On Thursday, we got to know defensive tackle Kerry Hyder. The San Francisco 49ers also signed a veteran wide receiver this past week. Travis Benjamin played under Kyle Shanahan. He also spent time with the Chargers the past few seasons. Michael Peterson joins us today to give us a better perspective on what we can expect from Benjamin.
Can you recap Benjamin’s time with the Chargers?
Benjamin was signed prior to the 2016 season, which ended up being his most-productive year with the Chargers due to Keenan Allen tearing his ACL in week one. He finished that year with 47 catches for 677 yards and four scores. His stats regressed a little the next season with a healthy Allen, but he was still serviceable, catching 34 passes for 567 yards and another four touchdowns. In ‘18, WRs Tyrell and Mike Williams solidified themselves as the second and third wideouts behind Allen, which left Benjamin on the outside looking in. He will be remembered for making a pair of clutch catches against the Chiefs in Arrowhead late in that season but, aside from that, didn’t offer much value or production during his final two years in LA.
What’s the reaction to Benjamin leaving?
The entire Chargers fan base jumped for joy when it was announced that Benjamin was released. He fell out of favor early and often with fans once he started dropping passes far too often. Quite a few of Philip Rivers’ interceptions over the last three years were targets meant for Benjamin, usually when he was double-covered. Although it wasn’t his fault and he didn’t force Rivers to throw him the ball, he nonetheless became loathed heavily.
What are Benjamin’s strengths?
In all honesty, it’s hard to find any “strength” he brought to the team. Yes, he was fast, but his speed didn’t equate to getting open all that often. He had his fair share of touchdowns where he simply ran behind the defense, and I think Benjamin even had more than one punt/kick return for a touchdown while in LA, but nothing he did ever really made up for the bad he caused.
What are Benjamin’s weaknesses?
Benjamin’s weaknesses were his fear of contact and propensity to drop passes. One of the most embarrassing moments that Chargers fans had to live through involving Benjamin was the time he ran BACKWARDS on a punt return and wound-up taking a safety. I mean, it can’t really get much worse than that. It was pitiful. Far too often, he would lose yardage on kick/punt returns because he didn’t want to get touched. It wasn’t in his blood to lower his shoulder at any point.
What do we need to know about Benjamin that the box score won’t tell us?
The box score actually tells you a pretty accurate story of his time with the Chargers. When he had a starting spot and was forced targets, he produced to an average degree. In his final two seasons with the Bolts, it became obvious he wasn’t up-to-par with the rest of the receivers, and he held the team back more than he propelled them forward.