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Ron Rivera pondering a change at safety after blowing late lead

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The Panthers replaced former second-round pick Sherrod Martin with Haruki Nakamura at free safey because they grew tired of Martin giving up big plays.

Now that Nakamura is the culprit, they may switch back.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Martin will get more reps in practice this week, and left open the possibility of putting him back in the starting lineup, according to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer.

Martin started the previous two years, but a string of mental errors last season put him in the doghouse, and had the Panthers elect the slow-and-steady route in Nakamura, who backed up Ed Reed in Baltimore.

“If we’re going to evaluate, we’re going to evaluate different combinations and what those possibilities can be I think when you go back and look at what happened in training camp, I didn’t think Sherrod did a bad job,” Rivera said. “And we’ve got obviously until Sunday to make a decision on what we’re going to do.”

Nakamura lacks Martin’s range or ball skills, and the Falcons exploited him several times. Nakamura had one interception in the end zone, but was targeted multiple times in the Falcons game alone.

“He had a tough day obviously on a couple plays,” Rivera said. “But he also made a couple plays – a big interception down in the red zone and a big knockaway down in the red zone, a couple of nice tackles coming up. We’ve got to evaluate all situations and circumstances, not just one position.”

Nakamura wasn’t the only reason the Panthers blew their late lead, but he was the most visible, and hasn’t played so well leading up to this one to have been immune from being replaced.

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15 Responses to “Ron Rivera pondering a change at safety after blowing late lead”
  1. finleye says: Oct 1, 2012 2:34 PM

    never thought I’d be saying it, but bring back Sherrod.

  2. gtorlone says: Oct 1, 2012 2:46 PM

    Where’s Mike Minter when you need him?

  3. blacknole08 says: Oct 1, 2012 2:49 PM

    I wouldn’t give the Hi-ya! chop to Haruki just yet. He had a good red-zone pick off Ryan early on which kept the score close. Potential is there. He just badly misplayed the jump ball.

    And Sherrod is terrible.

  4. rickastleydancemoves says: Oct 1, 2012 3:02 PM

    The Panthers pass rush is pretty crappy. Why aren’t more people talking about Charles Johnson? He is one of the highest paid d-ends in football.

  5. geniusfan says: Oct 1, 2012 3:03 PM

    Rivera should have went for the 4th and one. I want my team to play to win, I don’t want them to play not to lose.

    Cam Newton would have gotten that one yard he was fantastic all game long Rivera should have trusted his best player to win the game.

  6. jrock3x8 says: Oct 1, 2012 3:11 PM

    the play at the end of the game was inexcusable. Matt Ryan throws a jump ball into 2x coverage on what was essentially a hail mary… you HAVE to make that play.

  7. knackstermyea says: Oct 1, 2012 3:16 PM

    Don’t care really. It’s the Falcons. Boring

  8. finsphan says: Oct 1, 2012 3:25 PM

    you can put palomanu and reed back there, doesn’t matter, cam will keep losing games with his turnovers. now 20 starts with 7 wins and 5 against the worst teams in the nfl. but hey, he sure had a nice td celebration.

  9. blacknole08 says: Oct 1, 2012 3:30 PM

    rickastleydancemoves says: Oct 1, 2012 3:02 PM

    The Panthers pass rush is pretty crappy. Why aren’t more people talking about Charles Johnson? He is one of the highest paid d-ends in football.

    ————————————————–

    Charles Johnson had 3.5 sacks off of Ryan yesterday. Where were you?

  10. Brandon says: Oct 1, 2012 3:31 PM

    geniusfan says:
    Oct 1, 2012 3:03 PM
    Rivera should have went for the 4th and one. I want my team to play to win, I don’t want them to play not to lose.

    Cam Newton would have gotten that one yard he was fantastic all game long Rivera should have trusted his best player to win the game.

    I’m a huge Panthers fan, and HE DID trust his best player to win the game… and he fumbled the ball.

    Not putting all the blame on Cam as he can’t carry the whole team, but I mean in all honestly if he had of held on to the ball on that 3rd and 2 the game would have been over.

  11. finleye says: Oct 1, 2012 3:44 PM

    and for those that want to give Nakamura the benefit of the doubt, why is there any doubt?

    1) He got turned around like a top on the first bomb to Roddy.

    2) He completely whiffed trying to tackle Turner on the screen that went for a 60 yard touchdown.

    3) He let Roddy get behind him on the final 60 yard bomb that he gave up.

    4) He failed to meet the ball at its highest point. Instead, falls back and waits the ball to come to him, which in turn allows Roddy to go above him and snatch it.

    Again, why is there any doubt?

  12. cletusvandam says: Oct 1, 2012 3:54 PM

    So the safety who got burnt is getting benched, but the crybaby QB who fumbled when all he had to do is fall over is safe. I see.
    I wonder if the buffoon who took out the full page ad declaring Carolina superbowl champions can get his money back.

  13. dzor22 says: Oct 1, 2012 3:56 PM

    The reason Nakumura was back peddling was because he and the other safety were not playing far enough back in that situation. Why? ‘Because no one thought Ryan could throw that ball as far as he did. This was annother reason Coach Rivera chose to punt instead of going for the first. Keep underestimating Ryan and keep calling that a ‘jump ball’. It’ll make you feel better about your ‘L’.

  14. originalsteelcurtain says: Oct 1, 2012 5:35 PM

    Rivera should have gone for 4th and 1 and sealed the game.

    Whether Nakamura or someone else was to be the goat…I knew they were done when they chose to punt.

    Underdog, on the road, against an unbeaten team…how do you not go for it Ron?

  15. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Oct 2, 2012 9:23 AM

    Rivera you may want to ponder changing safeties before ownership ponders changing coaches.

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