The biggest loss the Carolina Panthers suffered this offseason not named Josh Norman was punter Brad Nortman, who was a free agent and eventually signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Panthers brought two punters in earlier this offseason as potential replacements by signing Swayze Waters and Michael Palardy.
The organization didn't feel confident with the current players on the roster and released Palardy and brought in the 35-year-old Mike Scifres, according to the team site. The veteran punter was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in 2003 and played 13 seasons for the team before being released earlier this year. He has missed only three games in his entire career with the Chargers.
In his career, he has 756 punts and averaged 45.2 yards per punt and 38.8% of his punts have landed inside the 20-yard line with only 8.1% punts ending in a touchback.
"I was extremely excited when I got the call, because this was a situation that I had followed, knowing some of the players and coaches and seeing Brad (Nortman) go to Jacksonville," Scifres said. "This was a definitely a team I wanted to play for."
While Scifres has to be considered the favorite, this is still very much an open competition and one that Waters can still win. The punter position is not one that is typically talked about but is very important in the flow of the game in terms of field position. A strong punter can keep offenses pinned deep in their end and with this defense, the opposition should have a tough time putting points on the board.