Smith hungering for success

CHARLOTTE – It took until the fourth quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals before Panthers rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen connected with wide receiver Steve Smith in Clausen's first NFL start.

Smith isn't famous for his patience, and he showed some impatience with Clausen on the sideline Sunday.

Wednesday, away from the heat of battle, Smith offered further food for thought.

"You have to have chemistry, but I think chemistry develops as you make plays together," Smith said. "You can't learn anything by just watching. You can't learn how to make a sandwich by watching somebody else make it. When you're actually doing it and see your mistakes, that's how you learn."

Smith, who caught three passes for 22 yards in the fourth quarter of the 20-7 loss, said he was encouraged by what he saw from Clausen in his debut as starter.

"I think Jimmy did as best as he could with the current situation," Smith said. "I think he, like everybody else, probably would want to take some throws back and some decision-making. Myself, it's the same way.

"It's a loss, so in a loss it's hard to have positives because in the end you didn't do a good enough job for everybody. But I think he did very good. I think he learned a lot of things."

Clausen, who completed 16 of 33 passes for 188 yards and a touchdown, said that he and Smith are on the same page.

"There really wasn't anything between me and Steve. It was just his competitiveness as a football player," Clausen said. "He wants the ball, and I think it's a good thing for your receivers to want the ball as much as they can get it."
Through three games, Smith has caught 11 passes for 163 yards and has accounted for both of the Panthers' receiving touchdowns. The rest of the team's wide receivers have combined to make 10 receptions for 156 yards.

"I think they're doing a good job. I think they're developing at their own pace," Smith said of his fellow wideouts. "The games that we're playing and the way they're ending, we're just scratching and clawing, so they're just trying to get through, just like I am.

"I think it's unfair to say week by week what they're doing good and what they're doing bad. You can really evaluate at the end of the whole season."

The Panthers passing game will face a daunting challenge this Sunday, when Carolina visits the reigning Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints. Smith said that in past visits to the Louisiana Superdome, the echoes have forced him to settle for reading the lips of the quarterback.

Despite the team's slow start, Smith is still licking his lips.

"I'm not full; that's for sure," Smith said. "There's a lot on my plate. I'm not any less hungry than I have been for the last 10 years."

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