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Notebook: Brian Burns getting more attention

Brian Burns

CHARLOTTE — Panthers defensive end Brian Burns is no stranger to attention.

And now that he's getting more of it from opposing blockers, he's forced to adjust.

Burns has been held without a sack the last two weeks, as the pace of pass-rush has slowed down for the team as a whole. They had 14 sacks in the first three games, but just two in the last two.

Burns had a sack in each of the first three, but hasn't gotten one the last two games. Teammate Haason Reddick's two sacks against the Eagles were the only two since Week 3.

Defensive coordinator Phil Snow said he had a conversation with Burns about it this week, and believes that the situation will correct itself with time.

"Brian and I talked about that yesterday. And the flow of the game, the things they're doing, he just hasn't had the opportunity like Haason has, based on formation and backfield sets and those type of things," Snow said. "I think his productivity will get better as we go.

"I looked into it and watched the tapes. I don't think it's anything Brian's doing; it's just based on formation."

Snow said teams were sending tight ends and extra blockers his way more often, to try to slow him down on his way to quarterbacks.

Burns didn't seem worried about it when asked about the brief drought Thursday.

"A concern? Not really. Something I've got to adjust to? Yeah," he said. "At times, they put a tight end on me, just to slow me down. They've been cutting me a lot recently, back chips. Like any regular person. Certain things you've got to adjust to.

"It just alters your angle, messes with your head. It's my job to see through that and know they put it there just to mess me up. But it's my job to go full speed and attack it how I would if he wasn't there; I'll be good."

While Burns and Reddick have joked about their golf-cart bet for the team's sack title (Reddick's up 6.5 to 3.0), Burns said it's not as if his teammate is being singled all the time.

"I feel like he gets his fair share of chips just like I do," Burns said. "But then you get your opportunity; you have to capitalize on it. So anytime I see a one-on-one, and I don't capitalize on it, I feel a little disappointed. But I just have to make those opportunities count."

— The Panthers will have a new look at punter this weekend.

With Joseph Charlton going on injured reserve with a back injury, the Panthers added Ryan Winslow to the practice squad. The plan is to elevate him to the active roster so he can punt against the Vikings Sunday.

Winslow has had a couple of stints with the Cardinals, and special teams coordinator Chase Blackburn said his experience as a holder for kicker Zane Gonzalez there was a factor.

"They worked together there, so they've done some stuff. There's a decent amount of familiarity there," Blackburn said. "We spent time here pre-practice in the stadium and during walk-throughs and stuff, getting the mechanics of it, and going through it. Same with the punt mechanics.

"He's a pro. He has a great attitude and an eagerness to learn."

— Winslow had to duck out of a recent day job to come here to work out for the Panthers.

He said he was working for his uncle's athletic gear company in Philadelphia when he was between tryouts for teams.

So while he felt like he was showing a bit of a knack for sales during his first few weeks for The Run Around, the chance to come here was a no-brainer. Winslow said he actually forgot to tell his uncle he signed, so his numbers might be down this week.

You get the feeling when he sees his nephew in an NFL uniform Sunday, he'll be OK with it.

— Having to adjust on the fly is part of the charter for special teams coaches, so a new punter on Thursday is the kind of thing you have to get used to.

But Blackburn has to have backup plans for his backup plans.

Asked Thursday who his backups were at the core specialist spots, he said Winslow could kick, and Gonzalez could punt if need be. (The Panthers saw this happen in the opener, when Jets kicker Matt Ammendola had to punt because of injury.)

Asked who his emergency kicker was, he said backup quarterback P.J. Walker had done it in the past.

— The Panthers adjusted the practice squad again Thursday afternoon, signing safety Sheldrick Redwine. A former fourth-round pick of the Browns out of Miami, he was most recently on the Jets practice squad.

Redwine has some big-game experience, having picked off Ben Roethlisberger in a Browns wild card round win over the Steelers last January.

To make room for him on the practice squad, they released veteran Doug Middleton, who was signed Wednesday.

View photos from Thursday's practice as the Panthers prepare to face the Vikings on Sunday in Week 6.

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