Even though Ben Jacobs doesn’t have a prominent role with the Carolina Panthers, he’s making the best of it and helping the team during its undefeated start to the season.
The former Fresno State star linebacker has played mostly on special teams for the 8-0 Panthers, including two special team tackles in their 37-29 victory over the Green Bay Packers.
Carolina next heads to Nashville to face the Tennessee Titans on Sunday – and Jacobs said the team is a prime target across the league because of its record.
“It’s a constant reminder that you have to keep performing,” Jacobs said after practice Wednesday. “We have a target on our backs now. Everyone we play is looking to be the ones to knock that perfect record off. We have to take it week by week and be prepared. I think our success can be attributed to our preparation. We focus on the opponent every week.”
We have a target on our backs now. Everyone we play is looking to be the ones to knock that perfect record off. We have to take it week by week and be prepared.
Former Fresno State star Ben Jacobs on the Panthers’ unbeaten start
Jacobs, who entered the league as an undrafted free agent with Cleveland in 2011, is in his third season with the Panthers after spending time on the practice squad with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2012. He signed as a free agent with Carolina in early 2014.
“I think a lot of our success is not looking forward and not looking back – just focusing on the opponent and not the outside noise,” Jacobs said.
He also credited the Panthers’ success to their special teams’ play.
“Every week we’ve got a guy coming up making a big play for us,” he said. “We’ve got Brad (Nortman) punting lights-out and putting our punt coverage team in great position to cover a kick or a returner. I don’t think anyone in the NFL can cover our gunners one-on-one. They play hard and make plays for us. We have everyone contributing and I think that’s where our success comes from.”
▪ Davante Adams (Fresno State) led the Green Bay Packers in receiving yards with 93 yards and also caught a two-point conversion pass from Aaron Rodgers with 7:54 remaining.
Et cetera – Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (Fresno State) passed for 301 yards, hitting 24 of 44 and passing for four touchdowns with one interception in Oakland’s 38-35 loss at Pittsburgh. He is the second Raider with four 300-yard games through the team’s first eight contests (the other was Rich Gannon in 2002). Carr has 19 touchdown passes this season, the most by a Raider through eight games since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. He is the third Raider with four touchdown passes in back-to-back games and the first since the 1970 merger (Cotton Davidson in 1964 and Tom Flores in 1963).
▪ Steelers safety Robert Golden (Edison) had two tackles against the Raiders.
▪ Chicago receiver Marquess Wilson (Tulare) had a reception for 15 yards in the Bears’ 22-19 victory at San Diego. Wilson was targeted three times. Chargers left guard Kenny Wiggins (Fresno State) got the start.
▪ Cincinnati safety Derron Smith (Fresno State) had a special teams tackle in the Bengals’ 31-10 win over Cleveland. Bengals linebacker Chris Carter (Fresno State) didn’t record a tackle. Browns receiver Marlon Moore (Fresno State) had a kickoff return for 29 yards.
▪ Philadelphia running back Ryan Mathews (Fresno State) had 11 carries for 67 yards and a touchdown to help the Eagles to a 33-27 win over the Dallas Cowboys. Mathews was targeted once. Philadelphia linebacker Mychal Kendricks (Hoover) had five tackles and a sack for a loss of 6 yards. He also had two tackles for loss and a quarterback hit. Eagles receiver Seyi Ajirotutu (Fresno State) played on special teams but didn’t have a tackle. Cowboys fullback Tyler Clutts (Clovis/Fresno State) didn’t record a stat.
▪ Denver tight end Virgil Green (Tulare) had a reception for 13 yards as the Broncos fell to the Indianapolis Colts 27-24.
▪ Minnesota rookie linebacker Eric Kendricks (Hoover) was inactive because of a rib injury for the Vikings’ 21-18 victory against St. Louis, which was without safety T.J. McDonald (Edison) due to a foot injury.
▪ New Orleans defensive tackle Tyeler Davison (Fresno State) had a tackle in the Saints’ 34-28 loss to the Tennessee Titans.
▪ Atlanta tackle Bryce Harris (Tulare/Fresno State) was inactive for the Falcons’ 17-16 loss against the San Francisco 49ers.
▪ Washington tight end Anthony McCoy (Bullard) was inactive as the Redskins lost 27-10 to the New England Patriots.