Cam won't let Kelvin Benjamin go catchless again

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  • By Jeremy Bergman NFL.com
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Get Kelvin Benjamin the ball.

That's the directive out of Carolina after the wide receiver saw just one target and failed to record a catch in the Panthers' second loss of the season. Hurried by Vikings pass rushers all day to the tune of eight sacks, Cam Newton was unable to locate his stud wideout, who was simultaneously smothered by Xavier Rhodes and the Minnesota secondary.

However, against a less lethal pass rush in Atlanta this week, Cam looks to get his Benjamin battery recharged.

"That can't happen. That can't happen. And if I'm speaking for it, that won't happen again," Newton said Wednesday of Benjamin's reception shutout. "He's too good of a player, as well as Devin (Funchess) and Ted (Ginn) and those guys. Philly (Brown) had a great game, did everything the coaches asked him to do and more. We just have to find ways to stay on rhythm. We weren't running in rhythm and we have to find any and every way to stay in rhythm in a hostile environment."

Benjamin had been Newton's top outside target since the wideout returned from the knee injury that sidelined him for all of 2015. The third-year receiver caught three touchdowns in the first two weeks, earning 15.3 yards per reception on 21 targets. Benjamin remains the best goal-line threat on Carolina's offense, but to use him, the Panthers have to reach the red zone first; Carolina converted its only trip inside Minnesota's 20-yard line on Sunday.

There's no reason for Benjamin -- or his fantasy owners -- to panic; the Vikings' defense has shaken up two elite NFC offenses in consecutive weeks. However, Minnesota did expose one of Carolina's early flaws: rushing Newton will force him away from his receivers outside the numbers.

Greg Olsen remains the most prolific pass catcher on the Panthers, but if Cam's words mean anything, the quarterback will prioritize getting Benjamin the ball from now on.

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