CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Coach Ron Rivera believes Brandon LaFell's emergence as a reliable No. 2 receiver is the key to Carolina's success this season.
Rivera says the third-year receiver is finally "getting it," which translates to fewer double teams for Steve Smith and bigger roles for the running backs.
LaFell's stat line Sunday against the New Orleans Saints may not turn a lot of heads -- six catches for 90 yards.
But the Panthers know just how significant LaFell was in their 35-27 win, as well as his potential impact on the offense this season.
His performance against the Saints helped the Panthers (1-1) pile up 463 yards.
Carolina looks to keep that momentum going Thursday night against the New York Giants.