NFC South: Ryne Robinson

Posted by’s Pat Yasinskas

For the second time today, an NFC South team has cut ties with a player who once was supposed to be the answer in the return game.

This time, it’s the Panthers. They released Ryne Robinson, who was trying to come back from a knee injury suffered during training camp in 2008. This one is sad because Robinson had shown he could handle the job as a rookie in 2007. But he appeared to lose a step after the injury and the Panthers have Mike Goodson (and a couple of other guys with return skills) ready.

Earlier Monday, the Bucs cut Dexter Jackson, a second-round pick last year, who never showed any signs he was ready to play in the NFL.

Around the NFC South

August, 27, 2009
Posted by's Pat Yasinskas

Time for a quick trip through the NFC South headlines.
Atlanta defensive end Jamaal Anderson knows it's now or never.The Saints released Glenn Pakulak, meaning they're going with rookie Thomas Morstead as their punter -- at least for the moment. Recent history has shown the Saints don't have a lot of patience when it comes to kickers and punters. Some of that's justified because they've had some really bad performances. But sometimes a little continuity can help in the long run.Carolina linebacker Jon Beason revealed on his blog that his knee was "whipped'' in last week's preseason game with Miami. Not sure what that means. We could ask coach John Fox for translation, but I'm sure his answer would be, "Well, I'm not a doctor."Carolina receiver/return man Ryne Robinson may have a difficult time landing a roster spot.Troy Aikman offers his thoughts on the Bucs.Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Jim Bates is high on rookie Roy Miller. That's a wonderful thing because the starting tandem of Chris Hovan and Ryan Sims isn't going to scare too many opponents.

Ranking the NFC South return men

June, 17, 2009

Posted by's Pat Yasinskas

It's time for the last player group in our series of NFC South position rankings. We still have coaches and front offices to cover, but the return men will be our next stop.

This category is a little vague because some guys return punts, some return kickoffs and some of the best only do one or the other on a part-time basis. But the criteria I used here basically was to ask myself, "Who would you want making a return with the game on the line?''

1. Clifton Smith, Tampa Bay. The guy made the Pro Bowl as a rookie and didn't even take over the role until around midseason. He's only going to get better.

2. Reggie Bush, New Orleans. The most explosive return man in the division. Is a threat to score any time he touches the ball.

3. Jerious Norwood, Atlanta. Still trying to carve a bigger niche at running back, but he's guaranteed some touches as a return man.

4. Ryne Robinson, Carolina. Robinson's coming back after missing last year with an injury. Carolina has some other decent options in the return game. But Robinson was solid handling punts and kickoffs before the injury.

Posted by's Pat Yasinskas

The Panthers lost Mark Jones on Thursday as the return man signed with the Titans.

Not a big surprise because the Panthers have virtually no salary-cap money to spend right now (thanks to the $17 million franchise tag on Julius Peppers) and they have other options in the return game.

Ryne Robinson, who missed the 2008 season with a knee injury, is expected back. Robinson was Carolina's main return man in 2007 and the Panthers are hoping he can step back into his old job.

One other possibility is running back DeCori Birmingham. With the release of Nick Goings, Birmingham has a chance to make the roster as a backup running back. He also has return skills and that could increase his opportunity to land a spot.

NFC South evening roundup

September, 25, 2008

Posted by's Pat Yasinskas


  • The Bucs will leave it up to kicker Matt Bryant to decide whether he'll play in Sunday's game against the Packers. Bryant's infant son died Wednesday. Safety Sabby Piscitelli is the team's emergency kicker, but it's unlikely he would be the choice if Bryant doesn't play. Shane Andrus is an option if the Bucs bring in a fill-in kicker.
  • Receiver Joey Galloway could miss his second straight game due to injury. Galloway again missed practice, increasing the chances he'll sit out Sunday's game against Green Bay.


  • Rookie left tackle Sam Baker missed practice and has had an assortment of tests for what was believed to have been a concussion. His status for Sunday's game with the Panthers is uncertain. Todd Weiner, get ready to meet Julius Peppers.
  • Receiver Laurent Robinson said he'll miss Sunday's game at Carolina because of a sprained knee. That means Harry Douglas, Brian Finneran and Adam Jennings could get more playing time.


  • Add starting center Jonathan Goodwin to New Orleans' massive injury list. Goodwin didn't practice because of a hamstring injury. Cornerback Aaron Glenn already has been ruled out for Sunday.


  • Carolina is healthier than it's been all season. Return man Ryne Robinson declared himself ready to go and left guard Travelle Wharton, who sat out the last two games with an injury, practiced again.

Panthers make WR Jarrett inactive

September, 21, 2008

Posted by's Pat Yasinskas

MINNEAPOLIS -- Interesting move by the Panthers. With Steve Smith returning from his two-game suspension, Dwayne Jarrett has been declared inactive.


That's not a good sign for Jarrett's career. Drafted in the second round last year, Jarrett was inactive for much of his rookie season. Coaches didn't feel comfortable putting him on the field because he was slow to learn the playbook and there were questions about his work ethic.

But Jarrett drew praise in training camp and the team was hoping he had turned a corner. He got some playing time in the first two games, but produced only two catches. Smith and Muhsin Muhammad presumably will be today's starters with D.J. Hackett as the third receiver.

The injured Ryne Robinson also is on the inactive list. Mark Jones, who is Carolina's primary return man, is the fourth active receiver.

Posted by's Pat Yasinskas

An evening trip through the NFC South:


There was some good news on the injury front as return man/receiver Ryne Robinson practiced. He also got upgraded from "week to week'' to "day to day''. That still doesn't guarantee he'll play Sunday. But, in Fox's world, any admission that there's progress on an injury is significant.


Backup center Alex Stepanovich participated in practice for the first time since suffering a back injury Aug. 11. Stepanovich and linebacker Coy Wire (ankle) are the only players listed on Atlanta's injury report.


Linebacker Derrick Brooks (hamstring) sat out practice and said coach Jon Gruden is enforcing a "gag order'' about the injury. It should be pointed out Brooks was laughing every time he mentioned the gag order. Just a guess here, but I think Brooks placed it on himself. The injury was real enough to force him out of the New Orleans game. But it's not unusual for a veteran to get a day off (Warrick Dunn and Joey Galloway did). Let's wait and see if Brooks practices Thursday or Friday before trying to read too much into this one.


Keep an eye on the hamstring injury that kept strong safety Roman Harper out of practice today. If Harper's going to miss any game time, Josh Bullocks likely would return to the starting lineup. Bullocks lost the free safety job to Kevin Kaesviharn in the preseason. But Kaesviharn likely would switch to strong safety if Harper is out.

Panthers pick up return man Jones

September, 1, 2008

Posted by's Pat Yasinskas


With Ryne Robinson recovering from a knee injury, Ricardo Colclough waived after being charged with driving while impaired and Steve Smith suspended for the first two games, the Panthers didn't have many options in the return game.

They went out and added one today, signing Mark Jones, who recently was cut by San Diego. Ironically, Jones will probably handle return duties in the regular-season opener against the Chargers on Sunday.

Jones previously has spent time with the Giants and Buccaneers. This may be only a short-term solution until Robinson gets healthy. The Panthers would like Robinson to handle all return duties. Rookie running back Jonathan Stewart can return kickoffs, but the Panthers would like to let him concentrate on his primary role. Smith and cornerback Chris Gamble also can return punts, but the Panthers don't want to over-use them.

Panthers scrambling for help at WR

August, 26, 2008

Posted by's Pat Yasinskas

What looked like a position of strength for the Carolina Panthers at the start of training camp suddenly has turned into a huge question mark.

The Panthers suddenly are scrambling for wide receivers, signing Samie Parker on Tuesday. The amazing thing is Parker, who was cut Monday by Denver, actually has a chance to start -- or at least play a significant role -- on opening day. That's not a tribute to Parker, who did have some bright moments in his Kansas City days and can return punts.

Instead, it's an illustration of the plight the Panthers are in at wide receiver. Steve Smith, the team's best receiver, is suspended for the first two regular-season games after a training camp fight with Ken Lucas.

D.J. Hackett, who was signed as a free agent and was supposed to contend for a starting job, has missed most of the preseason with a toe injury. Ryne Robinson, who the Panthers were hoping could be their fifth receiver and primary return man, has been out with a knee injury. It's not known yet if Hackett or Robinson will be healthy in time for the start of the regular season, and Parker's arrival is a sign they may not. The Panthers also lost Jason Carter, who had shown promise as a receiver and return man, to a season-ending knee injury.

That leaves Muhsin Muhammad, Dwayne Jarrett and, now, Parker. Veteran Travis Taylor and a handful of young receivers are on the roster, but they probably won't stick.

Unless Hackett suddenly makes a miraculous recovery, it's looking like Muhammad and Jarrett will be the starters when the Panthers open their season at San Diego. Muhammad's a solid veteran, who can fill a big role in the possession game.

But the Panthers are going to need Jarrett, who had only six catches in a disappointing rookie season to take a huge step forward. Jarrett's physical talent never has been in doubt, but teammates and coaches questioned his work ethic as a rookie. All indications are Jarrett has been working much harder at mentally preparing this year.

The Panthers entered camp hoping Jarrett could be the fourth receiver. For the first two weeks of the regular season, they probably will need him to be a starter.

Posted by's Pat Yasinskas



SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- The Panthers suffered a scare midway through this afternoon's practice when receiver Ryne Robinson collided with safety Nate Salley on a deep pass.

The players appeared to bang knees as they both went for a pass. Salley got up after a few seconds, but Robinson did not. The team's medical personnel appeared to be checking his left knee before taking him off the field on a cart. Coach John Fox said after practice that he didn't have an update on Robinson's condition.

The Panthers have depth at wide receiver, but an injury to Robinson could impact the special teams. Robinson returned 26 kickoffs and 30 punts as a rookie last season. There's no clear-cut replacement if Robinson is out for any length of time.

Rookie running back Jonathan Stewart got some work as a kickoff returner. Defensive back Ricardo Colclough and receiver Jason Carter also have returning experience.