Other than the cornerback spots, the Carolina Panthers don’t have a lot of vacancies on their depth chart.
But one of the other position battles – for the punting job – figures to last the entire preseason, according to Panthers coach Ron Rivera.
Veteran Mike Scifres and former CFL standout Swayze Waters are vying to replace Brad Nortman, who signed with Jacksonville during the offseason. Both are coming off injuries: Scifres battled through a knee injury in his non-kicking leg last season in San Diego, and Waters missed most of last season in Toronto with a hip injury.
Scifres and Waters had their first chances of camp Friday, and Rivera said there will be plenty more. Both punters had the benefit of kicking with a strong wind at their backs, and each boomed a couple of high, spiraling punts.
But Rivera indicated their performance in the preseason games will determine who lands the job.
“To me it’s really about game. Once we get into the game situations they’re both going to get a lot of opportunities to kick,” Rivera said. “And we’ll take it all the way up to the end unless one guy establishes himself very, very early in the preseason. But for the most part they’re all going to have opportunities. The two of them are going to kick all the way through.”