Panthers ‘retool,’ cut Benwikere
Four games removed from a Super Bowl appearance, the Panthers secondary is in need of “retooling.”
The struggling Panthers (1-3) abruptly cut starting cornerback Bene Benwikere on Friday, five days after giving up 503 yards passing to Matt Ryan and 300 yards receiving to Julio Jones in a 48-33 loss to the Falcons.
Benwikere, who started all four games this season, allowed 228 yards and a touchdown on eight catches to Jones.
The decision means Carolina will have three different starters in the secondary when they host the Buccaneers on Monday night. Cornerback James Bradberry said he won’t play because of a turf toe injury, while safety Tre Boston will be benched in favor of recently acquired veteran Michael Griffin.
“We’re trying to put it together so we can move forward,” coach Ron Rivera said. “It’s a big part of retooling this football team. It’s tough.”
Meanwhile, quarterback Cam Newton missed his third straight practice while remaining in concussion protocol. Derek Anderson is expected to start. Titans-Dolphins still on: The matchup between the Titans and Dolphins in Miami will go ahead as scheduled, the Dolphins announced.
Concerns that the game might need to be moved to Nashville, Tenn., were eased when the brunt of Hurricane Matthew stayed to the east of Miami when it passed.
“The consensus from local, state and federal officials is that Miami is safe and equipped to put on the game,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy said. “Hosting the game there would not draw resources away from other needs.” Kelly calls out offense: 49ers coach Chip Kelly wouldn’t commit to quarterback Blaine Gabbert and said the entire offense is on notice after the team’s fourth straight loss Thursday night.
“I don’t have any answers for anybody,” Kelly said. “I don’t know who’s going to start against Buffalo. Our entire offense didn’t play well. So, we need to get something straightened out offensively.”
Kelly said he will evaluate his entire offense, which could mean considering a promotion for backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who missed the bulk of the offseason recovering from surgeries on his left shoulder, right thumb and left knee.
A report by NFL Network said the 49ers are working on a restructured deal with Kaepernick that would alleviate concerns regarding injury guarantees in his current deal. Extra points: Broncos coach Gary Kubiak declined to name QB Trevor Siemian (left shoulder) the starter for the team’s game against the Falcons until Siemian is put through a more rigorous practice on Saturday. ... Chargers DE Joey Bosa is scheduled to make his debut Sunday against the Raiders. … Jaguars G Luke Joeckel will miss the rest of the season after having surgery to repair a torn ACL, torn MCL and torn lateral meniscus. ... The Patriots placed QB Jacoby Brissett on injured reserve with a right thumb injury.