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Grill Bill: 1,000 for Funchess?


Email from Elijah:Hey Bill, do you think that Funch has the potential to pull a 1,000-yard season this year? Would love to see him have massive success given his potential and size, and we need that true Number 1 Wideout! Keep Pounding!


Think about this: 

—Last season, Devin Funchess finished with 840 receiving yards.

—After Kelvin Benjamin was traded midway through the season, Funchess averaged 60.4 receiving yards over eight games. Multiply that by 16, and you get 966.4.

—But a sore shoulder slowed Funchess down for the season's final four games. So perhaps a better barometer is his first four games without Benjamin when Funchess averaged 86.5 yards. Multiply that by 16, and you get 1,384.0.

Some caveats, though:

—Greg Olsen played in just one game and had only one reception in that four-game stretch when Funchess averaged nearly 90 yards.

—The additions of DJ Moore, Torrey Smith and Jarius Wright – plus a healthy Curtis Samuel and Damiere Byrd – could drop Funchess' targets back closer to the days when Benjamin was around. 

But Funchess certainly has the talent to hit 1K.

For what it's worth, unless we're talking Julio Jones-like talents, I don't think Norv Turner needs or even wants a true No. 1 wideout. 

Website submission from Randy in Goose Creek, S.C.: Do players have the opportunity to utilize postgame pressers to forward their social change agendas? Seems to me the right venue since they can actually verbalize what changes/actions they are actually promoting.

We don't yet know David Tepper very well, but I can tell you he's a big believer in actions > words. 

So in regards to social activism, I think you'll see the organization look for ways to work with its players on behalf of their causes. The team's social media channels and this website can do a better job highlighting the work players do in their communities. And with social issues at the forefront for so many, my guess is Tepper will make a concerted effort to back what his guys are doing away from Bank of America Stadium. 

I mean, there's not going to be a lot said about a guy who didn't have a single touch last season or much focus on a position that's off the field more often than not. That's not to say Armah can't carve out a slightly more significant role than he had as a rookie or that Turner has no use for a fullback. It's just not all that high on a list of things to anticipate in a newish-look offense.

What could be more intriguing to watch as we go through the spring and summer is if Elijah Hood can gain some traction at fullback. 

Now that's a good point about Christian McCaffrey. Besides his hiker-turned-hero story, we haven't heard from him since last season ended. But I did chat with him after Thursday's OTA practice, and I'll write up a post from that early next week. A little nugget in advance: About those pictures that have made many wonder how much he's bulked up this offseason, McCaffrey says he's only put on about five pounds. That's all muscle, though. 

And to (non)answer your first question, it's still so early, Cameron Artis-Payne vs. C.J. Anderson isn't really a thing yet. 

Email from Tyler:Hey Bill. I've been curious on what the cornerback depth chart is looking like, who you think are locks, and who you think could be cut by the start of the season.

Again, it's still so early, locks and cuts are silly to predict at a position as up in the air as corner is on this roster. 

For what it's worth, the "starting" outside corners at OTAs this week were James Bradberry and Kevon Seymour. That makes sense since each knows the system. But free agent pickup Ross Cockrell is very much in the mix, and it's not surprising they're going to make second-round pick Donte Jackson work his way up the depth chart.

At nickel, Captain Munnerlyn's the obvious first choice right now. Seymour will also get some looks there, and while Corn Elder's healthy again, this is essentially Take 2 of his rookie season. 

I was in Atlanta on Tuesday and Wednesday, so my eyes only saw a few minutes of Thursday's session. What did they catch? 

1.) Wearing a long-sleeved hoodie and wind pants, Anderson looked a bit overdressed. 

2.) It was strange seeing a number like 47 at outside corner. That was Cockrell. 

3.) It was really strange seeing someone else (Dontari Poe) in 95, the number Charles Johnson wore the past 11 seasons. 

Which leads to … 

Because he last (and only) played for the Panthers, I suppose he'd technically retire as a Panther whenever he files his paperwork with the league. If he hasn't already.

Unless you're talking about Charles Johnson the receiver. Who I guess could also retire as a Panther ... ? 

Now we move onto the lightning round … 

Fitting Grill Bill question. 

No love for skirt steak? What about flank steak? 

I'll take all. Or just a perfectly cooked strip. 

How much time you got? 

We don't buy trophies … 

I spent way too much time thinking of this, but long thoughts, short:

50 duck-sized Julius Peppers is sorta creepy to think about, and while you could probably just kick them away, the sheer volume of the challenge gives me pause. But that's the obvious pick cause HOW WOULD YOU REACT IF YOU SAW A DUCK AS BIG AS PEPPERS?!


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