For the big plays Kelvin Benjamin gives the Panthers, the head-shaking drops still remain.
Benjamin had two drops during Sunday’s 34-3 win against at Atlanta, and Panthers coach Ron Rivera admitted there’s a little concern that continues to happen so late into Benjamin’s rookie season.
“Yes and no. You’d love to have made those plays, and part of it is the youth,” Rivera said.
Benjamin dropped what could have been a 40-yard completion from Cam Newton on the Panthers’ second series. Carolina would go on to score a touchdown on that drive, and on the next possession Newton looked to Benjamin on a short pass that Benjamin misjudged.
“On the first big one it looked like as he was getting ready to catch it he just turned that head,” Rivera said. “And then on the one that was outside, I think he might have underestimated the width of that throw, that it was wider towards the sideline. These are all things he’s going to work on and correct, and I expect him to work hard this week and play very, very well.”
Benjamin’s 11 drops this season are tied for second most behind only Cincinnati receiver Mohamed Sanu. But Carolina offensive coordinator Mike Shula expressed little worry about Benjamin’s drops.
“He’ll be fine,” Shula said. “… I think of Cam having a receiver open and he just overthrows him. Do I get disappointed about it? No. Am I concerned about it? No. Just working on it and getting ready to play the next week.”
Black Monday: With five NFL teams in need of head coaches, could one be looking at a coach with two consecutive trips to the playoffs?
If anyone wants to call Rivera, he made it clear Monday he has no plans of going anywhere.
“I’m happy. Believe me. I am truly happy, excited,” Rivera said. “I mean I’m fired up about where we are right now. We’ve done a great job here, and I do mean it. I’m very pleased with the situation and circumstances. That’s not even a consideration. Please, don’t even throw that out there.”
The Raiders, Falcons, 49ers, Jets and Bears – where Rivera played and coached for more than a decade – are without head coaches.