Jeremy Brevard-US PRESSWIRE
In a bit of a side note to the Senior Bowl reporting the newly promoted Panthers special teams coach says he is not ready to give up on rookie PR Joe Adams. You might recall Adams was benched early in the season for two PR fumbles only to return eight games later and fumble again.
Adams averaged 11.5 yards per punt return on 11 returns which if he held that average for a season would be a top 10 performance for those with over 10 returns. He called a fair catch on an additional 11 returns for a 50% average that needs some work as well. It was very apparent watching him that he has what I will call the 'jitterbug' ability to make people miss while also cutting at the right time up the field. Rodgers seems to agree:
Source: Panthers to promote Ken Dorsey to quarterbacks coach | CharlotteObserver.com
Panthers special teams coordinator Richard Rodgers said he’s not giving up on punt returner Joe Adams, last year’s fourth-round pick who was plagued by fumbles as a rookie. Rodgers said Steve Smith also struggled to hold on to the ball as a rookie returner.
"At this level, everyone’s trying to get the ball, and he has to understand that everyone’s after it and it’s important for him to secure the ball," Rodgers said.
I'm glad to hear that because I think learning to hold on to the football is something that can be learned and practiced. Give the kid a season or two in the weight room and he will get those arms strong enough to withstand the pressure and hits he is getting on the ball. The kid is just too darn exciting to watch with the ball in his hands to give up on him yet.