Kelvin Benjamin injury: Making Jaguars’ season opener easier
Kelvin Benjamin is an excellent wide receiver. He was downright stunning at times during his rookie season in 2014.
Unfortunately for the Carolina Panthers, Benjamin went down with a torn ACL during practice on Wednesday. He’ll miss the entire 2015 season as a result.
It’s that kind of news that can stun a team and take the wind right out of its sails.
Benjamin is the clear no. 1 wide receiver for the Panthers and he simply won’t be there for Cam Newton and the rest of the offense like they needed.
For the Jacksonville Jaguars, this opens the door even wider for a Week 1 victory in the 2015 NFL season.
The Jags and Panthers, bonded together as expansion teams back in the 1995 season, get to check their progress in the first game of the season and it was looking to be a great clash between a playoff team and a rebuilding team surging back to relevancy.
While that still remains true, losing Benjamin is a shame. While it helps the Jaguars, it certainly isn’t the way a team run by a guy like Gus Bradley would like to see its chances improve.
Benjamin isn’t the sole offensive weapon for the Panthers, of course. Newton is a threat with his arm and legs, rookie Devin Funchess looks to be dangerous, and the running attack is underrated in my opinion. But none of them really demanded the same kind of attention that Benjamin did. He could create even with double teams and he was the kind of player defenses have to scheme for.
The injury to Benjamin doesn’t just make the game against the Jags tougher for Carolina, it makes the entire season a lot harder.
For the Jags, though, it may be just what they need to get pas the Panthers. It was a winnable game already with the chances a bit more even than they may look on paper. Now, it the Jags defense won’t have to contend with one of the best up and coming wide receivers in the league.
For those who may be unfamiliar with what Kelvin Benjamin can do, the 6’5″ wide receiver put up 1008 yards and nine touchdowns on 73 receptions last year. In three games last year he put up over 100 yards and had over five catches in seven games. He was a frequent target of Newton and showed he could be dangerous with the ball in space. There was room for improvement as a rookie and he was building on a solid first campaign before going down with injury.
It’s a shame to see players injured this close to the start of real football, but as a Jags fan I can’t help but notice that this makes the game an easier matchup.
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