4 burning questions Panthers fans are asking ahead of Week 12 vs. Broncos
What should the Carolina Panthers do with Chuba Hubbard and Shi Smith?
When will we cut losses on Chuba Hubbard and Shi Smith? Both seem to constantly make big mistakes and at this point seem to help the opponents more than their own team. – Robert Blount
Thank you for your question, Robert. Both Chuba Hubbard and Shi Smith have struggled to step up in their respective roles since Christian McCaffrey and Robbie Anderson were traded.
It’s evident to me that there is talent between the two underwhelming players. However, I believe coaching and the mismanagement of both have played a role in why Smith and Hubbard are currently struggling to impact matters.
Ever since his time at Oklahoma State, Hubbard has never been known as a true three-down running back who can succeed in pass protection and as a receiver out of the backfield. That’s never been his calling card. Yet, the offensive staff seems to believe he is the right man for the job.
Hubbard needs to be featured as a north and south runner. He has the explosiveness to create big runs in an offense that may have an identity with its run game. He showed success on the ground against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last month, which should be his role short term.
If anything, Raheem Blackshear should be the third-down back and has shown to be more reliable as a pass catcher.
As for Smith, he has become an example of how late-round draft picks can get overhyped by fans.
Smith has plenty of talent. I think he can be a good depth piece for an NFL roster. The drops are concerning, but this is an easier fix than some may believe. However, I think it’s time to give Rashard Higgins a try in the slot.
The former South Carolina Gamecock has not stepped up since Anderson left and continues to be a liability. Higgins has just one touch this season, which was a fumble at the mesh point earlier in the campaign.
Smith deserves an opportunity to prove himself wrong. Yet, the drops have been quite problematic. Personnel changes need to happen in order to help this offense out in some fashion.