2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Avant: Panthers don't need big-name WRs to win

By STEVE REED - AP Sports Writer
    2014-06-17 15:34

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Jason Avant knows the Panthers lack a high profile wide receiver.

But that doesn't concern the eight-year NFL veteran wideout, who says there's no reason Carolina can't win a Super Bowl this year.

Avant said people spend too much time ''worrying about names.''

He doesn't.

Avant points out that last year's Seattle Seahawks and the dominant New England Patriots from the early Tom Brady years as teams that won championships without recognizable wide receivers.

''Seattle didn't have a whole bunch of receivers that everybody knew,'' Avant said. ''They had (Percy) Harvin who played basically one game (in the Super Bowl). You look at all of the Patriots teams and they basically had David Givens out there. They have guys out there that you most people don't even remember their names.''

General manager Dave Gettleman is hoping to follow that blueprint.

Carolina parted ways with the team's top four wide receivers from 2013, including star Steve Smith, the franchise's all-time leader in receptions, yards receiving and touchdowns.

The Panthers replaced Smith, Brandon LaFell, Ted Ginn Jr. and Domenik Hixon with free agents Avant, Jerricho Cotchery and Tiquan Underwood. They also drafted Kelvin Benjamin from Florida State in the first round to pair with young receivers like Brenton Bersin, Tavarres King and Marvin McNutt, who they're hoping will take the next step and surprise during the preseason.

Still, the changes haven't set all that well with a restless fan base that was hoping the Panthers would look to build on last year's 12-4 season - not completely gut an entire position - and reach the playoffs in back-to-back years for the first time ever.

Quarterback Cam Newton said last week he's well aware of the criticism, saying the perception of Carolina's wide receivers is they're the ''sorriest (group) in the NFL.''

Newton said he doesn't buy that.

He said the receivers have approached the offseason with a ''fire in their eyes'' and with incentive to go out and prove everyone wrong.

''It's kind of like a slap in not only their face, but my face as well,'' Newton said.

Newton hasn't had much experience working with his new batch of wide receivers. He hasn't practiced since undergoing ankle surgery in March.

Trainers kept him out of the first day of the team's mandatory three-day minicamp Tuesday and Rivera said the fourth-year quarterback will not participate in team drills until training camp. Newton worked on three- and five-step drops and did some light throwing on the side.

Cotchery, who caught 10 touchdown passes last season for the Pittsburgh Steelers in his 10th NFL season, believes this is a better collection of receivers than most people think.

But he's was quick to add ''you're not going to convince anyone how good you are by talking. We have to go out and put in the work. That is what this group is doing. Once we get on the field we'll have a better idea of where we are.''

Rivera, for one, is looking forward to that day.

''I'm real excited about who we have with us right now,'' Rivera said.

He said Avant and Cotchery have taken on a leadership role, and Underwood brings some vertical speed the team will miss following the departure of Ginn.

What the Panthers don't have is a No. 1 receiver to replace Smith, although Rivera has said repeatedly that's not a necessity. However, he hopes the Benjamin, who has been impressive so far in OTAs and minicamp, develops into Newton's go-to receiver.

''I think his development is good right now,'' Rivera said. ''We're throwing a lot at him right now and he's doing well.''

---

AP NFL website www.pro32.ap.org

---

Follow Steve Reed on Twitter: http://twitter.com/SteveReedAP

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

K. Pierre-LouisNov 28 06:52p

The Seattle Seahawks placed LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (shoulder) on Reserve/Injured Friday, Nov. 28.

Jerick McKinnonNov 28 06:02p

Minnesota Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon (back) has officially been listed as doubtful for Week 13. McKinnon has already said that he will not play.

Latavius MurrayNov 28 04:42p

Oakland Raiders RB Latavius Murray (concussion) will not play in Week 13 after failing the final test of the concussion protocol Friday, Nov. 28.

Arian FosterNov 28 04:22p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) is probable for Week 13 after being limited in practice Friday, Nov. 28.

Charles ClayNov 28 04:12p

Miami Dolphins TE Charles Clay (knee, hamstring) did not practice Friday, Nov. 28, and could miss Monday night's game versus the New York Jets.

Larry FitzgeraldNov 28 03:32p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) was limited during practice Friday, Nov. 28, and will be a game-time decision for Week 13, according to head coach Bruce Arians. Arians [ More ]

Ray RiceNov 28 03:02p

Free-agent RB Ray Rice (Ravens) has won the appeal of his indefinite suspension and is eligible to play immediately, according to a source.

Jordan ReedNov 28 03:02p

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (hamstring) took part in a full practice Friday, Nov. 28, but is questionable for Week 13 against the Indianapolis Colts.

Dwayne AllenNov 28 02:52p

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) missed practice all week and is officially out in Week 13 against the Washington Redskins.

Jerick McKinnonNov 28 02:22p

Minnesota Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon (back) said he has been ruled out for Week 13.

William MooreNov 28 02:22p

The Atlanta Falcons activated SS William Moore (shoulder) from the Active/Reserve/Injured list Friday, Nov. 28. The team also waived OT Cameron Bradfield.

Julius ThomasNov 28 02:12p

Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle) is in attendance for practice Friday, Nov. 28, but is not participating in drills.

Arian FosterNov 28 01:32p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) is expected to play in Week 13 against the Tennessee Titans, according to head coach Bill O'Brien. O'Brien has been pleased with the [ More ]

Larry FitzgeraldNov 28 10:02a

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) said he's highly unlikely to play in Week 13 Sunday, Nov. 30.

Marshawn LynchNov 27 11:52p

Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch had 20 carries for 104 yards in a 19-3 victory over the San Francisco 49ers Thursday, Nov. 27.

Julius ThomasNov 27 07:52p

Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle) was limited during practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Anthony DavisNov 27 07:23p

The San Francisco 49ers have declared OT Anthony Davis, WR Bruce Ellington, DL Glenn Dorsey, QB Josh X. Johnson, WR Quinton Patton, CB Tramaine Brock, TE Vance McDonald inactive for Week 13.

Arian FosterNov 27 07:12p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) was limited during practice Wednesday, Nov. 27.

Allen BradfordNov 27 07:12p

The Seattle Seahawks have declared LB Allen Bradford, TE Cooper Helfet, CB Jeremy Lane, LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, C Max Unger, TE Rashaun Allen, DL Travian Robertson inactive for Week 13.

Jordan CameronNov 27 06:32p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) was limited during practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Latavius MurrayNov 27 04:52p

Oakland Raiders RB Latavius Murray (concussion) was limited during practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Larry FitzgeraldNov 27 04:02p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) did not participate in practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Tony HillsNov 27 03:22p

The Dallas Cowboys have declared LB Dekoda Watson, OG Donald Hawkins, QB Dustin Vaughan, FS Jeff Heath, DL Joshua Brent, OT Tony Hills, CB Tyler Patmon inactive for Week 13.

Taylor HartNov 27 03:12p

The Philadelphia Eagles have declared OT Dennis Kelly, DB Jaylen Watkins, WR Jeff Maehl, OG Julian Vandervelde, QB Nick Foles, CB Rashad Carmichael, DE Taylor Hart inactive for Week 13.

Jordan ReedNov 27 03:02p

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (hamstring) was limited in practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Dwayne AllenNov 27 02:32p

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Kyle FullerNov 27 11:32a

Chicago Bears CB Kyle Fuller (knee) will play in the team's Week 13 game against the Detroit Lions. Fuller had been questionable during the week.

Lance BriggsNov 27 11:22a

The Chicago Bears have declared WR Chris X. Williams, LB Darryl Sharpton, OT Eben Britton, DL Jeremiah Ratliff, LB Lance Briggs, CB Terrance Mitchell, DL Trevor Scott inactive for Week Week 13.

Reggie BushNov 27 11:12a

The Detroit Lions have declared QB Kellen Moore, OG Larry Warford, DE Larry Webster, DL Nick Fairley, RB Reggie Bush, OT Riley Reiff, WR Ryan Broyles inactive for Week 13.

Reggie BushNov 27 11:12a

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) is inactive Thursday, Nov. 27, for Week 13.

Reggie BushNov 27 10:12a

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) is out for Week 13 Thursday, Nov. 27. His ankle isn't responding well enough, but the hope is to return for Week 14.

R. Griffin IIINov 27 09:53a

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III is highly unlikely to return to the team next season, sources within the organization said. Head coach Jay Gruden convinced owner Daniel Snyder [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group