It has been almost three years since Kurt Coleman was a starting safety in the NFL but that looks like that will change with the Carolina Panthers in 2015. Associated Press’ Steve Reed tweeted on Monday that it appeared Coleman had won the starting safety spot over Tre Boston.
This really shouldn’t be a huge surprise as Coleman has been playing with the first team for most of training camp and started the game against the Buffalo Bills next to Roman Harper. Earlier this month, I wrote about the idea of Coleman starting for the Panthers and believe it is going to be a huge boost for this secondary.
The six-year veteran at one time was a highly productive safety in Sean McDermott’s defense when both were with the Philadelphia Eagles. Between 2011 and 2012, Coleman registered 171 tackles, six interceptions and nine passes defended. He is a well-rounded safety that does a good job playing up near the line as well as dropping into coverage and forcing turnovers. The combination of Coleman and Harper will provide a veteran group that will plenty of experience between the two of them.
Now if Coleman continues to play well and is officially named the starter, this is going to raise the question of what it means for Tre Boston. Well in the short term it will mean that Boston will be regulated to backing up Harper and Coleman. This is not what many expected for the second-year safety.
Last year, Boston stepped in as the starting safety when the Panthers released Thomas Decoud. The rookie had to learn on the job and played well. Even though he won’t be the starter this upcoming season, I would expect he will still be involved in this defense. Boston is going to be able to step in and take some of the workload off Harper, who is getting up there in age at 32. This should help to keep everyone fresh over the length of the season.
One thing that is clear is that the Panthers are going to have a very different secondary this upcoming season, one that has a wealth of experience. Last year, the Panthers only had one player (Harper) who had more than three years of experience in the NFL in their starting secondary. That won’t be the case in 2015 with Coleman and cornerback Charles Tillman expected to be in the starting lineup Week 1.
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