Panthers cornerback Captain Munnerlyn is usually a happy-go-lucky guy. But the fourth-year player is not pleased about losing his starting job to rookie Josh Norman.
Munnerlyn, who has 23 career starts, has been relegated mostly to the nickel package and special teams with the emergence of Norman, a fifth-round pick from Coastal Carolina.
Its hard to say Im good with it. But its a part of football, Munnerlyn said Monday. I know they need me on special teams. We dont have a gunner that can run down the field and go out there and make a lot of plays. Im rotating at corner, which I really dont like. But Ive got to do it.
Munnerlyn, who gave up more completions than any starting corner last season. shared reps with Norman in Week 1 at Tampa Bay. But facing New Orleans prolific passing attack Sunday, Munnerlyn played inside at nickel while Norman stayed at the No. 2 corner spot all game.
Theres still a platoon system going on there though, defensive coordinator Sean McDermott said. Just because we feel theyre both starters. Then along with Chris (Gamble), weve got three starters.
Munnerlyn is in the final year of his rookie contract, and believes he will do enough to merit an extension.
If I go out there and keep making plays, the contract will come, he said.
But his opportunities to make them might be limited.
I want to be on the field. I feel like I can help my team win. I feel like me being out there every play, I give my team a better chance to win because Im going to compete every play and Im going to give it my all, he said. Not saying (Norman) is not. Im just saying I know what I can do.
Injury update: Linebacker Thomas Davis and tackle Byron Bell are nursing injuries and their status for Thursdays game against the New York Giants remains uncertain.
Davis is dealing with a hamstring issue, and Bell suffered a sprained ankle. X-rays on Bells ankle were negative, but coach Ron Rivera said the second-year offensive lineman was walking gingerly Monday.
Garry Williams replaced Bell late against New Orleans.
Elis coming: Giants quarterback Eli Manning passed for 510 yards Sunday in a come-from-behind victory against Tampa Bay. It was the eighth-highest passing total in league history, 90 yards more than his previous career high.
Four days after the Panthers faced Drew Brees, its a daunting challenge for the defense.
When you win two Super Bowls, I dont care what anybody says, youre talking about an elite quarterback in the NFL, Rivera said. One thing he does very well, he runs the two-minute offense about as good as anybody. Hes got great weapons, and he uses his weapons very well.
Another rarity: Only one other quarterback in the history of the NFL has put up the numbers Cam Newton did Sunday. Against the Saints, he joined Michael Vick as the only quarterbacks to pass for more than 250 yards, have a 125-plus passer rating and rush for at least 70 yards with a touchdown.
Making progress: After a tough regular-season debut against Tampa Bay, rookie guard Amini Silatolu had more success against the Saints.
Rivera said after talking with his offensive coaches that Silatolu had made a big leap this week.
He came in and played really hard. He did a real, nice job, Rivera said. Theres some real nice, physical shots when you watch the tape.
Game ball: Wideout Steve Smith gave a game ball to linebacker Kenny Onatolu, who missed practice last week and was inactive for the Saints game after the death of his mother. Onatolu said he was overwhelmed by the support of his new team.
Besides Smiths gesture, the Panthers sent flowers and defensive coaches texted Onatolu throughout the week.
I didnt expect all that, said Onatolu, signed as a free agent during the offseason. Im not a star player. Im one of those special teams guys, and they showed me a lot of love.
Arrive early: Panthers officials are encouraging fans attending the Giants game and every home game to arrive at Bank of America Stadium 15 minutes earlier than in previous years to get through the NFL-mandated screening process.
Many fans were caught in security lines that delayed their entry into the stadium Sunday. This season, the NFL has mandated spectators be checked by handheld metal-detecting wands, adding to the entry time.
Scott Paul, director of stadium operations, said the problem Sunday resulted from many fans arriving at the same time and with the bulk of them attempting to enter the north (Graham Street) gate.
Were working through the process, Paul said. Its new to our folks and its new to our patrons. Its a less invasive procedure but its slower. Were trying to encourage people to come 15 or 20 minutes earlier than in the past.
Paul said approximately 44 percent of spectators enter through the north gate and stadium employees will be outside to encourage fans to enter through other gates with shorter lines.
Staff writer Jonathan Jones contributed.