Carolina Panthers WR Jonathan Mingo slams critics after poor 2023

The wideout remains confident in his abilities.
Jonathan Mingo
Jonathan Mingo / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Jonathan Mingo had his fair share of critics during an unforgettable rookie campaign. The Carolina Panthers expected big things from the wide receiver after taking him at No. 39 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft. There were flashes of promise, but the jury is still out regarding his long-term aspirations.

The Panthers left nothing to chance in pursuit of helping quarterback Bryce Young this offseason. They traded for Diontae Johnson and drafted Xavier Legette at No. 32 overall. This raises the stakes for Mingo to firmly establish himself within a more crowded receiving room.

Jonathan Mingo looking to repay the Carolina Panthers' faith in 2024

Mingo's heard all the chatter. He hit back at his route-running critics during a candid interview with Joe Person of The Athletic. The former Ole Miss star remains confident in his ability and questions the knowledge of those who are so quick to criticize his performance levels along the way.

"I think overblown. At the end of the day, I know I can run routes. I feel when it comes down to it, I’m a good route runner. I know what I can do when it comes to route running. People might try to say stuff. But when teams come to play us, they watch film, too. So they can see what routes are coming off (receivers’) splits. People don’t know game. They’re on the outside looking in. Just like we can see a defense and know what coverage they’re in. I know I can run routes. You’re not going to win all of ’em, but I’m damn sure gonna win the majority of ’em. I had a lot of good routes last year. Being a receiver, everything doesn’t fall your way sometimes. It’s different from defense. On defense, you just gotta worry about your gap. But being a receiver, there are four things that gotta happen for you to get the ball."

Jonathan Mingo via The Athletic

This was a bold statement from Mingo. He's defending himself and rightfully so, but stating that the critics don't have any merit to their claims seems far-fetched. They've watched the tape, which speaks for itself regardless of whether he was used properly by the previous coaching regime or not.

It's too soon to be giving up on Mingo. Canales should have a better plan to maximize his skill set. The head coach is looking to keep things simple and improve the fundamentals that weren't evident for the most part in 2023. However, the players must respond accordingly and increase standards with enhanced competition across the board.

If Young is getting a pass for last season, Mingo deserves the same courtesy. Unlike the signal-caller, nothing is guaranteed for the wideout in terms of involvement. He must earn everything throughout Carolina's training camp and when targets come his way during the preseason.

Should Mingo do enough to earn improved trust from Canales and Young, better fortunes will follow. Anything less would be a significant dent in the player's chances of carving out a prominent role for himself.

It's a high-stakes situation for Mingo. Hopefully, it'll be the making of him.