Rookie wide receiver Philly Brown brings something to this position that has been lacking: deep threat speed. That was on display Sunday when he caught a 47-yard touchdown, which was the first of his career. This was probably one of the reasons the Panthers felt comfortable releasing veteran wide receiver Jason Avant on Tuesday.
The Panthers wide receiver depth chart was heavy at the top with possession-type wide receivers with Kelvin Benjamin, Jerricho Cotchery and Avant. However, they didn’t have that player that could run past defenses and hopefully stretch them out, opening up the running game and crossing routes underneath. Now that Brown will most likely see an increase in playing time by replacing Avant, the Panthers have an explosive weapon deep but need to keep him involved in the game plan.
The other big news from today was the Panthers placing starting right tackle Nate Chandler on season-ending injured reserve. The offensive line has struggled for most of the season and losing their starting right tackle does not bode well for this offense or Cam Newton.
However, one player who is intriguing is Chris Scott, who played the majority of the game at right guard against the Atlanta Falcons. He was one of the last cuts for the Panthers at the start of the season but they brought him back after the season started and promoted him to the active roster in October.
He saw his first action of the year against the Atlanta Falcons and should see regular playing time for the rest of the season. Panthers’ fans should expect to see Scott on the right side of the offensive line, either at guard or tackle, depending on how the offensive line shakes out.
The rookie guard returned to action for the first time since Week 7 against Green Bay. The return was short lived though as Turner missed his assignment on the first play for the offense and as a result Cam Newton got crushed by a Falcons’ defensive lineman. He was replaced by Chris Scott, who got the majority of the snaps for the game, but Turner did see some time later in the game.
The Panthers may have to rely on Turner more heavily now that Chandler is gone for the season, which may not be what they wanted to at this point in his career. It will be interesting to see how the rookie responds and if he can earn one of the starting spots on the offensive line.
Panthers Playoff Hopes
Thanks to a weak NFC South, the Carolina Panthers are still very much in the race for the division title. This is surprising considering they have now lost seven of their last nine games but somehow only find themselves one game back in the win column.
Thanks to a Bengals beat down on the New Orleans Saints, the winner of the Falcons/Panthers game would end the week in first place in the division. This game would have been pivotal for the Carolina Panthers season but the team came up just short of pulling out the win. The team now finds themselves with a 1-2 record in the division with the two losses coming at the hands of the two teams ahead of them in the standing.
They have an uphill battle but they do get to face each divisional opponent one more time over the final five weeks of the season. If they are able to find a way to split the series with Atlanta and New Orleans, they have to like their chances but unfortunately they are going to have to get those wins on the road.