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Carolina Panthers

Michael Griffin starting and mentoring

CHARLOTTE – One of the Panthers' newest additions from outside the organization, safety Michael Griffin, is already playing a significant role.

So far in the two games he's played, Griffin has been on the field for 76 defensive snaps. Even with only two weeks in Charlotte learning the playbook, he started Monday night's game versus the Buccaneers and played 58 percent of the snaps.

"Every week I'm learning something different and learning the Panther way," Griffin said Tuesday on Panther Talk. "I have another week this week, and I think I'll get better each and every week."

Monday night against Tampa Bay, he was responsible for five tackles, including one stop against running back Jacquizz Rodgers behind the line of scrimmage for a 1-yard loss.

But the 10-year, two-time Pro Bowl safety was not brought to Carolina solely for his on-field production. He provides the most experience to a secondary room that had an average age of 25 years before he arrived. Griffin has helped fellow veteran Kurt Coleman guide the group.

"It's a lot of young guys," Griffin said. "Something you can love about the group -- they're willing to stay. They're willing to learn each and every morning. Coach (Steve) Wilks is after us early in the morning. Meetings start at 7:30, but we're there at 7 a.m. going over technique, or staying after while everybody else is leaving, just trying to learn the ins-and-outs and trying to teach the younger guys."

Across the NFL, veterans at different position groups take it upon themselves to tutor young protégé's, and that is no different in the Panthers' locker room. Griffin does it as a way of paying it forward.

"Some days I stay after with the younger guys and work on little techniques," Griffin said. "I tell them each and every day that it's all going to come down to a game of technique. When it comes down to who's a better athlete, technique always overcomes that. You try to help the younger guys out. The older guys helped me out when I came into the league. It just goes from there."

One of those people Griffin alludes to is Marcus Robertson, one of his secondary coaches in Tennessee during his first NFL season. In addition to making him a better player on the field, Robertson also impacted the safety's approach to film study.

"One thing he'd do when I was a young guy was he would pick out three plays every week," Griffin said. "He'd say, 'You see these formations? This is your opportunity to make a play on the ball.' In 2008, I ended up with seven interceptions. He showed me that each and every time you watch film, you've got to pick out three plays and when they run those plays, they're opportunities to make a play on the ball."

With so many years of experience under his belt, Griffin understands what it takes to be successful in the back end. And he's confident the Panthers' growing pains will eventually pay off.

"I feel like the future is very bright for these young guys," Griffin said. "I know it's not showing with the scores, but it's coming. I guarantee it's coming."


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