Carolina Panthers Must Find A Third Receiving Option

By Ryan Fodell
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Panthers were held to a startling seven points Sunday afternoon in their loss against the Seattle Seahawks. Carolina struggled to establish any sort of a passing game against Seattle’s top-tier secondary, as quarterback Cam Newton managed just 119 yards through the air.

One of the largest concerns for Carolina this offseason was trying to find another legitimate receiver for Newton to throw to other than wideout Steve Smith and tight end Greg Olsen. Free agent receivers Ted Ginn and Domenik Hixon were brought in to provide competition for the  incumbent No. 2 Brandon LaFell. Ginn has always been known for his speed and ability on special teams as a return man, but he has lacked the pass-catching skills needed to be a starting receiver. Hixon had an offseason mired by injuries and has been unable to impress even when healthy.

LaFell, who came out of training camp as the starting receiver opposite Smith, failed to record a single catch Sunday and wasn’t even targeted on any pass attempts. It certainly didn’t help LaFell’s cause that Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman was covering him for most of the game, but nevertheless, Carolina has to expect more from him.

Of Cam Newton’s 23 pass attempts yesterday, 18 of them were thrown to Smith or Olsen. With only two established receiving threats on the team, it will be easy for opponents to key in on them and dare Newton to throw the ball elsewhere. Whether it be LaFell or someone else in the receiving corps, it is undeniable that someone needs to step up and become a go-to guy if Carolina is going to become successful.

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