Despite the fact that he often seems forgotten, third-year Carolina Panthers wide receiver Corey “Philly” Brown is an important piece of the offense.
True feature receiver Kelvin Benjamin is back, second-year man Devin Funchess is emerging and veteran Ted Ginn Jr. always gives you a big splash play or two in a game. However, Brown is a guy who always goes under the radar.
He made 11 starts a season ago, reeling in 31 passes for 447 yards and four touchdowns. As an undrafted rookie in 2014, he started three games on his way to 21 catches for 296 yards and two touchdowns along with a punt return score.
At age 24, it is clear this kid is a speedster. He compliments Benjamin, Funchess and tight end Greg Olsen very well. Also, when the Panthers went to spread it out and make it tough on defenses they can throw Ginn in their as well to add another dimension.
Brown totaled 10 receptions for 215 yards and a touchdown in last year’s postseason run. He finished with a team-high four catches for 80 yards in the Super Bowl 50 loss despite leaving in the third quarter due to a concussion.
He underwent off-season shoulder injury to repair an old issue and in the process gained 20 lbs. to reach the 200-pound mark. At 5’11”, he can beat you off the snap with one move.
Brown is focused on the task ahead much like the rest of his group that went 15-1 last season and fell just short of a Super Bowl win.
“It’s different than last year from the standpoint of no one counted on us to be as good as we were last year,” Brown said via Panthers.com. “The expectations from anyone outside of us was mediocre team at best. But this year we are at the top and everybody expects us to do this, so we have a target on our back and every team is going to bring it every week because everybody wants to knock us off.”
Last year, the Panthers wideout room wasn’t a big strength for them with Benjamin out. Funchess was still learning and Jerricho Cotchery, Ginn Jr. and Brown did the best that they could. Carolina is at its best offensively when they have a plethora of options at the wide receiver position.
They do now with Benjamin (6’5″) and Funchess (6’4”) serving as the big targets and Ginn Jr. and Brown taking on deep threat and big play roles. This will help them make more plays and give reigning MVP quarterback Cam Newton more success.
Brown has three catches for 20 yards through two preseason games. With less pressure this season that will help him find more openings and win his matchups more often than not. He played a lot of football and performed well during his college days at Ohio State.
The Panthers offense is going to take off this season and having a noticeably stronger and healthier Corey “Philly” Brown in the mix will help set the tone. Don’t rule out a career season for Brown even with the guys starting in front of him.