Newton: I can trust Devin Funchess with game on line


We're two weeks into the preseason and two teams have already seen their passing games cut off at the knees because of injuries to top receivers.

Jordy Nelson is down for the count in Green Bay, while Carolina will go through the season without the services of promising young wideout Kelvin Benjamin.

Every game, all season

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton vowed there will be "hell to pay" when Benjamin returns in 2016, but his absence today means that second-round pass-catcher Devin Funchess "has to learn at an accelerated rate."

"But I'm taking him up under my wing," Newton said of Funchess after Carolina's preseason win over the Dolphins, per "I have full confidence in Devin that he gets it, sooner rather than later."

Funchess piled up 53 yards off two catches in his preseason debut against the Bills before sitting out against Miami with a tight hamstring. Expected to play a larger role Friday against the Patriots, Funchess has already earned Newton's trust.

"He's a competitor," Newton said of the rookie. "He's a guy that wants to be great. We talk often. I'm pretty much a person that he can trust and that I know I can trust when the game comes on the line. We just need to get him to 100 percent."

Panthers receivers coach Ricky Proehl acknowledged Benjamin's injury "puts a little more pressure" on Funchess, but talked about the 6-foot-4, 228-pound rookie as possessing "all the physical tools."

"The process now has quickened," said Proehl. "He's got to play physical and play to his size and utilize his size and speed to his advantage. That's what we're working on every day."

The latest Around The NFL Podcast discusses Jordy Nelson's knee injury and gives its winners and losers from Week 2 of the preseason.