The fact that Panthers WR Steve Smith's X-rays were negative is good news, but it hardly means the Panthers are out of the woods.
Now that the initial panic has subsided, it seems clear that Smith's going to miss the preseason, which shouldn't be that great of a concern. What should be is what happens when he comes back.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Herald
Smith's game is played in the air. His best attribute is his ability to go up and get balls over cornerbacks and safeties. But as good as he is, he's never beaten gravity one-on-one.
The landings are going to be watched more carefully when he gets back. And depending on the severity of the injury, his ability to reach around people to get those passes might be compromised as well.
That's a huge problem for the Panthers on multiple fronts.
Without a healthy Smith, there's not as much reason for opponents to honor the deep ball. Without that deterrent, it makes it harder to run, no matter who the backs are or how good the offensive line is.
For the moment, the onus will be on Dwayne Jarrett to make more plays. We know what veteran Muhsin Muhammad can do, though you can't expect him to replicate his 2004 sans Smith campaign at age 36.
Behind them, you have the indistinguishable lot of Ryne Robinson, Kenny Moore, Jason Carter et. al. Throw them in a sack. Pull one out. Doesn't really matter which.
We should find out more today on the specifics of the injury. And unless an MRI reveals serious damage, he should be back. After all, he looked like he was dead last year in the preseason with an injury to the same shoulder, but came back to have a pretty good year.