WR Brandon LaFell's early performance even has made some wonder whether he should be starting in front of Legedu Naanee, who the Panthers brought in six weeks ago when they weren't impressed with any of the receivers on hand except for Smith. LaFell had a sluggish start to camp as he struggled while trying to learn the new playbook.
Said Rivera on Aug. 6th when the team signed Naanee: "Probably the biggest thing is we've had nobody step up other than Steve. We've got to find guys that are going to step up."
LaFell said that signing - and that quote - motivated him.
"Yeah, of course I took it personally," LaFell said. "It was a week into camp. ... We hadn't really gotten a chance to figure out the offense. But it's a business. (Naanee) was their guy in San Diego, he knows all the routes. He's playing well. I can't get mad. Just when I get my chance, I need to make plays."
When reminded of that quote Wednesday, Rivera said of LaFell: "Maybe we were a little impatient, to be honest. Maybe we wanted too much right away."
Rivera said he's happy with how Naanee has played - although he has three catches compared to LaFell's eight - and will keep him as the starter for now.