Inside the Panthers

Panthers won’t use more read-option to make up for loss of Kelvin Benjamin

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton yells for the music to start as the team stretched on Wednesday. He won’t be running more zone-read, coach Ron Rivera said, to make up for the absence of Kelvin Benjamin
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton yells for the music to start as the team stretched on Wednesday. He won’t be running more zone-read, coach Ron Rivera said, to make up for the absence of Kelvin Benjamin jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

You can cross “more read-option plays” off your list of things the Carolina Panthers may try in their offense following the loss of Kelvin Benjamin.

Wednesday after practice, coach Ron Rivera shot down the idea of the team reverting back to read option that was so heavy in Carolina’s 2011 and 2012 offenses.

The Panthers have tried to make Cam Newton more of a pocket passer and don’t want to regress just because of the loss of a receiver, albeit their top receiver in Benjamin.

Also, with Newton’s $103.8 million contract extension, Carolina doesn’t want Newton running as much as he did in his first two seasons in the NFL.

“I don’t think we’re going to do any more than we’ve done in the past,” Rivera said. “The thing we’re waiting for is for Devin (Funchess) to be healthy and get him out on the football field. He runs a lot of the same type of routes (as Kelvin). He’s almost as imposing a target as Kelvin and the biggest thing with him is the confidence that he plays with as he develops.

“Guys like (Corey Brown) have to continue to step up. He can’t have the type of start he had last week. (Jerricho) Cotchery obviously will play a bigger role. And it’s interesting because we’ve got so many young guys that have been put in position to make plays.

“And then of course the one guy that’s been the constant has been Greg Olsen. We’ve got to find other creative ways to make sure he’s open and get him the ball.”

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