Steve Smith set a personal milestone at Soldier Field on Sunday, passing Muhsin Muhammad for the most yards ever by a Panthers receiver. Smith passed Muhammad’s career mark of 9,255 yards on a 53-yard pass from rookie QB Cam Newton. By the time the day was over, Smith had reached 9,414 career yards.
“This is an honor and a privilege, and I enjoy it,” Smith told Panthers.com, “I’m excited.”
Smith is commonly criticized by fans for his showboating after catches, but Smith certainly never appears to be full of himself when speaking about his team. He’s expressed great optimism about the seasons to come, and has had nothing by glowing things to say about Newton to the media. Smith had almost single-handedly taken Newton under his wing this season, and has given him a target to throw to when he needs it the most.
The stats certainly don’t lie, either– Smith has 24 catches for 530 yards in four games– that’s a 22.1 yard per catch average. For a rookie QB to have that is something that isn’t seen too often, and will almost certainly be a relationship that the Panthers will continue to hope develops. Once they’re completely comfortable with each other, a threat will certainly be there for the passing game to blow open defenses.
With the Panthers in a 1-3 hole early in the season, however, the relationship between Newton and Smith will have to develop rather quickly.
If any receiver can take it upon themselves to do so, though, Smith would be a safe bet.