4 bold changes the Carolina Panthers should make vs. Saints in Week 2
Carolina Panthers install Shi Smith as KR
It was great to see Shi Smith back at practice on Wednesday after a few weeks on the sideline with a shoulder problem. Much will depend on how the sixth-round pick comes through activities in the lead-up to Sunday’s game, but the Carolina Panthers might be getting another potentially dynamic playmaker back into the fold if everything goes well.
Nobody is expecting Smith to come straight in and generate some meaningful targets in the passing game right away. But there is another way the South Carolina product might be able to help the team right out of the gate.
The Panthers don’t have what could be described as a productive kick returner after releasing David Moore. Using No. 1 wide receiver D.J. Moore in this region prominently isn’t really an option.
Alex Erickson didn’t show much against the New York Jets. So considering Smith’s had experience returning kicks with the Gamecocks in college, this is an option Carolina should consider providing he’s healthy enough to be active for the contest.
Smith is elusive, aggressive, and has enough burst to make things happen in the open field. The Panthers could do far worse than making him their returner in Week 2 and seeing how he fares, providing there are no complications on the health front in the coming days.