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Panthers’ Captain Munnerlyn not guaranteed a start vs. Bucs

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DAVID T. FOSTER III - dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com
Carolina Panthers starting cornerback Captain Munnerlyn (41) was victimized twice on long passes by the Miami Dolphins, and on Friday, Carolina coach Ron Rivera said he was not sure who would start at cornerback Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

After watching starting cornerback Captain Munnerlyn give up a pair of long completions to Miami wideout Mike Wallace last week, Panthers coach Ron Rivera said he doesn’t know who the starting corners will be Sunday against Tampa Bay.

Rivera would only say Munnerlyn would be the starting nickelback against the Buccaneers, and coaches are still deciding what combination of corners to use.

“We’re going to play a guy who’s had the best week,” Rivera said Friday. “We’re going to talk about it. We’ll watch the tape from (Friday) and we’ll make our decisions.”

Munnerlyn has started the first 11 games, but struggled against the Dolphins when he sat on two routes against Wallace, who got behind Munnerlyn for receptions of 53 and 57 yards.

Undrafted rookie Melvin White has started the past five games at the other corner, but had a rough night against Tom Brady in a Monday night win over New England on Nov. 18.

Veteran Drayton Florence said the competition this week was “wide open,” adding that practice squad corner De’Andre Presley even received a few first-team reps.

Rivera said he wanted to give younger corners Josh Thomas and Josh Norman a chance, but would not be more specific.

“You want to give the guys something other than to just sit there and say, ‘Well, I’m a backup,’” Rivera said. “Josh Thomas did a great job last week (when) he got an opportunity. Josh Norman has been working hard. He’s going to get a chance, as well.”

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