Yep. When Muhammad was playing with Smith, he was a limited factor in their offense. He only was a big deal when Smith was not lining up across him.
Keyshawn as it stands now would be lucky to catch 60 passes thsi year if Smith manages to play all 16 games. He's not going to be a huge factor in their offense, but nonetheless he can cause some damage to our defense. When your best options in slowing him down are a 5-9.5 Jason Webster or the better matchup Jimmy WIliams, but in his first NFL game, it doesn't look good. With our coverages gravitating towards stopping Smith, it makes Keyshawn's impact much bigger than it seems at face value. I don't expect him to catch even 5 or 6 passes, but if he can make 2 or 3 key grabs on 3rd downs to keep drives alive, that's where his biggest impact is going to be: as a big possession target over the middle of the field. That's what he did in Dallas and Tampa Bay, and New York, and I don't really see why he won't do so in Carolina, especially considering he has a better complementary receiver in Smith than he did in any of those places.
Kudos to John Fox and the Panthers front office. They have done a great job with that team over the past 5 years. They make great moves in the off-season that makes their team better, something we've only recently begun to do under McKay. Whether its Keyshawn, Ken Lucas, Ma'ak Kemoeatu, Thomas Davis, DeAngelo Williams, Mike Wahle, or whoever, they make it very hard for us to keep up with them. I don't think it's a coincidence that 2002 and 2004 were our best years, and 2003 and 2005 were their best years. In '02 and '04, they had injury and inconsistency issues, in '03 and '05 we had similar issues. So it seems to alternate, that it seems like there is only room for 1 in the NFC South in a given year.
From a historical perspective, I think you still have to believe the Saints are the Falcons biggest rivals. Both franchise mirror each other. But I think the Panthers become our biggest rival in the near-term in which team is going to challenge us the most over the next 5-10 years. I hate the Bucs more than any other team in the league, but they won't ever be considered a true rival IMO at least in the near future, because I don't respect them. I respect the Panthers and Saints. I don't think someone can be a true rival unless you respect their team and/or fan base. I just loathe the Bucs fans too much to even think of them as a rival. They are just an enemy.