The second-round pick out of Michigan caught three passes for 71 yards and a touchdown. He had only 90 yards receiving entering the game.
I thought the snap counts might increase after Funchess caught a 14-yard pass over the middle in traffic against New Orleans in Week 3, but it didn’t happen. After getting snaps the following week against Tampa Bay, he went from 24, 18 and then 10 snaps against Indianapolis.
But the performance against Green Bay felt different. The 52-yarder he caught over the middle with tight defense gave you a glimpse of what the Panthers saw when they drafted him and what they have seen in practice. That was a huge confidence builder. Then came the 14-yard touchdown. Funchess was so excited that he wouldn’t give the ball to quarterback Cam Newton for his “Sunday Giveaway’’ program to kids. Newton understood and let Funchess keep the ball.
The author said he can see Carolina increasing Funchess’ role, but probably not to the level of Kelvin Benjamin. Funchess can play all three receiver positions, and he creates mismatches against smaller defensive backs that the Panthers were looking for when they drafted him. There typically comes a point with every rookie receiver where things begin to click. If the Green Bay game was one for Funchess, the Panthers won’t have any choice but to increase his snaps, the story said.