“Panthers Are Better At Wide Receiver”

September 6th, 2014

cam newtonFor some reason, Bucs fans take great comfort in the Panthers, and their 26th-ranked passing attack last year, losing the meat of their receiving corps, 35-year-old Steve Smith, Brandon LaFell and Ted Ginn, Jr.

Who knew LaFell and Ginn were stars? Joe must have missed the memo.

But Joe hears it over and over, widespread Panthers doubting because they lost their receivers and didn’t replace them with much.

Well, longtime Panthers beat writer David Newton thinks the opposite could be true — that the Panthers have upgraded their receiving corps. Newton explained in a BSPN preview of the Bucs-Panthers game on Sunday.

You think [Steve] Smith was the best player in franchise history?  I truly believe he is, although he probably would have a hard time believing me after what I’m about to say: The Panthers are better at wide receiver today than they were this time a year ago.

It’s nothing against Smith, but he’s 35 and admittedly not a true No. 1 receiver anymore. First-round draft pick Kelvin Benjamin is. At 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, he is the big target quarterback Cam Newton hasn’t had. Benjamin is deceptively fast, too. But the biggest thing is he makes plays, whether it’s over the middle in traffic or on the outside. If teams double-cover him, that will open things up for tight ends Greg Olsen and Ed Dickson in the middle. It also will open coverage on Jerricho Cotchery and Jason Avant, a pair of veterans I believe to be more dependable than Brandon LaFell and Ted Ginn Jr. were last year. If the Bucs choose to single-cover Benjamin, Newton will look for him often. I know rookie receivers tend to struggle, but this one has a special feel.

Yes, Cam Newton still has his top, trusty target on the field, Olsen, and rookie Kelvin Benjamin has an awful lot on his shoulders as a No. 1 receiver as a rookie. That further makes the Bucs getting the Panthers in Week 1 a bonus. But Joe would agree that Cotchery and Avant (a combined 84 catches and 12 TDs last year) likely are upgrades to LaFell and Ginn.

Regardless, the Panthers receivers didn’t bring a whole lot to the table last season, so Joe’s not sure what all the sky-is-falling fuss is about when it comes to the NFC South champs.

The Bucs are going to find a way to score second-half points and hit Cam Newton and contain him, three things they couldn’t do last year.

24 Responses to ““Panthers Are Better At Wide Receiver””

  1. BucsQcCity Says:

    Stick to double Benjamin and let Olsen get destroyed in the middle.

  2. Brian Says:

    The turnover on offensive line and in the secondary are their two biggest concerns.

    That said, Benjamin is very raw. He’s not a good route runner and Verner is savvy enough to make him pay for it by reading his route and jumping it.

  3. Snook Says:

    I can see this guy’s point but in the end, Carolina is basically just swapping out Benjamin for Steve Smith.

    Sorry, but Carolina isn’t “better” at WR.

    That’s a joke.

    And let’s keep in mind that Benjamin only had ONE good year in college. Historically, those guys don’t turn out well in the NFL.

  4. Tom Edrington Says:

    Some folks don’t realize Kelvin Benjamin is going to be 24 years old soon, some guys have been the in the league three years by the time they are that old.

    Faster than he looks because of his height. No Randy Moss kinda speed but still fast enough to run past a corner with a bad hammy and one who missed the entire preseason.

    Just sayin…….

  5. DB55 Says:

    Benjamin vs Jenkins. Need I say more?

  6. jo_mama Says:

    I have the bucs winning the first 2 games on their way to a great start and then finishing with a 6-10 record.

    Lovie gets 2 more wins than schanio.

    However he would have gotten to 8-8 if he would have kept Michael Williams.

  7. BrianDorry55 Says:

    Bahahaa! Mike Williams is your deal breaker huh? We will see how much he helps the Bills on their way to a top 3 pick in next years draft.

  8. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    I had Kelvin Benjamin on my mock, so I hope he does well…just not against us.

    I think Mike Evans may turn out to be the better WR. I hope. Hard to say until we see both play.

  9. BuccaneerBonzai Says:


    I think jo_mamma is wrong, but Mike Williams is a decent enough WR. You would admit that IF you could set personal feeling aside.

  10. INDYbucsfan Says:

    Exactly!!! Avant is not a bad receiver and cotchery isn’t either. There is a reason they let underwood go. I don’t expect much out of Benjamin yet but by the end of the year I think the pussies receivers are going to be an asset to the team rather than a liability

  11. BrianDorry55 Says:

    Mike Williams is talented in certain areas of his game. He has fantastic ball skills. Personal feelings aside, I don’t believe that he cares enough about the game of football to ever take his game to the next level. Mike Evans may not be as good of a receiver on Day 1 as Mike Williams was capable of being at times, but his ceiling is WAY higher. He’s a 900-yard a year #2 receiver…he will never be anything more than that. We can do better.

  12. Keith Says:

    We’d still be talking Dunkaneers, if Mike Williams was here. The guy walked on at Syracuse. Nuff said.

  13. Louis Friend Says:

    Benjamin doesn’t require a double team. He’s not fast enough to beat a corner. Whoever is covering him needs good technique and positioning and they should so just fine. Don’t forget that while he’s tall, his hands are suspect and his. 40 time is 4.61. He’s not going to beat anyone downfield.

  14. WobbleBuc Says:

    So let me get this straight Avant and Cotchery’s combined 84 receptions and 12 TDs are upgrades to Ginn and Lafell’s combined 85 receptions and 10 TDs? 2 TDs can be a big difference but Cotchery was responsible for 10 of them, good luck to him doing that again. Avant was a part of that high flying eagles attack and grabbed a measly 2 TDs.

    I could see saying that by seasons end it’s a wash but the way Cam and the WRs have looked in the preseason, they need reps. Something he wouldn’t have needed with Smith, LaFell and Ginn had they returned. So what fans are excited about is the fact that Cam is going into his first game of the season against the Bucs with his top 3 WRs that he has basically only thrown to in practice. That could lead to wrong routes and mis-communications based on sheer newness that could lead to numerous turnovers. That’s exciting if you ask me!

  15. bigpoppabuc Says:

    The beauty in this defense is the emphasis on turnovers. These Panthers receivers will get their catches early, but they will get smacked everytime they do. Ball security becomes a factor. This defense WANTS Old Cotchery and Avant the catch it in front of them…. By the third quarter it’ll be all alligator arms and pic sixes.

    Not scared of these receivers at all. In fact, I’d stick Banks on Benjamin, Verner on the other side and Jenkins in the slot. Goldson is going to be roaming around all game just waiting for his opportunities. Let David spy Cam and we’ll have at least three turnovers when all is said and done.

  16. Joe Says:

    The beauty in this defense is the emphasis on turnovers.

    Schiano’s defense emphasized turnovers as well. Please don’t tell Joe that was beautiful. 🙁

    Joe’s trying to think of a team that doesn’t emphasize turnovers.

  17. buc4lyfe Says:

    Nobody is double teaming him because he’s tall, we practiced against two tall receivers since training camp began. I expect that talk from a LONGTIME beat writer so this is no news because while they actually upgraded i just can’t see how that was so hard to do with what they had last year and we’re not worried enough about that upgrade, I can’t wait to see can start pouting at press conferences again

  18. Paul Says:

    This article is dripping with Carolina homerism. Terrible write up.

  19. Lou. Says:

    @Louis Friend —

    Steve White had a fine pre-draft analysis on Benjamin. White observed that Benjamin is slow getting up to speed — but once he starts running his speed is actually good — looks like a 4.4 man after the first ten yards. White graded him highly, and thought he could work for the Bucs if we traded down.

    My private concern about tomorrow is whether the Bucs can handle a downhill running attack. That, not a Star Wars passing game, is the Panthers’ bread-and-butter. Sure, we think our defense is much improved in scheme and personnel. But Cam hurt us running last year, and the linebacking crew got winded in both second halves.

  20. SAMCRO Says:

    Well, at least longtime Panthers beat writer David Newton is being positive about his team unlike some of our own writers who think somehow it is vogue to be negative nancy’s all the time.

  21. Bill Says:

    I believe the Panthers are better at wide receiver. Cotchery and Benjamin should be better than Smith and LaFell. Avant and Ginn at no. 3 is a wash.
    The Dickson hype at TE is a joke.

  22. Joe Says:

    Well, at least longtime Panthers beat writer David Newton is being positive about his team unlike some of our own writers who think somehow it is vogue to be negative nancy’s all the time.

    Not supposed to be “positive” or “negative.” Supposed to call them as you see them.

    Public relations staffs are paid to be “positive.”

    If all you want is positive, Buccaneers.com should be your home page. You will never, ever see a discouraging word published there.

  23. JT Says:

    Verner vs Benjamin. Verner being a pro bowl veteran should SCHOOL some rookie in his first real game. I also cant wait for Goldson to “welcome” this kid to the NFfreakingL! Our D has been desinged to stop a run n gun offense like Carolina. Mccown wont torch these guys but he will do enough to pull out a 17-14 win.

  24. Feelthepewterpower Says:

    Their online isn’t good, so it doesn’t matter, especially since Cam tends to hold onto the ball too long. Cochery isn’t bad but he’s up in age, but no v jax.