The young Carolina DBs got a treat today with Charles Tillman returning to teach them his patented “Peanut Punch” according to a report on Panthers.com. Many suggested that Tillman might end up on the roster again this year as a player and mentor, but that notion was squashed when the Panthers drafted three corners in the NFL draft. Tillman elected to retire this offseason anyway, and even though he only spent one year in Panther blue, he still clearly has at attachment to the team.
It would be hard to argue that any team could use his services more than Carolina. The Panthers are expected to start a minimum of one rookie at the corner position, with two being a strong possibility. Even if it’s just one rook, the other position is expected to be manned by third year pro Bene Benwikere, who is just getting used to full-time starter duty himself. Though truthfully, it doesn’t matter if you’re a ten year veteran or a first day rookie, you want to soak up as much as you can about being a corner from Mr. Tillman while you can.
Tillman won’t be staying for long, but is here through this week’s practices heading up to Friday’s preseason game against New England.
It’s not really a surprise that Rivera and his staff would want Tillman teaching the young guys... the Panthers were #1 in the NFL in turnover margin last year with a staggering +20. The whole defense is built around creating opportunities to get the ball back in the hands of the offense with a short field, and the Panthers have made heavy draft investments with that philosophy in mind.
All I know is, even without Josh Norman, Thieves Ave is in a good place taking lessons from Peanut. While there might be growing pains, I have full confidence that we have a strong unit to support these young corners as they learn and grow.