Carolina Panthers Notes: Munnerlyn slowed by hamstring injury
Max Henson Staff Writer
CHARLOTTE – Captain Munnerlyn missed Wednesday’s practice for personal reasons, but the cornerback did not participate on Thursday due to a hamstring injury suffered against the Philadelphia Eagles.
“It was sore from the game,” head coach Ron Rivera said. “He actually came out for a couple plays during the game. Sherrod (Martin) went in and worked the nickel position for us and Captain worked back in.”
“He moved around today during the walkthrough periods, and it didn’t look bad at all.”
Running back Jonathan Stewart (ankle) did not practice for the second consecutive day.
“I’m just taking it day-by-day,” Stewart said. “It’s an ankle sprain. I just have to treat it.”
Added Rivera: “It’s tough. (He’s) a running back, a guy that relies on his ankles and his feet. There is obviously concern. We’ll see tomorrow morning.”
WILLIAMS READY: Stewart’s uncertain status for Sunday’s game at Kansas City hasn’t changed DeAngelo Williams’ approach to what could be his first start since Week 5.
“No difference at all. Maybe your number is called a little bit more, but no difference. I’ve still got the same mindset,” Williams said. “I’ve only been down a few games. I started this season starting. It’s no different in preparation. I’m going to continue attacking the game like I always have, whether I’m coming off the bench or in the starting lineup.”
Stewart said his longtime running mate in the backfield has “handled things real well” since his role was reduced early in the season.
“He’s a competitor,” Stewart said. “We’re players, and we just have to play. That’s all we can control. That’s the mindset we have as a running back group.”
OFFENSE ENERGIZED: Quarterback Cam Newton’s confidence and energy in the huddle was infectious in Philadelphia on Monday night.
“He’s a lot of fun to have in the huddle when he’s on like he is right now,” left tackle Jordan Gross said. “When he’s smiling and having fun, everyone is smiling and having fun.”
Carolina’s offense had a lot of fun during the 30-22 victory over the Eagles, and both Rivera and Newton feel the offense is beginning to hit its stride late in the season.
Newton and the Panthers now hope to carry that momentum to earn back-to-back wins for the first time this season.
“It’s the old saying, ‘What is already understood shouldn’t have to be said,’” Newton explained. “If we get this win, everybody knows what it will do for our morale and we just need to keep it going.”
PUNTING POTENTIAL: Rookie punter Brad Nortman has been battling inconsistency of late.
Nortman had just a 31.2-yard net average on five punts against the Eagles, and he currently ranks last league-wide in net average.
“He’s a guy we drafted for a reason,” Rivera said. “He’s growing and getting better and better. He’s just got to understand he has to start getting it done. He’s obviously being evaluated every day like everybody else. He’s just got to go out and kick the football. He’s capable of it, we see it every day.”