Panthers HC Ron Rivera has taken to giving Steve L Smith occasional days off, and he plans to do more of it.
“The thing about Steve I’ll always be impressed with is how hard he does everything. Not just on the football field. Everything he does, he gives 100 percent,” Rivera said. “He really does put his all into it. I think that’s why he’s been able to sustain it for such a long time.
“I think we have to be smart with Steve, make sure we put him in position to take advantage of his abilities and maximize his time and not waste his time or his reps. So he’s getting quality reps and quality plays.”
Smith didn't catch a TD until Week 9, but finished with four TDs in his final nine games (which coincided with QB Cam Newton's improved play). He's turning 34 in May, but as long as he's seeing 8+ targets per game, he should be a solid fantasy contributor. He was the #19 WR in 2012, yet he's been going 32nd in early 2013 drafts.