Originally posted on Fox Sports Carolinas  |  Last updated 11/12/12
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Panthers special teams coordinator Brian Murphy on Monday became the latest casualty of Carolina's disappointing season. Coach Ron Rivera announced the Panthers (2-7) fired Murphy one day after Carolina surrendered a 76-yard punt return for a touchdown to Trindon Holliday in Sunday's 36-14 loss to the Denver Broncos. Rivera said he has promoted assistant special teams coach Richard Rodgers to coordinator. Rodgers, in his first season in Carolina, was a college teammate of Rivera's at Cal. Rivera said the decision was made because of "philosophical differences and productivity." Earlier this year, Panthers owner Jerry Richardson fired general manager Marty Hurney after the team lost its fifth straight game. Hurney has yet to be replaced, but the team has hired former New York Giants GM Ernie Accorsi to serve as a consultant to lead the search for Hurney's replacement. "This is a production-based business and in the end winning and losing is what it comes down to," Rivera said. The coach said he's looking to see improvement in all special teams areas, which is what he related to Rodgers in a meeting Monday morning. "I told him I wanted things simplified and I wanted to come back to fundamental basics and that's the direction we're going to head right now," Rivera said. Special teams player Colin Jones said he was surprised that Murphy was fired, but believes the Panthers are in good hands with Rodgers, whom players refer to as "Rock." "I respect Rock a lot and he knows his stuff," Jones said. "I think everybody is eager to work with him and everybody respects him and I think we're definitely headed in the right direction with Rock leading us." Murphy came under fire last season as the Panthers allowed three punt returns for touchdowns and struggled in the return game and kicking game. In the offseason the Panthers cut veteran punter Jason Baker and then replaced veteran Olindo Mare with CFL kicker Justin Medlock. Rivera brought in Rodgers to assist Murphy in the offseason, but said he never considered firing Murphy. Carolina's coverage teams rank 18th in the NFL in punt return coverage and first in kickoff return, although the latter is skewed after the Panthers employed a strategy of "popping up" kickoffs the week before against Chicago to take Devin Hester out of the game. Rivera would also like to see improvement in the return game. The Panthers are 31st in the league in punt return average and 21st in kickoff return average. Carolina drafted punt returner Joe Adams in the fourth round to give them what Rivera called "a home-run hitter" in the return game. But he's been a disappointment and has been inactive for the past six games after fumbling twice in Carolina's 36--7 loss to the Giants in Week 3. However, Rivera said he may give Adams another chance when he shows more consistency in practice. "I told him I've been watching him the last few weeks in practice and I want to see consistency every day," Rivera said. "What I don't want to see is two days of catching the ball and the third day of dropping it. I said until I feel that you've gotten to that point, you'll get your opportunity. But I said you will get your opportunity. So you can expect him on the field." Asked if that will come this week, Rivera said, "If he catches the ball like he's supposed to, there's a chance." Rivera said rookie punter Brad Nortman has struggled with his directional punting and that's something that needs to improve. On Sunday, Nortman was supposed to punt the ball near the sidelines, but instead punted it right down the middle where Holliday could return it. Rivera said Carolina's punt coverage team needs to add a marquee gunner who can run down punts. "We need that one gunner, that special guy, and that's what we're trying to find," Rivera said. "Then you can turn your punter loose and say hey, kick is high as you want and as far as you want because we have a guy who is going to get there (to cover). We don't have that right now, to be very frank. .. We have to find that one guy who makes a difference." Medlock's job appears safe despite missing a 43-yard field goal against the Broncos. Medlock is 7 of 9 on field goal attempts his season with one kick blocked. "I'm not as concerned about Justin as much as I am with the punter," Rivera said. Offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski called Murphy a "great guy," but said the Panthers need to stay focused on the task ahead. "It doesn't change anything from the standpoint of what we need to do as far as winning games and what we need to do to improve on offense," Chudzinski said.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Reasons why 76ers got so little for Nerlens Noel emerge

John Lynch: 49ers ‘absolutely’ need to improve at QB position

Report: Raptors trade Jared Sullinger, two future picks to Suns for P.J. Tucker

Report: Pacers halt trade talks, will keep Paul George

James Conner receives clean scan before NFL Combine

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Terry Francona admits health may impact how long he’ll manage

Brett Brown admits Ben Simmons could miss entire season

Cowboys and Cardinals will play in 2017 Hall of Fame Game

John Gillon’s winning shot helps Syracuse students in classroom

Vikings GM won’t commit to Adrian Peterson

Report: Ryan Tannehill’s knee healed, ready for OTAs

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Box Score 2/23: Gillon's buzzer-beater blast for the win

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

The top 10 MLB third basemen heading into spring training

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

Box Score 2/22: Not everyone is happy with the new intentional walk rule

Teams and players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

Nintendo is finally, thankfully embracing sports and eSports

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher who has recorded 10 or more shutouts in a single season

The top 10 MLB third basemen heading into spring training

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher to win the MVP award

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker