In the wake of David Gettis' season ending injury Carolina Panthers fans have been scrambling to make sense of the WR position, one that now seems decimated for the 2011 season. This perception seems to be a lot further away from the thinking of the coaching staff who seem quite content to roll the dice and let the chips fall where they may, at least for now.
Wide receiver now marks the third position at which most feel the Panthers are overlooking. The cornerback position hasn't truly been solidified with a true veteran presence, despite the signing of Chevis Jackson while at defensive tackle the team seem content to allow Sione Fua to play nose tackle after putting FA signing Ron Edwards on IR. The same now seems to be happening for the WRs.
More after the jump
While there were some initial reports the Panthers were inquiring about Lee Evans of Buffalo, ultimately it seems this was a passing fancy at best.
As per WR Lee Evans, I'm told the Panthers are not going to trade for him. Never serious interest.
One would think that a team who was truly concerned about their WR situation would have some 'serious interest' in a former 1,000 yard wide receiver. So, what is the real situation here? Are the Panthers showing a great deal of faith in their young receivers, or does the lack of concern really project a lack of faith in David Gettis?
I understand the gravity in that statement as I have been one of Gettis' biggest proponents since he became a Carolina Panthers, however, Ron Rivera and company just don't have the same level of trust in Gettis that the fan base does. Panthers' fans developed a fondness for him after he wound up being one of the few bright spots in the 2010 season, but he's been very lackluster in training camp thus far; not just because of performance but in attitude. Granted, he was slated to start the first pre-season game, but this doesn't reveal anything long term about Rivera's plans at the position; in fact, Steve Reed believes Legedu Naanee will be the #2 receiver this season despite being the #4 WR in tomorrow's game.
Here's how I view the Panthers depth chart at WR: 1. Steve Smith, 2. Legedu Naanee, 3. Brandon LaFell, 4. Armanti Edwards, 5. Kealoha Pilares, 6. David Clowney, 7. Wallace Wright, 8. Charly Martin, 9. Darvin Adams, 10. Trent Guy, 11. Jamorris Warren, 12. Brandon Smith. Think they'll keep six.
Sure, this is just Reed's view, but given Naanee's familiarity with Chudzinski it would seem the most plausible situation. The main problem is that Rivera has been looking for someone to step up and act like they want to have the #2 spot at receiver. He was hoping either David Gettis or Brandon LaFell would show they wanted the job, but neither really separated themselves from the pack.
So, here we are. Less than 36hrs from the first pre-season game and the Carolina Panthers look shaky at WR, but the coaching staff don't seem to be concerned. I don't want to harp on the 2007 Cleveland Browns too much, but it is important to note that the #2 WR on that team was Joe Jurevicius with just 614 yards. There wasn't a true need for a 800-900 yard receiver opposite Braylon Edwards (who had 1,289 yards) and Kellen Winslow at TE (who had 1,106 yards). Perhaps the modus operandi for the Carolina Panthers will be to turn the passing game into the Smitty and Olsen show, as it stands the lack of concern at WR supports this notion.
At least, that's what we should hope for... because otherwise it could get ugly.