The second round rookie wide receiver is starting to have an impact and play a substantial role on this offense. Devin Funchess over the past two weeks has five receptions for 112 yards and one touchdown, which is vastly improved from his seven receptions for 90 yards over the first seven weeks of the season.
As I wrote yesterday, Rivera has certainly taken noticed and said he is "finally where he should be." The receiver has seen his snaps increase over the past couple of weeks as well up to 22 against the Titans.
The Panthers' offense has been in desperate need of a number one wide receiver and Funchess certainly has all the physical attributes to play the role. The downside for him has always been drops, which he has eliminated the past two games. If he can continue to do this, he should have a strong finish to his rookie season.
All Panthers' fans know the team's primary tight end Greg Olsen, who is one of the best in the game today. However, the Panthers' other tight end, Ed Dickson, is starting to make his presence known with the lack of depth at the wide receiver position. The Panthers have started to use two tight end sets more and more as the season has gone on to a season high 68% against the Titans.
This should bring memories back of Olsen and Jeremy Shockey from the 2011 season when the two combined for nine touchdown catches. Now, Dickson may not be the same caliber player that Shockey was but he is more than capable of being a viable weapon for this offense. The two-tight end set also helps the Panthers' rushing attack, which is near the top of the league, by giving them another blocker on the field.
This is a trend that should continue and Dickson should continue to be a key contributor for the Panthers.
It has been an interesting season for Wes Horton as he has been in and out of the starting lineup and was even cut for a week to create a roster spot for David Foucalt when the Panthers were hit hard with injuries at offensive tackle. Well it looks like Horton is on the down slope of that up and down season after playing a season low seven snaps.
This is certainly not a good trend for Horton to be heading in at a pivotal part of the season and playing time at defensive end will start to get scarce. In a little over two weeks, Charles Johnson will be eligible to return from injured reserve and play on Thanksgiving Day against the Dallas Cowboys. This would give the Panthers six healthy defensive ends and it is unlikely that they will keep all on the roster which means Horton could be odd man out.