Here is an evaluation you will not hear many places: Brandon LaFell says the Carolina Panthers wide receivers are as good as any group in the league.
Yes, even an aging Steve Smith is still a dangerous threat that would be concerning to any defensive coordinator. But most would agree wide receiver, otherwise, was a weak spot for the Panthers a year ago during quarterback Cam Newton’s rookie season.
There is optimism the Panthers will be better this year and one scout told the NFP that LaFell could be poised for a productive season. But the LSU product had 613 receiving yards last season. There is a lot of room for growth.
“We’ve got guys that can compete with anybody,” LaFell said, according to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer. “I don’t feel like there’s a secondary that really can stop us because we’ve got as many guys as anyone else has that can get open and make plays.”
Smith, a five-time Pro Bowl performer, was held out of practice with a foot infection on Wednesday. The Panthers are hoping to have Josh Gettis back soon. He suffered a torn ACL last summer and has more recently been hampered with a hamstring pull.
“I feel like every year I go into is my year, and definitely this year,” LaFell said. “It’s my third year. These guys are giving me a big role. I feel like Smitty’s going to do his thing. And if I can give our offense another reliable weapon on the other side, that’ll help out this whole team.”
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune