It’s not under the circumstances he’d like, but Carolina Panthers rookie receiver Devin Funchess is slated to get his first NFL start in Sunday’s game against Washington.
Funchess will likely take the place of second-year receiver Philly Brown, who’s doubtful this week with a shoulder injury, after two weeks of solid production.
“You guys say it’s me stepping up, but I’m just going out there when the ball comes my way,” Funchess said. “I’m just going out there to catch it. I get however many targets so I just try to make the best of them.”
After going through the first six games of the season with nearly as many drops as receptions (six), Funchess has played the past two games with zero drops and five catches for 112 yards.
The slow start could be attributed in part to hamstring injuries that Funchess suffered in preseason, as well as the usual rookie adjustment to the league.
“In college I was thrown into the fire,” Funchess said. “Here it’s just working my way up and coming off that injury from preseason and just getting into the groove of things.”
Brown’s injury came during Thursday’s practice when he tried to make a move and swung his arm. He felt a pinch in his shoulder – the same one he injured in the playoff game against Arizona last season.
With Funchess taking over as the starter, the Panthers will likely have Brenton Bersin active as the fourth receiver. It’s possible, though unlikely, Kevin Norwood will be active.