Panthers sticking with young returners

October, 20, 2011
10/20/11
1:11
PM ET
Part of the reason Ron Rivera was hired to coach the Carolina Panthers was his willingness to embrace the team’s youth movement.

That wasn’t just a ruse to get the job. Rivera’s sticking by his plans. More accurately, as Joseph Person notes, Rivera’s sticking by the plans laid out by the front office in his decision to stick with Armanti Edwards and Kealoha Pilares as his punt and kickoff returners.

You can lump the wishes of owner Jerry Richardson in with the wishes of the front office. Edwards and Pilares haven’t done much in the return game and the Panthers have a pair of experienced returners in Mike Goodson and Captain Munnerlyn.

But Rivera isn’t going to turn to the past. Unlike predecessor John Fox, he wants to give the young guys a chance. Makes sense because the Panthers invested draft picks in Edwards and Pilares and the front office believes both can be explosive players.

They’re going to keep getting chances.

"The thing you would hope is somewhere along the lines they're going to pop it," Rivera said.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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