When the list of inactives came out at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, I had to do a double-take when seeing rookie wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr.'s name appear. Although Marshall has not been very productive having just 14 catches for 116 yards in nine games, it was surprising to see him ruled inactive.
Was it because of the lack of production? Is it time to begin worrying if the Panthers have a bust of a 2nd round pick? Or was it to do with personnel? Here's what head coach Matt Rhule had to say about it Monday morning.
"We wanted Matt Cole up for special teams. We knew it was going to be 80 degrees down there. Myles Hartsfield has been doing a lot being the gunner with Stanley Thomas-Oliver III being out running down, so we wanted to have Matt Cole up to cover kicks and help us in the special teams game. We thought special teams would be big in this game. Obviously, we had the punt block against us. We had the punt fake which was good. We did that with Matt then I think we thought that matchup-wise vs man, just having Shi's speed out there would help us. I don't think it's an indication for Terrace long-term. I would expect Terrace to probably be up in another game. We just knew that this game was going to be a zero blitz, man-to-man."
Prior to the season, it was expected that Marshall would be the No. 3 target in the passing game. Now, it's a question of whether or not he will even dress. I wouldn't take this as a sign that Marshall will be a complete bust but it does raise some level of concern when one of the reasons he was inactive is because the staff didn't feel like he could win vs man coverage.
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