The Carolina Panthers' receiving corps is often referred to as a bunch of no-name players. That the group is pointed to as the weakness of the NFC champions sticks in the craw of receivers coach Ricky Proehl.
"It pisses me off, I ain't going to lie to you," Proehl said, via the Arizona Republic. "These guys have developed into such a great group that plays for each other, and I think that's important."
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When the Panthers lost Kelvin Benjamin for the season with an ACL tear, Panthers fans cringed at the idea of a crew led by a drop-prone Ted Ginn Jr., rookie Devin Funchess, aged Jerricho Cotchery, Philly Brown, Brenton Bersin, etc.
Proehl believes the loss of Benjamin galvanized the unit.
"We know we lost a great receiver in Kelvin Benjamin," Proehl said. "He brings so much to the table: size, strength, quickness. He's a Number 1, plain and simple, and we don't have that. But we have a group of guys who have a lot of grit, heart.
"I think that's part of what I bring to the table, understanding who they are and what their strengths are and transferring that information to coach (Mike) Shula."
Proehl pointed to the diverse set of attributes each brings to the field, from speed (Ginn) to size (Funchess) to route running (Cotchery), which allows the offense to continue to be prolific.
"From Ted Ginn, who was a bust for so many people," Newton said. "I heard Jerricho Cotchery was washed up 10 years ago, Philly Brown had no hands, Devin Funchess was too high of a pick for the Carolina Panthers, Brenton Bersin, who knows who he is?
"But for us, we didn't let anyone else dictate to us that we knew what we were capable of."
Once again the Panthers' receivers will lack the star power of their opponent on Sunday, but the Carolina crew is perfectly capable of lifting a Lombardi Trophy.