The game against the Baltimore Ravens Thursday night will be 362 days since the last game Kelvin Benjamin appeared in. That was the Carolina Panthers first preseason game of the 2015 season and Benjamin finished the game with three receptions, 36 yards and one touchdown.
However, Benjamin suffered an ACL injury shortly after that game and he was forced to miss the remainder of the season.
The Panthers' star wide receiver is fully healed and has looked very good in training camp so far this season. There is a difference though between practice and playing in game situations against another team.
This game, the stats won't be the important part, but rather how he looks on the field.
How is he cutting? How fast is he running? These will be good indications not only how the knees feel but how confident Benjamin feels in.
The coaching staff hopes to find another running back on this roster who can help take some of the work off veteran Jonathan Stewart.
The logical choice would be second-year running back Cameron Artis-Payne, who had a quiet rookie season with only 45 rushing attempts.
The former Auburn Tiger also has had a great training camp and Ron Rivera recently praised him for his improvement in pass protection. This improvement should really help his chances of earning more carries in 2016.
This game against the Ravens will be a great opportunity for him to showcase himself, considering starters typically don't play much past a series or two.
The Panthers tight end situation seemed to be fairly clear cut entering training camp with Greg Olsen, Ed Dickson and recently drafted Beau Sandland. This didn't leave much room for Scott Simonson, but the coaching staff may need to find room for the tight end.
"Scott Simonson is most certainly playing himself onto the roster, that’s for sure," Ron Rivera said. "He’s done some really nice things. He’s just got to continue that."
Simonson was with the Panthers last year and finished the year with one reception for 10 yards. Even though he has had a strong camp, his roster spot is not set in stone and he will need to have strong preseason games to help his case.