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Cam Newton: Receivers have heard criticism and accepted the challenge

Cam Newton AP

Consensus opinion can be hard to find in life and in football, but there’s been widespread agreement that the Panthers receiving corps looks as weak as any in the NFL heading into the season.

Every wideout that caught a pass in Carolina last season has moved on, leaving the team to rebuild the corps with Jerricho Cotchery, Jason Avant, Tiquan Underwood and first-round pick Kelvin Benjamin. Not much is expected from the group and the Panthers have received some criticism for constructing things that way. Quarterback Cam Newton says he and the receivers have heard that criticism and he has “no doubt” that they will answer it on the field this season.

“The elephant in the room has already been stated,” Newton said, via the Charlotte Observer. “Those guys have already accepted the challenge. You don’t have to go in there and tell those guys, ‘Hey, you’re projected the sorriest receiver [group] in the NFL.’ We already know. But with that, those guys already have that fire in their eyes. I would rather those guys be like that and for them to go out there and bust their tails like they’ve been doing. It’s kind of like a slap in–not only their face–but my face as well. The things that have been said, the reports, who cares? Because at the end of the day, we will be ready to play football, and Carolina Panthers football. Hard-nosed, and everybody’s going to have to do their job.”

While Steve Smith has long been held in high regard, Newton points out that there were questions about Carolina’s overall receiving corps heading into last season as well. Things went well enough for Newton to throw 24 touchdowns and the Panthers won the NFC South, so his confidence that everything will come together doesn’t come totally out of left field.  Should things work out the same way this time around, Newton’s lack of concern about his contract will be justified because he’ll have shown he can win with whoever’s surrounding him on offense.

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20 Responses to “Cam Newton: Receivers have heard criticism and accepted the challenge”
  1. cardiaccatsbackin2013 says: Jun 11, 2014 3:52 PM

    The WR corps is better than last year …

    Where are those old WRs now?

    Steve Smith – already admitted he was half-assing it and was just trying to milk one more year before retiring

    LaFell – garbage

    Ginn – won’t have anything close to what he had last year, production-wise

    Hixon – career over …

    Just pointing out the facts. Let’s not let them get in the way of reality.

  2. hakunamangata says: Jun 11, 2014 3:57 PM

    With the first overall pick the Carolina panthers select…

  3. thegreatgabbert says: Jun 11, 2014 4:01 PM

    Now the elephant in the room has been overstated.

  4. thegreatgabbert says: Jun 11, 2014 4:07 PM

    Panthers spent their budget propping up Newt with the best that money could buy his first three seasons in the league. Now it’s time to pay the piper.

  5. grendelg says: Jun 11, 2014 4:09 PM

    Their WR’s aren’t good, but that’s only part of the problem. They also lost their LT and didn’t replace him so Cam won’t even have time to let the crappy receivers try to get open.

  6. mitchitized says: Jun 11, 2014 4:11 PM

    They got a good deal when they grabbed Cotch. He was a favorite of mine, and was a tough, clutch dude who came down with the ball when it was needed.

    Now my Stillers have a zillion YACrabbits that can all run 4.3 forties, but only Antonio Brown can catch.

    Totally missing Cotch, and wishing him the best in his new home. Dude’s a baller.

  7. pilot2011 says: Jun 11, 2014 4:14 PM

    well Greg Olsen was the leading “receiver” for the Panthers last year. Add Olsen with Benjamin, Cotchery, and Avant and it really isn’t that bad of receiving core.

    Side note, the biggest question mark is the O-line. The backfield of Williams/Stewart/Tolbert has potential to be the best trio in the league if the hog’s upfront can block.

    Not real sure how so many are down on the Panthers, especially knowing that that defense only got stronger in the off-season.

  8. janvanflac says: Jun 11, 2014 4:14 PM

    Jason Avant is a great person and a true professional but has lost a step he couldn’t afford to lose. Underwood is a career fringe player. Cotcherry had a couple of good years about 10 years ago. KB could be a beast, or a bust. It doesn’t look like a great group.

  9. pantherfan40 says: Jun 11, 2014 4:18 PM

    the so called experts will hate on us all off season then theyll be bowing down to us after week 3

  10. pantherfan40 says: Jun 11, 2014 4:22 PM

    people are brain washed by the media and they forget we still have our front 7 with much more depth , we have a better secondary , and although we have lost gross we have alot of our offensive line coming back from injurys from last season

  11. jgedgar70 says: Jun 11, 2014 4:38 PM

    I continue to ask, why everyone insists Cotchery is garbage? You can talk all you want to about Sanders, Brown, Miller, etc., but when the Steelers needed a red zone catch, it was Cotchery who was catching it. No, he’s not 22 years old, but he is money in the red zone. It doesn’t matter if Avant has lost a step. He was never a burner to start with; he’s a possession receiver. That’s what Smith had become with us the last 2 years. And why all the “quotes” around Olsen when quoting his stats? The Saints tight end is their leading receiver, and no one is complaining. And the people calling Benjamin a bust before he ever plays in a real game are just people who hate Florida State and/or the Panthers and they are just screaming their “hope” that he doesn’t make it. Just because you hate a player, school or NFL team is not an accurate predictor of the player’s success.

    Our receiving group is just fine, thank you. So is our entire defense and O-line, outside of left tackle. That’s the only severe deficiency we have. No worries, we’ll just have the bowling ball wearing #35 take out the blitzer on that side.

    The Panthers death has been greatly exaggerated.

  12. motsuret06 says: Jun 11, 2014 4:42 PM

    And I say again “Gettleman has a plan” to go from 12-4 to 4-12 Nuff said.

  13. tennesseeoilers says: Jun 11, 2014 5:09 PM

    The press did the Panthers a huge favor when they labeled Benjamin, Cotchery, Avant and Olsen as the worst corp coming into the ’14 season. … I mean, seriously? … Even if this fire hadn’t been lit, these guys would’ve proven to be middle of the pack. Now, they’re set up for some serious over-achieving.

    – Titans Fan

  14. teek77 says: Jun 11, 2014 5:22 PM

    All these Jag-u-ars, badmouthing the Panthers!!! I guess there is nothing else worthwhile to read about in Jacksonville so they have to go trolling on other team sites. I know the Jags receiving corp has to be ranked up there near the top……just like their Quarterback(s)!!

  15. corkspop says: Jun 11, 2014 6:13 PM

    New WR group will need some time to come together and also to mesh well with Cam Newton. They’ll be fine. By the end of the season, they may be better than last year’s group.

  16. jcrileyesq says: Jun 11, 2014 6:13 PM

    12-4 to 8-8 easily, no way they go 5-1 in the division again, and 4-0 against Atlanta and Tampa.

  17. dstep24 says: Jun 11, 2014 6:32 PM

    Yeah, but what about you Cam? Are you up to the challenge. The elephant in the room just might be a 6’6, 260-pound quarterback who has awful foot mechanics in the pocket, stares down his primary read, and sails about half of his throws. There aren’t many receivers who can take THAT challenge on.

  18. vikesr4reel says: Jun 11, 2014 7:29 PM

    Can is a total joke of a QB!!

  19. qdog112 says: Jun 11, 2014 9:03 PM

    Hope Cam is right, but everyone knows we don’t have a WR1. Nobody is picking on the Panthers, they’re just looking at the players: WRs, OL and poor GM moves.

    The new receivers aren’t terrible, but they are not gonna put fear in any defense. Word is, Rivera will use a 2 TE set with Olsen and Dickson playing those roles.

    Cam badly needed OL and playmaker help. He didn’t get it. Makes you wonder if Gettleman is sabotaging Rivera and Cam.

  20. gotdressedinabooth says: Jun 12, 2014 6:54 PM

    Defense guys. what’s the old adage again?

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