Carolina Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera has confidence in wide receiver Devin Funchess because of his high IQ.
In his rookie season, Funchess will be the number one wide receiver for the Panthers this season because of the injury to Kelvin Benjamin.
Benjamin was suppose to have a breakout year for the Panthers but suffered a knee injury earlier this week which later was revealed to be a torn ACL after an MRI scan. This injury will mean he will be out for the season.
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Funchess will have to step up to replace him on the offense as the number one receiver, but Rivera is already showing confidence in him because of his high IQ. This has allowed him to grasp the different receiving positions in the Panthers offense quickly.
The second round pick has already learnt how to play the Z and slot receiver positions, and is now grasping the X position, which is where Benjamin would have played if he was healthy.
Rivera said according to NFL.com: "Absolutely, that should help a lot. He is really a solid young man," coach Ron Rivera said of the receiver's IQ, via the Charlotte Observer. "He knows two positions, and obviously he'll concentrate on Kelvin's and work to handle that spot for us."
Quarterback Cam Newton new go-to targets now Benjamin is injured is Funchess and tight end Greg Olsen. Funchess is expected more passes coming his way. He said: "It was always my expectation for it to be a big year. It just so happened that occurred yesterday. So I guess everybody will expect more on my plate."
Funchess isn’t expected to replicate Benjamin’s numbers, as whilst he has the size to reach the ball, he doesn’t have the concentration, which will affect his red zone targets from Newton.