DJ Moore and Calvin Ridley were destined to draw

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comparisons from the moment they were selected with back-to-back first round picks by the division rival Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons. Moore has had a noticeably slow start , if you look at box scores, whereas Ridley has lit the league on fire. The easy observation is that the Panthers missed out on a franchise player and are stuck seeing what they can get out of Moore. I wouldn’t be so quick to make that judgment.The Panthers have, for what feels like the first time, a deep, veteran group of receivers. Moore has only been on the field for a third of the offense’s snaps and even that percentage is probably artificially inflated from the Panthers’ original plans due to the lengthy injuries to Damiere Byrd and Curtis Samuel. He trails Chri 0979_977c.jpg?c=3ba0 stian McCaffrey, Devin Funchess, Torrey Smith, Jarius Wright, Ian Thomas Christian McCaffrey Jersey , and Chris Manhertz in snaps on an offense that doesn’t prioritize throwing to wide receivers. Former Panthers receiver Muhsin Muhammad pointed out as much yesterday.Meanwhile, Ridley has barely trailed the Falcons top running back in snaps. His opportunities have been more frequent. They also have not been equal. Moore doesn’t line up across the field from Julio Jones. The Panthers don’t have any threat against an opponent’s secondary that is going to make his transition easier, let alone a top three receiver. I’d be willing to bet that Moore could have matched Ridley’s 264 yards and six touchdowns through his first four games if he were on the Falcons.Head coach Ron Rivera has also long made a lot of noise about the Panthers offense not being a quick study for rookie wide receivers. This was his chorus during the developments of Kelvin Benjamin, Funchess, and Samuel. Whether or not that is a good or a bad thing is irrelevant to the argument that Moore is a disappointment. He hasn’t had the chance to be. Right now he is exactly where we thought he would be this season. Every week a Panthers coach is talking about finding ways to get him on the field more instead of making excuses for his health or development. This isn’t the team that drafted Benjamin and Moore hasn’t had the opportunity to make us suspicious of his talent. There is a reason why Ridley has four times the target volume that Moore has. His opportunities have come while his 1-3 team has been chasing points all season. That Ridley has taken advantage of them speaks well for him. It doesn’t say anything about Moore. Welcome back to the 2018 edition of Step UP or Step OUT, a series on CSR that is intended to look at players who are playing well and highlight a few that need to step their game up. Think of it as a heat index for the Carolina Panthers; guys who are playing well are stepping up and those who aren’t need to improve their game or. . . step out.This week we’ll look at some guys that really jumped off the screen during week one and need to maintain that intensity heading into our first division game against the Atlanta Falcons. The others mentioned, well. . . they need to play better or maybe just step out of the way and let someone else take over.Steppin’ UPMario AddisonHeat Rating: The tires on a Coca Cola 600 race car during the final lap.In general it was a great day for the Panthers defensive line. Dak Prescott was sacked six times, and could never truly operate comfortably in the pocket. A lot of this harassment came from Kawann Short, who we’ve come to expect excellent play from Authentic Donte Jackson Jersey , but the clutch play of the day belongs to Addison for sealing the game with a late fourth quarter strip-sack to ice things for the Panthers.Wes HortonHeat Rating: A “Cup O Noodles” straight outta the microwaveKeeping with the theme of guys playing at an elevated level, Wes Horton is continuing last seasons upward trend with excellent rotational play. He contributed one and a half sacks on the day, but more importantly showed that he could gain consistent pressure and be disciplined against the run. Horton is following that same general career arc as Mario Addison has, and in my opinion is our most underrated defensive lineman right now.Jarius WrightHeat Rating: The bug zapper on the porch during a humid summer eveningOn a day when the entire wide receiver core looked pretty sluggish and disorganized for most of the game, Jarius Wright stepped forward and made things happen. Not that he made a massive statistical impact, because no pass catcher did, but he provided that reliable third down weapon that he had proven to be in Minnesota when Cam looked his way.Steppin’ OUTDevin FunchessCold Rating: Ice cream that has been in the freezer since JanuaryWhile he came through a bit more consistently late in the game, for a guy who is supposed to be the WR1 in this offense, it’s not a good look when you run too shallow a hitch route on third down causing Cam to miss you long Youth DJ Moore Jersey , and also run the wrong route on a deep post almost running into Torrey Smith. Couple that with a couple passes that “you’d like to see him catch” and it becomes a disappointing effort.Amini SilatoluCold Rating: Think of the coldest thing you’ve ever experienced. Then throw that thing in a vat of liquid nitrogen, and send it to Pluto.Really bro? You stepped in front of an extra point snap deflecting it wide of the holder and causing the Panthers to be ahead by only two scores instead of three? God knows how many points you have single-handedly taken off the board in your time with the team. This is a new low, even for you. I really really hope you don’t even sniff the field on Sunday.Ron “River Turtle” RiveraCold Rating: More like a northern river turtle. Like, central Canadian northern.It’s really wearing me thin to see conservative playcalling nearly sink this team at the end of games week in and week out. Why can’t I just watch my team dominate the opponent and get an earlier jump on the rest of my day in the fourth quarter, without having to watch down to the final second? Jonathan DeLong captured this perfectly in his Tuesday turtle spotlight, so I won’t re-hash all the reasons here, but I just don’t get why any coach in the NFL stops doing what is working in order to try what OBVIOUSLY WON’T.

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