CHARLOTTE – Wide receiver
"Steve actually improved a lot," head coach Ron Rivera said. "And in Steve's way, he basically said, 'If I had to, I'd play this weekend.' He probably couldn't, but he'd have tried."
When asked if Smith would be able to play next week if the Panthers play in the Wild Card round, Rivera replied: "I'd like to believe so."
With Smith inactive,
As for the top three receivers –
"I'm interested, I really am," Rivera said. "Brandon has done nothing but get better and make strides as a football player. It'll be good to see as far as Ted Ginn's concerned and Domenik Hixon, quite honestly. These three guys have done some really good things for us. This will be an opportunity to really gauge where we are."
With Cole out, Rivera said three defensive ends with slide inside to play defensive tackle in certain situations.
"We'll do like we've done in the past," Rivera said. "Greg (Hardy) will have to roll (inside) a little bit.
"They took an X-ray just to be sure," Rivera said. "He should be fine."