CHARLOTTE – The Panthers have made some changes in the secondary against Seattle, and defensive coordinator Sean McDermott was pleased with the results.
Cornerback Josh Norman, who started his second game of the season after missing the previous two weeks with a concussion, was particularly impressive.
Norman finished with four tackles, one pass defensed and one interception – which came off a deflection in the Carolina end zone just before halftime.
"There was a level of consistency and then the upward trending spikes," McDermott said. "It was good to see. He's worked extremely hard. I was very encouraged by how he played."
The interception prevented the Seahawks from scoring just before halftime. Norman's well-timed pass breakup on a deep ball down the middle intended for wide receiver Paul Richardson late in the third quarter was a noteworthy play, too.
"He was in really good position," said McDermott, who noted the proper angle taken by safety Thomas DeCoud on the play as well. "That's how it's meant to be played."
Head coach Ron Rivera said the Panthers got what they were hoping for from Norman, calling his performance "a little shot in the arm." The next step for the third-year cornerback is continuing to play at that level week after week.
"Josh has a little swagger to him right now and, hopefully, he can maintain it," Rivera said.
The nickel position underwent change when Charles Godfrey was released last week, and Carolina turned to Colin Jones and James Dockery against the Seahawks.
Jones, who has primarily appeared on special teams and as a reserve safety in two plus seasons with Carolina, made his first career start at nickel and saw action on 14 defensive snaps while Dockery played 31 snaps at nickel.
"I was happy. Those guys did a nice job," McDermott said. "Colin is a very physical player, and he embraces whatever role he's asked to embrace. He popped a couple guys yesterday. I think the guys know what type of player Colin is, and he brings a little bit of an identity to us with his physical play."