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April 08, 2014

Panthers WRs old vs. new: A statistical comparison

In explaining how the Panthers would try to replace leading receiver Steve Smith, coach Ron Rivera said the Panthers wouldn't necessarily try to find a No. 1 receiver.

Instead, they would look to replace the 10 catches a game their four wide receivers -- all of whom are now gone -- combined for in 2013.

With the acquisition of free agent wideout Jason Avant on Monday, the Panthers are getting closer to Rivera's goal of 10. But they're not there, yet.

Avant and the two other recently signed wideouts -- Jerricho Cotchery and Tiquan Underwood -- combined for 7.25 receptions a game last season.

None of the Panthers' new receivers is considered a true No. 1 wideout -- and their numbers from a year ago reflect that.

Cotchery averaged 2.88 catches a game for Pittsburgh, although he had a career-high 10 touchdown catches.

Avant pulled down 2.38 receptions per game in Chip Kelly's system in Philadelphia, while Underwood -- the fastest of the three -- averaged 2.0 catches a game in Tampa Bay.

Domenik Hixon, the Panthers' No. 4 receiver last season, caught only seven passes all season.

If the Panthers take a receiver high in the draft -- or see Marvin McNutt or Tavarres King develop -- it's not unreasonable to suggest they could find someone to catch another 2-3 passes a game.

If that happens -- and Cotchery, Underwood and Avant stay healthy and come close to matching their 2013 numbers -- the Panthers could find their way to 10 catches a game.

But without a true No. 1 receiver -- like Avant had in Philly in DeSean Jackson, Cotchery had in Antonio Brown, and Underwood had in Vincent Jackson -- one of those receivers is going to draw extra coverage.

The bottom line, the Panthers have brought in a proven group of complementary receivers, all of whom are said to be high-character guys who will help in the locker room and with the development of the young wideouts.

On statistics alone, it's hard to argue that Cotchery-Avant-Underwood is a better receiving lineup than Smith-Brandon LaFell-Ted Ginn Jr. 


The stats are below. Click for a larger image.


Posted by Observer Sports on April 8, 2014 at 01:32 PM | Permalink


I'll take Smith with any of them.

Posted by: Mark Colone | Apr 8, 2014 2:02:22 PM

it makes a HUGE differene who is throwing the ball. I'd be interested to see the old panther players stats after this year, gotta think they'll look like much better wr's.

it is what it is

Posted by: tony clifton | Apr 8, 2014 2:14:41 PM

I think our front office wants Cam to fail!!!! Give that man a true #1 receiver. we have signed garbage!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: kevin | Apr 8, 2014 2:17:21 PM

I can't believe we're trying to figure out how many receivers we need to reach 10 WR catches per game. I'm thinking at least 8 healthy ones, maybe 9 if half of them are over 30 years old.

Posted by: ItHurtsSoMuch | Apr 8, 2014 2:27:18 PM

Panthers pass on signing DeSean and sign Avant ???????
Where is the strong running game??

Our running game is weak(DeAngelo and Stewart are both inconsistent). Tolbert and Newton are the only consistent runners we have. Cam needs to pass more but he can't do that if you are not providing him w/ weapons at the WR position. So he will run more and risk injury!!! Cam needs to look to get out of this town!!! they don't want him to succeed

Posted by: kevin | Apr 8, 2014 2:30:28 PM

Release the Dokken!

Posted by: BigMikey | Apr 8, 2014 2:31:42 PM

i would take smith & company with a better OC. why else would all but Steve leave by choice. Steve will hit 900-1k yards this year in the ravens offense. so lets see how this bunch of #4,and maybe a #3 WR's work in our offense. there is a reason Nicks did not sign. GM (Who Sucks By The Way)says the other team would be a better fit because of the passing offense. panthers go 6-10 this year and FIRE Shula. Should have let Shula go after the numbers we put up last year and what he did in tampa. Another reason Ron sucks too. On a final note which i dont understand why the writers for the observer have not done so already. look at what shula did in tampa, look what he did last year. ranked almost last in passing in 2013. ranked mid pack in rushing. overal offense ranked below middle of all nfl teams. now lets take away those QB scambles where cam had to run for his life. you know plays that were not called for a QB scamble. if you plugged lets say Tom, Payton, Flaco's rushing numbers into the calc rather than cams where would we rank overal as an offense. Someone answer me that. so if i performed that bad at my job i would get fired.

Posted by: chris wesley | Apr 8, 2014 2:42:31 PM

Our offense will not be made by WRs and RBs, but who is on the line of scrimmage. So far, this offseason, after releasing Smith, is going exactly as I thought it would. GM has plugged receiving holes with good (not excellent) receivers with low cap numbers and is poised to now draft one or two big O-linemen in the draft. He should take a tackle first round, and maybe even another second round, then round it out with some more WR as the draft is deep for WRs this year. I don't care if you have Calvin Johnson out to your right, if the line cannot protect and open up lanes for the running game to setup play action. Good lines make skilled positions better. Look how our front seven on defense helped offset a no-name secondary. We went from one of worst defenses in '11 to like #14 in '12, then we beefed up the D-line and jumped ALL THE WAY to #2. See what happens with our O-line before judging these receivers. A line that gives Cam 4-6 seconds to pass or has a potent running game can make even guys like Avant/Underwiood/Cotchery pro bowlers potentially in numbers.

Posted by: Steve | Apr 8, 2014 2:48:38 PM

preach it chris

Posted by: tony clifton | Apr 8, 2014 2:49:08 PM

Hearts not heads will take the Smith team anyday. Let's face it, Smith wasn't the #1 WR we've needed for a couple of years. The stats show the new WRs are doing more with less players, and less catches. The Panthers last year had too many dropped balls on possession downs, and this new group will hopefully fix that issue. I look at my signed Steve Smith helmet and wish he was still a Panther...but he isn't a #1 WR anymore, as he won't be with Baltimore. I will miss my favorite Panther of all time, but it's time to move on and start winning with the new stars.

Posted by: West Coast Panther Fan | Apr 8, 2014 3:12:12 PM

What’s most glaring here is how poor Steve Smith’s numbers were last year considering he was supposed to be the number one receiver. I love Steve Smith like the rest of the Panther fans, but let’s face it, his numbers last year are not what you would expect of a number one receiver for a team that won their division and made the playoffs.

Posted by: Look at Smith's poor #s | Apr 8, 2014 4:11:45 PM

Joe, is the Observer working in concert with ESPN? I'm wondering specifically about how much this piece resembles the one David Newton posted there five and a half hours earlier: http://espn.go.com/blog/carolina-panthers/post/_/id/5834/carolinas-new-receivers-not-such-a-dropoff

Posted by: John | Apr 8, 2014 4:13:33 PM

I like where we are at but we are going to need to improve our run game. Let's hope Stewart is finally ready to play and maybe we can add a late round bruiser to the roster

Posted by: HashMark | Apr 8, 2014 5:15:07 PM

All of these WR's only caught passes because they were teamed with #1's. We obviously don't have one so now what? Smitty might not have been a true #1 but he got attention as such from opposing defenses. We have no receivers that scare anyone, a porous O line and not a D-back in sight. The name of the game is REGRESSION! We're trying to just get back to 10 rec a game which made us 29th in the league. 8-8 at best next yr

Posted by: Fields | Apr 8, 2014 5:25:55 PM

Gettleman is mailing it in this year

Posted by: andrew | Apr 8, 2014 5:27:39 PM

Man...I'm glad you idiots aren't running the team.

Posted by: Austin | Apr 8, 2014 5:37:08 PM

The 3 new ones have more combind TD's than 4 old ones. As pointed none are a true #1 WR. Matter of fact Jerrico had more than any two of the old ones. The new ones had less fumbles. Thats two pretty big stats. Oh but we dont have Smith so lets all whine a little more. Lol!

Posted by: Brian | Apr 8, 2014 6:47:06 PM

Mike Persinger,

You and this publication should be ashamed for plagiarizing David Newton at ESPN with this column. The shoddy work at the Observer never ceases to amaze me.

Posted by: Steve Mc | Apr 8, 2014 6:55:50 PM

Avant was signed to mentor whoever they draft.. probably Brandin Cooks. As far as Smith is concerned,, the brutal truth is that his stats last year slipped terribly, although he still had the same fire. Wish him well and hope he retires as a panther.

Posted by: Cy | Apr 8, 2014 7:51:35 PM

All this talk about WR's, and about how Gettleman is an idiot. If we win the opener with a couple TD passes, then Gettleman is brilliant and who needs a #1 WR, lol.
Btw, we didn't have a #1 WR last year and neither did Seattle. Hmmmmm...

Posted by: Kent | Apr 8, 2014 8:21:22 PM

You guys are idiots, Smith was washed up, gained 20 pounds over the past 2 years and dropped more passes that Laffel last year. I think we need these high character guys to compliment Cam and Olsen .. The running game was terrible because the other teams loaded the box because we had no WR's that were a threat. Now we have 3 and one more in the Draft.. I bet the Offense is not 28th next year as it was this past year. If you are not a true fan then quit with the comments, you have no faith in Gettleman and our OC, you were all talking the same crap last year and did not give credit where it was due when we went 12-4.. I bet we go 11-5 or 13-3 this year. Mark my words people.. Get off the bandwagon now cause we dont want you later.

Posted by: Jeff | Apr 8, 2014 8:36:13 PM

I would still like to have Steve Smith as my #1 WR....but it's going to be okay... Let's just see how the season go this year...PANTHER 4 LIFE..RIDE & DIE PANTHER FAN......

Posted by: Eric | Apr 8, 2014 10:01:18 PM

So many complaints about Smith's numbers dropping in 2013 but you can't catch passes, including TD passes, if they aren't thrown your way! The entire offense was down so how is that an indictment of Steve Smith?!?!

Posted by: Roger Goodell | Apr 9, 2014 5:11:36 AM

Those that look and compare only stats are complete morons. Look at my best years with Steve Smith. We did it all, catch TD's, draw coverage from each other, and block when needed for the running game. Comparing all these receivers based off what they did statistically in a different offense with different receiving cores does not equate to what the Carolina offense did last year. A true panther fan could never dog or doubt what Steve Smith did on the field. Maybe at practice or training camp but not come game time.

Gettleman is doing some good and a whole lot of bad (Smith handling). You don't disrespect your Franchise's best player ever in the way he did. Heck we could have released Godfrey and signed some receivers with that cap savings.

Tell us Carolina Panthers fans the real reason Smith was released.

Posted by: Muhsian Muhammad | Apr 9, 2014 6:26:27 AM

2014 -2015 Panther SEASON...

Simple...no PLAYOFFS at BEST...5 or 6 Wins and 11 or 10 LOSSES...

GET RID OF THE General MANAGER and COACHES All of them!!!!

Posted by: Countryboy JJ | Apr 9, 2014 8:43:27 AM

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