I am getting about tired of the "No. 1" receiver talk at this point. The term "number 1" has become somewhat irrelevant at this point at worst, and just a lesson in semantics at best.
So if you count the borderline players, only 19 of 32 teams had a No. 1 receiver in 2013. If you don't count them, only 12 did.
Not among the 12 were Super Bowl champion Seattle, NFC South champion Carolina, AFC East champion New England, AFC South champion Indianapolis and NFC wild-card team New Orleans.
Those teams were a collective 59-21 during the regular season.
Of the 12 teams that had bona fide No. 1s, seven finished .500 or worse. Detroit, Houston, Cleveland, Atlanta and Tampa Bay were a collective 21-59. Of the four teams with true No. 1s that made the playoffs, two lost in the first round.
So when Rivera says he's not worried, he really isn't. Neither should those following Carolina, although many of you have been since the Panthers released Steve Smith.
Of course what actually defines a No. 1 receiver is up to debate, which has lessened the importance of the need for these receivers that are pretty much universally accepted as studs.
Successful offenses are more about successful schemes and balance. The teams that achieve balance typically don't need a true No. 1.
"The thing that we had to look at is we have a good group of young guys that we feel need to get opportunities,'' Rivera said. "We’ve got the draft, and there’s no secret that at some point if we’ve got a chance to draft a wide receiver we are going to do it.”
The bottom line, to be a top team you don't have to have a top receiver.
OK, Ok, I get that we don't need a true No. 1 receiver in regards to certain definitions. That being said, we do need what I refer to as legit threats at receiver to "take it to the house" on every down, or at least get big chunks of yardage on any given play. The Panthers, as well as every other team, needs play-makers.
T.Y. Hilton may not be considered a No. 1 WR right now, but he will burn you. Golden Tate is another guy in that same vein. Some don't consider Antonio Brown a true No. 1, but he will eat you alive if left alone, as will Torrey Smith, Marques Colston, Randall Cobb, etc. So I don't care what you call these types of WRs, we need legitimate play-makers. And, not just one. We need wide-outs who will rise to the occasion and make plays when the situation arises. Call them a No.1, No. 2 or whatever. Adept play-makers and play calling is what will help get us to the top, and keep us there.