The Carolina Panthers have been desperate to find some consistency from the wide receiver position this year. The team could finally have their answer in second-round rookie Devin Funchess.
During his press conference on Monday, Rivera was asked about Funchess and he said that he was "finally where he should be." The former Michigan Wolverine missed about three weeks during training camp and Rivera mentioned how important that time is to a player's development. The Panthers' head coach said he believes Funchess is catching up where he needs to be.
This is certainly evident in the rookie's playing time over the past few weeks as his snaps have gone from 11 against the Indianapolis Colts to 22 yesterday against the Tennessee Titans. More importantly, Funchess has been producing with the increased playing time.
Over his first seven games this year, he had seven receptions for 90 receiving yards and only 14 yards after the catch. The past two games, he has caught five passes for 112 receiving yards, 18 yards after the catch and his first career receiving touchdown.
The number that is the most important from the past two games for Funchess is zero. That is the number of drops he has had, which is drastically different from six, which is how many he had over the first seven games of the year.
There is certainly an opportunity for Funchess to have a major impact down the stretch for this Panthers' offense as they have struggled to replace the production lost when Kelvin Benjamin went down with his knee injury. It will be tough for him to match what Benjamin did a season ago, but if he can provide Cam Newton another consistent threat in the pass, along with Greg Olsen, this offense will be tough to stop.