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

Terrence ToliverAug 1 05:02p

Free-agent CB Brandon E. Smith (Bills), WR Terrence Toliver (Bears), TE Brett Brackett (Dolphins) and OG Jared Smith (Seahawks) all officially cleared waivers and became free agents Friday, Aug. 1.

Allen RobinsonAug 1 11:52a

Updating a previous report, Jacksonville Jaguars WR Allen Robinson (hamstring) will miss at least two weeks with a hamstring injury.

Tandon DossAug 1 10:22a

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Allen Robinson (hamstring) and WR Tandon Doss (undisclosed), DT Jordan Miller (undisclosed) and LB John Lotulelei (leg) will miss an extended period of time.

Marshawn LynchJul 31 08:32p

Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch will make $6.5 million in base salary this season instead of $5 million, according to a league source. Lynch will now be guaranteed an [ More ]

Jonathan GrimesJul 31 05:52p

Houston Texans RB Jonathan Grimes (undisclosed) and LB Trevardo Williams (undisclosed) have been activated from the Non-Football Injury list and Physically Unable to Perform list, respectively.

Marshawn LynchJul 31 05:22p

Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch arrived in Seattle Thursday, July 31, according to a source. Lynch officially ended his holdout from training camp.

Jared SmithJul 31 04:52p

The Seattle Seahawks waived OG Jared Smith (undisclosed) from the Reserve/Injured list with an injury settlement Thursday, July 31.

Terrence ToliverJul 31 04:52p

Chicago Bears WR Terrence Toliver (toe) was waived with an injury settlement Thursday, July 31.

Steve GregoryJul 31 04:32p

The Kansas City Chiefs signed free-agent SS Steve Gregory (Patriots) Thursday, July 31, to an undisclosed deal.

Matt SlaterJul 31 03:32p

The New England Patriots have activated WR Matthew Slater (undisclosed) from the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list.

Chris WhiteJul 31 03:32p

New England Patriots WR Josh Boyce (leg) and LB Chris White (undisclosed) participated in practice Thursday, July 31. Both players sat out practice Wednesday, July 30.

Peria JerryJul 31 03:22p

Atlanta Falcons DT Peria Jerry announced his retirement Thursday, July 31.

Marshawn LynchJul 31 03:22p

Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch will not receive a new deal and added money, but the team is expected to add some financial concessions to his contract.

Ronald JohnsonJul 31 01:52p

The Seattle Seahawks signed WR Ronald Johnson (Eagles) Thursday, July 31. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Anthony McCoyJul 31 01:42p

Seattle Seahawks TE Anthony McCoy (Achilles') was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Thursday, July 31.

Frank AlexanderJul 31 01:42p

Carolina Panthers DE Frank Alexander said he will not appeal his four-game suspension, because he was guilty of violating the NFL's policy.

Chad HenneJul 31 01:32p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Chad Henne is in no danger of losing his starting job at this point, according to head coach Gus Bradley. Henne has looked comfortable during practice and is performing well.

Blake BortlesJul 31 01:32p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles worked on his development and has progressed faster than originally anticipated, according to offensive coordinator Judd Fisch. 'I think that one of the things [ More ]

Aldon SmithJul 31 01:22p

San Francisco 49ers LB Aldon Smith will meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell Friday, Aug. 8. Smith is facing a suspension for three felony gun charges and a DUI.

David WilsonJul 31 01:12p

Doctors for New York Giants RB David Wilson (neck) are very hesitant to clear him to return to football after suffering a neck stinger in practice.

Tony RomoJul 31 01:12p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo (back) said he is not sure if he will play in the team's preseason opener Thursday, Aug. 7. 'You're constantly evaluating it and you're [ More ]

Rueben RandleJul 31 12:32p

New York Giants WR Rueben Randle (hamstring) said his hamstring is feeling better and he expects to practice Thursday, July 31.

Donald ThomasJul 31 12:32p

The Indianapolis Colts placed OG Donald Thomas (quadriceps) on the Reserve/Injured list Thursday, July 31.

David WilsonJul 31 12:01p

New York Giants RB David Wilson (neck) 'needs a miracle' from his surgeon's evaluation to be able to continue his playing career, according to a source.

David WilsonJul 31 11:52a

New York Giants RB David Wilson (neck) attended team meetings Thursday, July 31, and appeared ready to go, according to RB Rashad Jennings.

Brent UrbanJul 31 11:42a

Baltimore Ravens DE Brent Urban (knee) suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament during practice Wednesday, July 30, and will miss the entire 2014 season.

Lance LouisJul 31 11:32a

Indianapolis Colts OG Jack Mewhort appears to be the leading candidate for the starting left guard job. OG Lance Louis is also considered a candidate for the job.

Donald ThomasJul 31 11:22a

Indianapolis Colts OG Donald Thomas (quadriceps) is scheduled to undergo season-ending quadriceps surgery and will be placed on the Reserve/Injured list, according to head coach Chuck Pagano.

Nick BarnettJul 31 11:12a

Free-agent LB Nick Barnett (Redskins) is still an option for the Atlanta Falcons depending on what happens with the team's linebackers. The Falcons worked out Barnett in June but did not sign him.

Josh GordonJul 31 10:42a

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon is not practicing Thursday, July 31, and presumably will miss practice Friday, Aug. 1, to attend his suspension appeal hearing.

Eric BerryJul 31 10:32a

Kansas City Chiefs SS Eric Berry (leg, foot) was carted off at practice Thursday, July 31, with a right leg or foot injury. SS Jerron McMillian has taken his place.

Jordan TodmanJul 31 09:52a

Jacksonville Jaguars RB Toby Gerhart is expected to be spelled by RBs Jordan Todman, Denard Robinson and Storm Johnson so he doesn't reach the 300-carry plateau.

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