Considering the less-than-ideal circumstances he’s faced this season, Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero has pulled off quite a few tricks in fielding a respectable unit. But there may not be enough magic to pull this one off . . .
On Tuesday, the team officially signed linebacker Blake Martinez out of retirement and onto their practice squad. The 29-year-old, who threw up the deuces on the NFL in the middle of last season to go deal in the Pokémon trading card business, hasn’t played a snap since Nov. 6, 2022.
“Well, he’s really smart so he’s already got the calls down and all that,” he replied. “We’ll see about Thursday. Not quite sure about that. It’s kinda hard to tell in a walk-through, physically. But in terms of the mental part—pretty sharp.”
The two shared a sideline in 2016, when Evero was a defensive quality control coach for the Green Bay Packers. He then gave a little insight into how the Panthers brought Martinez back in.
“Really, it was Scott [Fitterer] and his staff that did a great job doin’ the research,” Evero said. “Diggin’ into him, what he’s done the last couple years. Obviously, myself, Coach [Pete] Hansen, Coach Dom [Capers] have experience with him. So, that helps. But, yeah, it’s been a collaborative effort.”
The Panthers will be without at least two more linebackers in Week 10. Brian Burns has already been ruled out by head coach Frank Reich while Chandler Wooten was placed on injured reserve this morning.