Last year was a struggle for the Carolina Panthers special teams and the front office has been working hard this offseason to improve this group. One of those changes was to name Bruce DeHaven as the team’s special teams coordinator.
Those plans changed rather quickly at the beginning of May when DeHaven needed to take a leave of absence to address a medical issue. The team brought in Russ Purnell to fill in for DeHaven during his absence, which looks to be coming to an end next week according to The Charlotte Observer’s Joseph Person.
Purnell has been filling in for DeHaven the past few weeks at mini-camp but a return of DeHaven shouldn’t result in to many changes. Coach Ron Rivera said: “It’s been funny because sitting in the meetings and watching some of his mannerisms, watching some of the things that he says, very similar to what Bruce was doing or the direction he was headed.”
When DeHaven returns to the team he will return as special teams coordinator, but Purnell will remain with the organization as an advisor. The combinatory of DeHaven and Purnell will give the Panthers over 50 years of experience coaching special teams.
The front office has added a number of players who are expected to be key contributors to a turnaround for the special teams from a season ago. Wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. and running back Jordan Todman are experienced return men while linebacker Jason Trusnik was a captain on special teams for the Miami Dolphins a season ago.
The Panthers have added a great deal of talent on the field and experience on the sideline. This combination should pay great dividends for the team in 2015.
Brandon Croce is the Lead Publisher for PantherInsider.com. You can find him on Twitter @BrandonCroce.