Carolina Panthers: Sleepers on the Roster Need to Step Up

By Patrick Newton
Ted Ginn
Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

On September 15, the Carolina Panthers will play their second game against the Buffalo Bills. Both teams had a lot of issues to work on since they both are coming off a close loss in Week 1. The Panthers and Bills have great players on their teams who have the potential and history of making big plays and changing the outcome of the game. On offense, the Panthers will rely heavily on the usual players such as Cam NewtonSteve Smith and DeAngelo Williams. However, if they expect to walk away with a win, they will need several other players to step up and take control of the game.

The Panthers tight end Greg Olson needs to have a big game on offense. He started off a little slow in Week 1 with a few dropped passes. That isn’t like Olson. Normally he is a sure-handed target for any quarterback. He eventually bounced back and led the team in receiving yards with five receptions for 56 yards. In Week 2, he will need to find space in between the linebackers and make the catch. He is a go-to option for Newton, especially, when Newton is under pressure. They like to run Olson through the middle of the field or with quick down and outs. If he can make his presence known in the game, he will have a big game with potentially a touchdown. This will force the Bill’s defense to ease up on the pressure and focus on Olson more.

Whoever fills in at the No. 2 receiver spot will also need to step up. Whether it is Brandon Lafell or Ted Ginn, they need to make their presence felt and take pressure off of Smith. Any defense knows Smith is usually the No. 1 target for Newton. With no solid No. 2 receiver, defenses have been able to double cover Smith and make it difficult for him to get open. If Lafell or Ginn can get into the open field, the Panther’s offense will take off. Lafell is a tall player who can make clutch catches in the air. Ginn is known for his speed and can be a huge deep threat or even a good screen player. Either one of these guys will be an excellent compliment for Smith, but they have yet to prove they are as reliable. The defense will not be expecting either of these two receivers to get many looks on offense. The Panthers need to use that to their advantage and spread the ball to them sharing the workload. If the Panthers can open up the field and utilize every option at the receiver position, expect the Bills to struggle on defense. The Panthers should be considered the favorite in this game, and that will make it easy for them to get the win they need.

Patrick Newton is a Carolina Panthers writer for Rant Follow him on Twitter @SirNewton17, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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