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Mike Shula: Kelvin Benjamin replaced by 'committee'

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When the Panthers overhauled their receiving corps last offseason, coach Ron Rivera emphasized a collective effort to generate 10 receptions per game.

Now that No. 1 receiver Kelvin Benjamin is out for the season, offensive coordinator Mike Shula is echoing Rivera's Moneyball approach to the position.

Shula said Wednesday that the Panthers will replace Benjamin's production "by committee," but added, via the Associated Press, that "eventually there might be a guy that emerges" as Cam Newton's go-to target.

Although Corey Brown and Ted Ginn are currently listed as the first-team receivers, with Jerricho Cotchery and Brenton Bersin next on the depth chart, it's clear that rookie Devin Funchess will be given an opportunity once he's fully recovered from a hamstring strain.

Newton has endorsed the second-round pick as a player he can trust with the game on the line. Rivera has confirmed that Funchess will now concentrate on Benjamin's "X" position.

"He runs a lot of the same type routes (as Benjamin)," Rivera added Wednesday. "He's almost as imposing a target as Kelvin. The biggest thing with him is going to be the confidence that he plays."

Although Rivera has yet to delineate defined roles, Brown revealed the coaching staff's plans for Funchess.

"Devin is going to be a big part of our offense," Brown explained, "so the faster he can get out there the better."

Because of his size and quarterback-friendly catch radius, the Panthers desperately need Funchess to separate from the committee of role players and No. 4 receivers.

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