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LaFell pushing Naanee in Panthers' WR corps

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Dan Parr
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Posted Sept. 24, 2011 @ 10:04 p.m. ET
By Dan Parr

Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said this week that Legedu Naanee is still his starter opposite Steve Smith at wide receiver, even though Brandon LaFell has significantly outproduced Naanee through two games. LaFell has been targeted by QB Cam Newton 10 times and has eight catches. Newton has targeted Naanee 12 times, but he has only three receptions. Unhappy with the group of receivers complementing Smith, the Panthers signed Naanee in early August, and he was awarded the starting job over LaFell. Naanee spent the past four seasons with the Chargers, for whom Rivera and offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski worked before coming to Carolina this year. Naanee's familiarity with the system helped give him an edge over LaFell, who was learning a new offense on the fly after the lockout-shortened offseason. LaFell has made some tough, impressive grabs in the early going, but we're told there's some frustration from the coaching staff that he doesn't make all the routine plays.


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