Curtis Samuel needs to be firing on all cylinders come the preseason…..
It is no secret. The Carolina Panthers have restocked their receiving core. They have more depth now than they did before, and from a team perspective, that is a very good thing. Unfortunately from a player perspective, that may bring about challenges. Curtis Samuel is a player who may be negatively affected by the added depth. In order to separate himself from the rest of the crowd, he will have to have a tremendous preseason.
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Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer wrote an interesting piece Thursday afternoon detailing the depth available at the position. In reading it, the following excerpt stood out.
"Instead, anything Samuel is able to do on the field this fall seems like it might be a bonus instead of an expectation. That’s rare, especially considering the talent now available in the Panthers’ receivers room."
To me, this means a couple of things. First, Samuel could very easily lose his job. Especially given the fact that he was hurt last season, he has expendability now due to the depth at the position. One has to wonder if general manager Marty Hurney was thinking about the health of Samuel when adding pieces to the offense.
Secondly, I get the sense that if things could not work out with Samuel and the Panthers, he could be looking for work. This could be due to the depth or if he suffers a setback from his injury. Whatever the case, he could be looking for work come the beginning of the season. Personally, I hope that is not the case. I would love to see him develop into a dependable weapon and bounce back to have a great season.
However, by all accounts he is looking great during OTAs. Various beat writers have said he is moving well and on Tuesday, there was video of him moving around. It looked like he was moving fast and got good speed off the line once the ball was snapped.
If he can continue to display what he has shown so far in the early going, he should be able to find a spot on this team. This makes the preseason very important for Samuel and he will need to give everything he has if he wants to see the field on Sunday.