Carolina Panthers' Young Receiving Core to See More Playing Time

PITTSBURGH - AUGUST 28: Dwayne Jarrett #80 of the Carolina Panthers catches a pass in front of James Harrison #92 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during a preseason NFL game on August 28, 2008 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 14: Brandon LaFell #1 of the LSU Tigers jumps over Jai Eugene #4 of the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs on his way to scoring a touchdown at Tiger Stadium on November 14, 2009 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

With the broken arm suffered by Carolina Panthers receiver Steve Smith, an unlikely opportunity has arisen for Carolina’s young receiver core.

For all of training camp and the preseason, the majority of eyes will be on two players: Dwayne Jarrett and Brandon LaFell.

For the time being, it’s a battle for who will be the temporary No. 1 receiver, stepping in for the fallen Smith.

By default, the position is currently Dwayne Jarrett’s. But that can definitely change when training camp rolls around.

Jarrett’s got the experience of being on an NFL team for three years, and playing in a system he should be quite familiar with; so all-in-all, realistically, he should have a foot up on everyone else.

As we know however, the history behind Jarrett’s work ethic and personal habits have been poor. From that angle, the playing field is more even between him and LaFell.

This definitely has the makings of a good — perhaps great — competition during training camp and the preseason.

Whichever receiver wins the temporary starting position in training camp and for the preseason, and retains the job throughout, will obviously be the clear-cut No. 2 receiver when Smith returns from injury.

So, see? Smith’s absence is not necessarily a bad thing. The timing was even spot-on! Smith inadvertently did the team a favor, by giving the young guys a chance to duke it out while he recovers.

Smith already knows what he needs to do. There shouldn’t be any doubts about that. Quarterback Matt Moore is quite familiar working with Smitty. The worry over that was nothing more than sensationalized BS.

The battle will be intense. Sit back and enjoy the show! I’ll be rooting for pseudo-Rocky in this one.

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  • John

    The young guys definitely have their work cut out for them. I think Jarrett has come on in the work ethic dept and hopefully knowing that he finally has a legit shot will give him a push.

    Anyway I think the real opportunity push here is for people lower on the totem pole. Pretty much we can safely assume Jarrett and Lafell are going to make the team. So counting Smitty that’s 3 spots gone. The guys next in line should get some real chances to show they got it. Especially Edwards. IMO he has the best chance to be our new Smith. And the added reps can only speed that along.

    So Smittys injury could definitely have a sliver lining in the long run.

    • Eric Quackenbush

      Certainly not Smitty’s last stand like Jeff Howe seems to believe. I really believe that unless Jarrett just completely flops or gets injured, he and LaFell are a lock to make the roster.