Panthers cornerback Captain Munnerlyn is well aware of how difficult his matchup this week will be against Miami receiver Jarvis Landry.
But is the rest of the league?
“Sometimes I don’t think he gets the respect he deserves because he’s more like a slot guy,” Munnerlyn said when asked about Landry. Then he cleared his throat before going on. “Ahem, ahem, that’s how I feel, too.”
Munnerlyn, like Landry, plays primarily out of the slot, a position he said means he often doesn’t get the defensive respect that his play warrants.
“They don’t respect the slot position, man, on both sides,” Munnerlyn said. “You can’t even get my name on the Pro Bowl ballot, you know what I’m saying? So it’s kind of different with those (outside) guys.”
Landry has developed into one of the NFL’s top receivers in his four years in the league, setting an NFL record for most receptions by a player in his first four seasons with 344 catches. That comes ahead of names like Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald, two players with legitimate Hall of Fame resumes. His penchant for targets is rivaled only by his reputation for physicality, including a propensity for blocking on running plays. He has 56 catches for 430 yards and four touchdowns this season.
Munnerlyn, on the other side of the matchup, played only 35 percent of Carolina’s defensive snaps against Atlanta last week. Still, Munnerlyn said he loves his matchup this week – and that it’s about time slot guys get the respect they deserve.
“Playing the slot, everybody looks at us like, ‘Oh, he’s just the No. 3 guy.’ He’s not,” Munnerlyn said of Landry. “He’s their guy. That’s where most of the action goes down, on third down and the like, so you’ve got to have a good slot guy.”