Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams was shocked to learn that none of the wide receivers who caught passes for Carolina last year would be back this year.
Asked on NFL AM about the departure of veteran receiver Steve Smith, Williams said he hated to see Smith go, but it went beyond just that. Williams said that he doesn’t know what the front office is thinking at the receiver position.
“We lost them all,” Williams said of the Panthers’ receivers. “That was tough, man. I played with Steve for eight years, and I know the chip he has on his shoulder, and he’s a playmaker. I couldn’t believe that we made those moves. Like, I’m still in shock. Not only did we lose him, but Ted Ginn Jr., Brandon LaFell, and [Domenik] Hixon.”
Asked if he feels that losing receivers puts more pressure on the running backs, Williams answered, “No, it puts more pressure on our front office because you make these moves, getting rid of four receivers, you’ve got to bring in guys.”
So far, the guys the Panthers have brought in are Jerricho Cotchery, Jason Avant and Tiquan Underwood. Williams was careful not to criticize his new teammates, but he clearly isn’t convinced that the Panthers can be as good in the passing game this year as they were last year. In that skepticism of the Panthers’ receiving corps, Williams is far from alone.