, Jason Williams, Tolbert, Nakamura, James Anderson, Richie Brockel, JJ Jansen at long snapper, and Nortman at punter. Our punters had a 43.5 gross punting avg, and a 38 yard net average with two punts inside the 20. These numbers aren't good, but not terrible.

Overall I'd give our special teams performance, a B-. Good but not great, with no missed field goals with makes from 48, 44, and 43, good kickoff coverage, good punt returns with our first unit. But a mediocre punting team performance, and an out right bad kick off return performance. Hopefully we can build on this performance and begin a new era of special teams excellence. What do you guys think?

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