The Carolina Panthers could have a different leader in touchdown catches….
On Monday, Stephen Igoe of 247Sports wrote a piece making three bold prediction for the Carolina Panthers offense. While I agree with the majority of them, there is one that I just cannot get behind. Igoe predicts that newly-acquired Torrey Smith will lead the team in touchdown grabs.
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I will give Igoe this: His reasoning is sound and he has a very good case for his prediction. In short, his prediction is based off the combination of Cam Newton’s strong arm and Smith’s knack for catching the deep passes.
"While he isn’t what he once was, Smith is still good enough to beat teams deep, and Newton has the arm strength to get him the football for explosive plays. If Smith catches deep passes in one-on-one coverage, there’s a better than good chance it ends with him in the end zone. Ginn had 14 touchdowns over a two-year span with the Panthers from 2015-16, and Smith could very easily post similar numbers to lead the offense in scoring grabs."
There’s a couple counterpoints I would like to make here. First, Smith is one of the better wideouts on the Carolina Panthers. Teams will take note of that. I could see certain situations where he is up against another team’s best cornerback. This could make it hard for Smith to go deep against certain teams. In correlation with this, those same corners might make life difficult for him in the red zone. Although all wideouts are different, as long as you can jam them at the line of scrimmage, that will at least throw their timing off. I expect that to be the case with Smith.
For what it is worth, I think Greg Olsen will lead the team in touchdown receptions. Smith will make the big catches to get the Carolina Panthers to the red zone. Olsen will finish the job. Devin Funchess will probably be tightly covered as well down in that area, and there are only so many cornerbacks allowed on the field. Olsen is a nice security blanket for Newton to throw to, and he is not the type of player that defenses necessarily pay extra attention to.
Smith may lead the Carolina Panthers in yards and catches, but he will have competition for touchdown grabs. There are many options for the team to throw to, and while Smith will be a key part of the offense, there is a good chance he will not find paydirt the most.