You might expect him to be a little nervous for the first game that counts. But when asked, Benjamin laughed and smiled.
"I'm just having fun, man. I'm not nervous at all," said Benjamin, who led the Panthers with 12 catches for 193 yards and one touchdown in the preseason. "I've been playing football for a long time. I go out there, show my game and just have fun with it.
"I'm always in a good mood on the field. It's football. Not many people get to say they play the game."
Perhaps that's why he's adjusted to the NFL so well so quickly. Not once has Benjamin seemed overwhelmed.
"I just want to help the team in any way," Benjamin said. "Make plays."
"Try to run early," left tackle
Said running back
Bell, who was reminded of the 2012 season opener in Tampa Bay when the Panthers mustered just 10 rushing yards against the Buccaneers, acknowledges he and his fellow-lineman are being counted on to get Carolina's offense in gear.
"We didn't run the ball effectively (that day), and the challenge is set," Bell said. "Coach (Ron Rivera) has put it on our backs. Right now we are getting reminded of it, and I'm pretty sure we are going to get reminded of it again."
DECOUD BRACING FOR TALL TASK: In Vincent Jackson and rookie Mike Evans, Tampa Bay has one of the tallest wide receiver tandems in the NFL. Both are 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds. In addition, rookie tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins checks in at 6-foot-5 and 262 pounds.
The measurables alone make for a big challenge.
"They've got some guys that give them big targets down the field, and we just have to be tight with our coverage and be able to play the ball in the air," safety