The Carolina Panthers are sticking with the current players on the roster and not panicking as injuries continue to be a big issue for the offense. With Kelvin Benjamin out for the season, Devin Funchess was expected to step up as the No.1 receiver. However, that plan is being delayed with the rookie still dealing with a hamstring injury. As the offensive remains in flux, the pressure is now on Greg Olsen and Jonathan Stewart to step up.
Head coach Ron Rivera announced via the Charlotte Observer, that if Funchess was out for Week 1, a pair of veterans would be stepping into his spot. Rivera said the starters would be Ted Ginn Jr and Corey Brown which of course has fans letting out a collective sigh. That is certainly not the dream rotation to put on the field for Cam Newton, but it is really all the Panthers have to work with unless they take a chance to sign someone like Reggie Wayne, Hakeem Nicks or Kenbrell Thompkins. That means tight end Olsen is the leader for the offense.
"I think I can be better. I think I left some plays out there last year. I can think of a handful off the top of my head that I remember," Olsen said, via the Charlotte Observer. "I think I can still get better all-around. I think I can catch more balls, run better routes."
Stewart will also be a security blanket for the quarterback. With DeAngelo Williams gone, Stewart is the man in charge for the run game. While he had an unimpressive preseason, the running back is expected to step up come Week 1 as the Panthers will rely heavily on the ground game. Rivera said the game plan does not change with the injuries mounting and he has confidence other players step up.
"We rally around the guys on the field. Whether it's another wide receiver or two other guys, the running game, offensive line. This is about a team," Rivera said, via the Black and Blue Review. "We don't want these kind of things to happen but when they do, somebody has to step up and take advantage of it. It's not about us being one player as it is being a team."
This is certainly not the season Newton had envisioned. A timetable for Funchess is unknown at the moment. The team has not said if the rookie with see any playing time Week 1 or if he will sit out and start Week 2. Fantasy owners will be watching this story unfold in the coming days as many hope the rookie develops into a top threat.