Carolina Panthers Preseason Recap: Kelvin Benjamin, Defense and Brandon Williams
The first exhibition game for the Carolina Panthers in 2014 has come and gone with a 20-18 loss to the Buffalo Bills at Bank of America Stadium on Friday night. While Cam Newton, DeAngelo Williams and a few other starters sat out for precautionary reasons, there were still some things to be drawn from the first preseason game for the Panthers. Here are five quick reactions to the game:
- Kelvin Benjamin Flashes Ability: It’s preseason so it’s easy to get overly excited about a player and/or performance and Kelvin Benjamin’s performance last night is a perfect example. But for the guy whose final play in college was a touchdown catch lifting Florida State to a national championship, there’s an irony to his first NFL catch going for a 29-yard touchdown. After shaking free of CB Stephon Gilmore on a go-route, Benjamin stumbled and recovered to catch the ball as he went to the ground in the endzone. Was it one play? Yes. Did it showcase the athleticism and big-play potential the Panthers saw when drafting him? Yes.
- Derek Anderson, Capable Backup QB: With the Panthers resting Cam Newton as a precaution as he continues to recover from his ankle surgery, Derek Anderson got the start v the Bills. Anderson impressed with his arm and his feet, going 5 of 7 for 65 yards with a TD and picking up two first downs with his feet, as well. Also, Anderson led the team in rushing in the first half.
- Shaky Secondary: It was deja-vu in the opening series for the Bills as they marched 78 yards on 8-plays before stuffing Buffalo twice on the goal line. The drive was reminiscent of the Buffalo game in week 2 last year when Buffalo marched down the field, scoring the game-winning TD with :02 left. The new-look secondary has been one of the main question marks heading into the season. Friday night doesn’t prove the unit won’t be effective this year, but don’t be surprised to see a feeling-out period early in the year as the unit gels.
- Wide Receiver Depth: Another area of concern as we entered the season was the new-look pass-catching corps. Seventeen different wide receivers were targeted against the Bills. Of those 17 WR’s targeted, 13 of them hauled in a catch and five of them reeled in two catches or more. Wide Receivers Coach Ricky Proehl has sung the praises of the depth of this group throughout the offseason and Friday’s showing certainly backed that up.
- Brandon Williams – Swolebones: The second-year tight-end out of Oregon lived up to his nickname “Swolebones” on Friday night. Williams, once sidelined from played college football due to a neck injury, only to turn into a college hoopster before being cleared to play football once again flashed the raw potential the Panthers saw in 2013. “Swolebones” led the team in yards (50) and touchdowns (1) in the loss to Buffalo.
And now, time for a few write-in reactions from the Bills and Panthers from those on Twitter: