The C3 podcast last night featured a phone interview with renowned Panthers writer and Black and Blue Review founder, Bill Voth. During the interview, Voth mentioned Panthers rookie receiver Kelvin Benjamin was not sharing in the revelry and merry making following the team’s big win in Atlanta on Sunday. Benjamin was down on himself because of his dropped passes, one of which may have been good for a long score. This is not an isolated incident. Benjamin has had issues with drops throughout this season. The rap on him coming out of Florida State was just that; prone to drop easy catches. This is what we are seeing now.
How can someone with the talent Benjamin has not make every catch? The talent is there. He has had some great games (three games with at least 8 receptions for over 100 yards) and he has had an incredibly productive rookie season with 73 rec for 1,008 yards with 9 touchdowns.
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And as you can see on the chart, Benjamin has had games where he has been a complete non factor too.
The dramatic differences in games is what we should expect from a rookie receiver in the NFL. The game is much more cerebral at this level. Not to say Benjamin is dumb, it’s just the game is much more complicated. The quarterback and receiver have to see the same thing in regards to coverage. If they don’t then you will see passes going one direction and the receiver going in another. Then the receiver must recognize when the defense is blitzing and based on where the blitz is coming from, how to adjust his route. This may not seem like much but when you have to see and decipher these things as you walk to the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped, it can take most of your attention. This could be where the disconnect is. Benjamin is so focused on getting his read right, he may lose concentration when it comes to catching the ball.
We know Benjamin has talent. He has made amazing catches this year. It’s the drops that baffle us. He must remember the great ones, (Rice, Irvin, Carter, and Moss) all had drops. But they could forget about it and go on to the next play. Benjamin does not need to be down on himself, he should realize that the next game/play will provide him A Shot at Redemption.
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