Steve Smith has produced just like Ron Rivera and the Carolina Panthers have expected to this season. But the head coach knows the team needs to find downfield targets besides Smith for the vertical passing game to be successful.
Smith is the only listed wide receiver to have more than one catch for the Panthers in each of the past two games. No. 2 wideout Brandon LaFell had only one grab against the Giants and Falcons combined, and quarterback Cam Newton has spread the ball around to different targets in the past two games.
Weve got to find ways, if teams are starting to roll toward Steve a little more, weve got to find ways to get him open, Rivera said. Secondly if were going to do some of the things we need to do, we have to expose other players to get ball in their hands. Weve looked at other options. Listening to (offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski) talk about it, it seems like we are trying to create more opportunities not just for Steve but for the other guys.
Tight end Greg Olsen has 13 catches for 187 yards in the past two games after a slow start to the season. Last week, eight Panthers had at least one catch.
We saw the ball go to the tight end, to the backs, Rivera said. As long as were being productive and putting 28 points on the board, youre giving yourself a chance to win.