Panthers Paw Prints: No Need for Plax Edition

Panthers WR Steve Smith has never been one to heap undeserved praise on his fellow teammates in particular younger WRs. He has been known to call out the younger players that don't show the work ethic or exhibit the right attitude. So when he says the team doesn't need a player Plaxico Burress caliber I take notice:

Inside the Panthers: Steve Smith: No need for Plaxico

"We’ve filled our chairs in the receivers room with already a lot of guys – young and older guys. To bring in Plax [and] to let one of those guys go it wouldn’t be the coach Rivera way. The guys that are in there, they earned those chairs for right now and allowed them to go through training camp," Smith told NFL Network.

If the current mix is okay with Smitty it's okay with me.

Here's a nice piece on free agent signee S Reggie Smith and why he was essentially allowed to walk out of San Fran:

Reggie Smith: Carolina Panthers Safety Hopeful for Success in NFL Year : Carolina Panthers
"That put me behind everybody, and I just never caught back up," Smith said. "I’m happy I was able to contribute to the season, and I enjoyed the 49ers team. I just want more."

I like the idea of following the 49ers in their rise from 6-10 to 13-3. If the Panthers should pull that off Rodney Southern has three reasons why but I found out his three are all on offense. More after the jump...

I would say those three reasons he listed as being reasons why the Panthers offense could be even better than 2011. Instead this is what is needed to win the NFC South:

Three Reasons the Carolina Panthers Could Win the NFC South: Fan's Take - Yahoo! Sports

The defense will have to improve dramatically for the Panthers to legitimately have a shot to win the NFC South. They were one of the league's worst in 2011 but have made significant strides towards improving in 2012. With the magic that is Cam Newton, even a small improvement on defense could mean a much better record.

I couldn't agree more. Yes it is obvious everything hinges on the improvement of Newton let's not forget a big part of his rookie season, which I think is pointed out well in the final couple sentences of this passage:

Around the League - SB Nation Philly
Some wonder if RG3 can have the kind of rookie year that Cam Newton did for the Panthers. No. Go watch the Panthers games. Offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski built the offense around Newton. They ran trick plays. They ran the option. They fed the ball to a pair of talented running backs. Newton threw for 4,051 yards. More than a third of that came on passes to Steve Smith (79-1,394). The Skins have some talented pass catchers, but no one who is in the same class as Smith. Newton could force the ball to Smith and the two of them were special enough for those plays to work. Does anyone think Pierre Garcon, Santana Moss, or Josh Morgan is going to have a year like Smith did? You can argue that the Skins have a better group of receivers than Newton did last year. The problem there is that young guys don't spread the ball around. They lock onto a primary target and force him the ball.

Who else to lock onto than Smitty?. Jake Delhomme was a willy veteran and he stuck to that mantra to the end.

Finally, the feel good story of the week centers again on the good work Steve Smith does off the field.

Carolina Panthers WR Steve Smith puts hands, heart into Samaritan’s Feet | CharlotteObserver.com & The Charlotte Observer Newspaper
"You’re 21, 22, 23. I’m a young guy. I don’t know what these people are doing. I haven’t even really taken the time to see. It’s like, ‘Hey, it’s a need. OK, I’ll write a check,’ " Smith said recently. "But as I’ve gotten older, I’ll write a check but also be involved. Now it’s to the point where I see this as an opportunity, as my career starts to wind down, to take this full-on once I’m done playing."

Hey if 1,400 yards and 8 TDs is 'winding down' feel free to wind down for three more seasons Smitty!

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