Friday, October 2, 2015, 6:45pm
Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart (tibia, probable) took full practice reps Friday after missing practice earlier in the week and is probable for Week 4. The probable tag indicates that Stewart is all but certain to play. He was a disappointment against a shaky Saints rush defense, but has another nice matchup against the Bucs, who are 26th in RB aFPA.
Thursday, October 1, 2015, 7:11pm
Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart (tibia) missed practice again Thursday. Stewart should be ready to go for Week 4, per HC Ron Rivera, though the missed practice is worrisome. He was a disappointment against a shaky Saints rush defense, but has another nice matchup against the Bucs, who are 26th in RB aFPA.
Thursday, October 1, 2015, 7:11pm
Panthers RB Mike Tolbert (groin) missed practice again Thursday. Along with Jonathan Stewart, Tolbert is looking iffy for Week 4. Stewart is expected to play, but if they’re both out, Cameron Artis-Payne and Fozzy Whittaker would split up the running back duties.
Wednesday, September 30, 2015, 6:25pm
Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart (tibia) did not practice Wednesday. Stewart should be ready to go for Week 4, per HC Ron Rivera. He was a disappointment against a shaky Saints rush defense, but has another nice matchup against the Bucs, who are 26th in RB aFPA.
Friday, September 25, 2015, 7:02pm
Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart (knee, questionable) took limited practice reps again Friday and is questionable for Week 3. Stewart has averaged 6.7 YPC in his last six games against the Saints, though the limited practices are a little worrisome. The Panthers play early on Sunday. It’s not clear who would pick up the slack if Stewart isn’t able to play.
Thursday, September 24, 2015, 6:16pm
Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart (knee) returned to limited practice reps Thursday after missing Wednesday practice. Stewart regularly gets “maintenance days” to rest his body. He has a great matchup with the Saints this week.
Wednesday, September 23, 2015, 6:12pm
Friday, September 18, 2015, 6:37pm
Thursday, September 17, 2015, 6:09pm
Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart (knee) returned to full practice reps Thursday after missing Wednesday. This is normal for Stewart. He had 22 touches for 81 yards in Week 1. It’s not a great matchup against Houston, but Stewart’s volume makes him a solid start.
Wednesday, September 16, 2015, 6:08pm
Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart (knee) did not practice Wednesday. Given his history of injuries, it’s no surprise that the Panthers are giving him a day off. He had 22 touches for 81 yards in Week 1.
Sunday, August 16, 2015, 2:00pm
He was a big-time player at Iowa before off-the-field problems sidetracked his road to the NFL.
Here's the problem: The Panthers probably won't keep more than four running backs. Jonathan Stewart is a given, as is fifth-round draft pick Cameron Artis-Payne. Jordan Todman likely will make the roster as the kickoff returner unless somebody at another position proves to be better. Fozzy Whittaker currently is listed as the second-team back, though he did little against the Bills.
So it could be a numbers game. The story added the Panthers probably can't hide Wegher on the practice squad. He's likely to be picked up by a team looking to add depth. This one will be interesting to watch moving forward.
Monday, August 10, 2015, 8:37pm
"We're usually around each other, talking about football, talking about family, doing things outside of football," Whittaker said. "We're very close."
The group is close on the depth chart as well.
Jonathan Stewart is entrenched as the starter, but Whittaker, rookie Cameron Artis-Payne and veteran newcomer Jordan Todman are trying to carve out their niche along with undrafted rookie Brandon Wegher.
"There's always competition," Whittaker said. "I'm always competing with everybody. The same pressure that somebody may feel from me, I'm feeling it from them as well. They're pushing me to get better just as I'm, hopefully, pushing them to be their best."
Whittaker has a leg up on the competition, the story said, having recorded a productive season in the Panthers' system – in stark contrast to where he stood this time last year. Stewart and DeAngelo Williams led the way a year ago, and Whittaker was an afterthought, having been signed as a free agent early in training camp because of injuries at the position. Whittaker changed that perception quickly with a remarkable training camp and preseason. Given how injury-prone Panther backs seem to be, Whittaker could be a guy owners are fighting for on the waiver wire at some point this season if he wins the RB2 job and there's an injury.
Saturday, August 1, 2015, 11:11am
"We’re still a stable of running backs," Tolbert said. "We may not be at the Kentucky Derby. We may be at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, but we’re definitely some horses back there, ready to roll.
"And we’re all healthy. That’s the main thing. We’re all healthy, so we can all go at it."
Stewart clearly is the lead horse. As the featured back the final five weeks of last season he averaged 5.3 yards per rush, second best among running backs during that span while Williams was out with an injury, the story said. Tolbert could see goal line and short yardage situations. He can play fullback and tight end too. The story added the real battle is at RB2 where the Panthers were impressed enough with the journeyman Whittaker last season that they rewarded him with a two-year deal in March. They also drafted Artis-Payne, who led the SEC in rushing at Auburn last season, believing he could be the every-down back if Stewart were injured.
David Newton: It's not so much whether Newton is capable. He didn't win the Heisman Trophy at Auburn or win the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year at Carolina for a lack of talent. The question is this: Does Newton have the talent around him to become an MVP? Aaron Rodgers didn't win the award last season without having a solid offensive line, top receivers and a running game that takes the pressure off him. Newton needs the same.
The good news, the story points out, is Cam Newton seems to have a talent pool around him now. Wide receivers Kelvin Benjamin, Devin Funchess, Corey Brown and Ted Ginn Jr., along with tight end Greg Olsen, give him plenty of capable targets. Jonathan Stewart showed again at the end of last season that, when healthy, he's a top five back. Now, the offensive line is going to be the key. Newton will also have to become a more consistent passer. While the odds may be against him for MVP, he's capable of a solid fantasy season. Newton cracks our top-10 QBs heading into camps, coming in eighth with an ADP of about the seventh round. He's another of the long list of fantasy QBs who will be around during that stage of your draft if you're set on waiting on the position.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera was non-committal as to how many times he'd like Jonathan Stewart to carry the football during a game, adding that he's encouraged by what he's seen in OTAs from young backs Fozzy Whittaker and Cam Artis-Payne.
"Honestly it's going to come down to how you are doing," Rivera said. "If you are running the ball well, obviously you are going to feed him. We would like to be able to run the ball when we have to and run the ball when we want to."
Stewart was tremendous down the stretch, averaging 105 total yards (97.0 rushing) in the final seven games, including two playoff games. He averaged 5.30 YPC in that span, including 5.13 YPC versus Arizona and 5.38 YPC against Seattle in the playoffs. Over the final five games of the regular season, he was the #10 fantasy running back. He turns 28 in March, so there is definitely some tread left on his tires. Even though he has missed 20 percent of his team's games due to injury throughout the career, he’ll be a high-upside pick in the middle rounds. The Panthers are committed to running the ball and Stewart has talent. They originally said they planned to limit him to 15 carries per game, but these comments indicate they will continue to give him the ball if he's running well.
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