The Carolina Panthers had major issues on special teams last season and those have persisted during the team’s 2-7 start to this season.

That is what Panthers coach Ron Rivera used to explain his decision to fire special teams coach Brian Murphy a day after Carolina allowed a 76-yard punt return for a touchdown in a home loss to the Denver Broncos.

Murphy will be replaced by Richard Rodgers, who was added as an assistant during the offseason.

The biggest thing I look to see us improve in some of our production numbers,” Rivera said. “I told coach Rodgers what I wanted. I wanted things simplified. I wanted to come back to fundamental basics and that’s the direction we’re going to head right now.”

According to the report by Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer, the move was Rivera’s alone and it came with a blessing from owner Jerry Richardson. Rivera is trying to get things turned around with speculation he could be in trouble after the Panthers dismissed general manager Marty Hurney last month.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune