Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve l Smith didn't back away from his “no longer an asset,” statements from Sunday. When quarterback Jake Delhomme was asked, he essentially agreed with Smith.
Smith left Tampa Bay frustrated, even though the Panthers won their second straight game, 28-21. Mostly, he was cranky because he caught one pass for 4 yards and was an afterthought on a day when the Buccaneers dared the Panthers to run — and Carolina took them up on it. With the Bucs playing seven in the box to keep Smith from beating them deep, the Panthers ran 48 times for 267 yards, while passing just 17 times.
So Smith had a burr under his saddle, something Delhomme understood.
“Steve and I talked,” Delhomme said Wednesday. “You've got to understand, we all know him. This is a competitive guy, who has a drive and a fire like no other. I'm sure he was frustrated. I get frustrated, too. Because I'm trying to get him the ball, too, because I know what he can do with it in his hands. I can understand that, and he knows that. It was a little frustrating for him.
“But today, you guys were out at practice, this guy practiced at a different level today. It was something out there today. He's channeling that energy, that fire, whatever it is to getting better. Because we all need to get better in the passing game.”