Panthers like what they’re seeing from rehabbing Kelvin Benjamin

AP

The Panthers were able to cover up their distinct lack of receiving targets for most of a 15-1 season and the playoffs, but in the Super Bowl, it became glaring again.

So it was good news for coach Ron Rivera to know he’s a step closer to solving that problem without adding a free agent or a draft pick.

Via Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer, Panthers wideout Kelvin Benjamin is progressing well after tearing his ACL in training camp, training alongside Stephen Hill who suffered the same injury in camp days earlier.

“He and Stephen have worked very hard to get themselves where they are. They’ve both been out on the field running and cutting with the trainers and [Kelvin] will do some limited things in practice to bring him along gradually,” Rivera said. “We expect to have him on the field doing some things for us as he progresses toward training camp.”

The Panthers were able to scheme around the lack of their No. 1 receiver last year, but drops by Jerricho Cotchery in the Super Bowl (after he hadn’t dropped anything all year) and their lack of guys getting open allowed the Broncos to pummel quarterback Cam Newton up front. They made no effort to retain Cotchery as a free agent, but otherwise haven’t addressed the position this offseason.

But having Benjamin (who caught 73 passes for 1,008 yards and nine touchdowns as a rookie in 2014) back among the living can only help the Panthers get better on offense, because last year’s results don’t obscure the fact receiver was a big problem for them.