SPARTANBURG Panthers cornerback Captain Munnerlyn had a good view of Josh Normans four interceptions Tuesday Munnerlyn was on the field for most of them.
Munnerlyn wasnt in his usual spot opposite Chris Gamble, but was aligned inside at nickel back while Norman played the other corner. Munnerlyn said he enjoyed playing nickel, but doesnt want that to be his only role.
Its actually fun being a nickel. You get to disguise it a little, trick the quarterback, get a couple sacks. Im having fun there, Munnerlyn said Wednesday following the final practice at Wofford College.
Im a starter. Thats what I want to do. Im going to be the starter, no question, Munnerlyn added. When its third down and they need me to move inside, Ill move inside.
Munnerlyn, 5-8 and 190 pounds, started 14 games last year, giving up more completions than any corner in the league, according to the statistical site Pro Football Focus. Despite the emergence of Norman, a fifth-round pick from Coastal Carolina, Munnerlyn said he is not a part-time player.
I know weve got other corners stepping up, making plays, Munnerlyn said. But I have real high standards for myself and I dont plan on letting this job go any time soon.
REMAINING CONSISTENT: Coach Ron Rivera reiterated the same goal as last week for the Panthers second preseason game against the Miami Dolphins. He wants his team to avoid injuries and be consistent on both sides of the ball, particularly on defense.
We cant have the ups and downs. We have to make plays when we get the opportunity to. I think if I had to say defensively, I want to see us separate from blockers quicker and be better tacklers, Rivera said. Obviously I want to see us make the plays we need to in critical situations. On third down, we need to be better on defense.
NEBLETT STILL OUT: Defensive tackle Andre Neblett missed his third straight practice Wednesday with an undisclosed medical issue. Rivera said he couldnt elaborate on Nebletts condition.
Calls to Nebletts agent were not returned.
The third-year player out of Temple played in 12 games last year and started four. He tallied 21 tackles, 2.5 sacks and recovered two fumbles. Hes suspended for the first four regular-season games for violating the league policy on performance-enhancing substances.
• With backup running back Tauren Poole sidelined with a head injury sustained Tuesday, the Panthers signed running back Armond Smith to the squad and waived offensive tackle Andre Ramsey.
Smith was signed by the Panthers in May, and he trained with the team until he was cut July 26, just before training camp began. Ramsey was brought in Friday to help with the depth at offensive line after Lee Ziemba, who is facing knee surgery, was waived.
• After the team broke the huddle for the last time in Spartanburg, position players walked to different parts of the field and huddled together for a few minutes to talk before breaking and going home.
• Linebacker James Anderson left position drills early, jogging along the sideline and yelling that he had technical difficulties. Anderson was seen emerging from the portable bathroom soon after.
• When asked what hell miss most about Spartanburg, offensive tackle Jordan Gross said his golf cart. Several members of the offensive line have been using a golf cart called Heavy Hauler to get around Woffords campus. I imagine Im going to have to walk and that will get old in a hurry, he said.
Three questions with:
DT Ron Edwards
Q: This is your 12th training camp, how has the camp experience evolved for you over the years?
Its gotten a little easier obviously since my rookie year and two-a-days. But the focus hasnt changed, the effort has not changed and the work ethic is about the same.
Q: What was going through your mind before the game Saturday? And as you get in this stage of your career, do you appreciate those things a little more?
Just excitement to get out there and put your hands on people and do what you have to do to win. It kind of soaks in and you absorb the surroundings. It probably means a little more.
Q: Coming off your triceps injury last year, did you feel like you were able to provide that physical presence in the middle despite your limited minutes Saturday?
It felt good while I was in there. I dont think I was tested as much as I wanted to be as far as stopping the run. There was a lot of passing while I was in there. But I want to keep going and getting in there and see what I can do.
GETTING TO KNOW:
LB David Nixon
Height: 6-3 Weight: 225
College: Brigham Young
NFL experience: Nixon is with his fifth team in four seasons after the Panthers signed him July 27. His most extensive action came with St. Louis last year, when Nixon played in eight games with the Rams, making seven tackles on special teams and forcing a fumble.
The scoop: Nixon is a smart player who set a Mountain West Conference record with 43 tackles for loss at BYU. The Raiders signed Nixon as an undrafted free agent in 2009 and he appeared in three games with Oakland as a rookie. Nixon, who missed a day this week with an elbow injury, is a longshot to make the Panthers 53-man roster.
Bet you didnt know: Nixon served a two-year church mission in Quito, Ecuador, beginning in 2004.