Originally written on Inside The Panthers  |  Last updated 11/15/11
The Panthers made a change at kick returner last month in part because they wanted to see what rookie Kealoha Pilares could do. But the new kickoff rules have made it difficult to do much of an evaluation. Pilares, the diminutive receiver from Hawaii, lined up deep seven times Sunday against the Titans. And seven times he either caught the ball too deep in the end zone to bring it out, or watched it sail out of the end zone for touchbacks. Pilares is averaging just 20 yards per return, with a long of 27. But thanks to the rule that moved the kickoff spot up 5 yards, Pilares has had a small sample size with only 10 returns in five games. "Almost every one's getting kicked out of the end zone," Pilares said Monday. "You've just got to focus more (because) you never know when you're going to return a kick." Mike Goodson had 11 returns and a 22.7-yard average in the first four games before getting benched. He was beginning to get back into Ron Rivera's good graces when he injured his ha...
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