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.
Steelers RB DeAngelo Williams is considered a bridge back until LeVeon Bell returns from suspension, but he shouldn't be alone on that bridge. The Steelers will need just as much from Dri Archer as from Williams, who signed a two-year, $4 million deal worth $1.13 million in signing bonus money but no incentives in 2015.
Williams is exactly what the money suggests he is -- a veteran who can get you 10-12 carries at a respectable clip and nothing more.
There's not much to love about the idea of starting Williams against the Patriots, 49ers and Rams during Bell's three-game suspension, but we believe that the team will try to get him closer to 15 carries per game. He should be healthy to start the season, and there are reasons why he only averaged 12.2 carries per game in his career -- he was splitting time with Jonathan Stewart and QB Cam Newton carried much of the rushing load for the Panthers. The biggest concern is Williams' 3.5 YPC last season, but he battled injuries the whole way. We think he'll provide low-end RB2 numbers while Bell is sidelined, provided he's healthy.
Monday, March 30, 2015, 12:48pm
"Jordan is a veteran running back who has had some success in the league," coach Ron Rivera said in a statement. "We think he has some return skills and we are always looking to be good in that area. At running back, he brings versatility. He is stout and physical enough to run the ball up inside, but he's got the quickness and speed to get outside to the corner."
Todman will provide depth behind Jonathan Stewart.
“The thing you’ve got to be careful about in this league is you can’t rely on one player at one position,’’ Rivera said during the NFC coaches breakfast. “Running back has definitely been proven that you’ve got to have a good two-back tandem.
“And that’s what we’re looking for. We’re looking for that complement to Jonathan.’’
Stewart averaged 18.3 carries per game in the final seven games of the season (averaging 97.0 rushing yards and 0.29 TD per game). Those are #9 RB numbers in PPR formats, so even if Stewart's carries are limited to 16-17 per game (15 carries plus 1-2 receptions), he should still provide solid RB2 production.
Williams told WBTV in an exclusive interview Monday that he was cut by the Panthers last week during a meeting with coach Ron Rivera and general manager Dave Gettleman.
"We sat down, and he told me, 'The fact of the matter is we're going to have to release you,'" Williams told the station. "I said, you know, 'Why?' and he said, 'Because we don't run the ball enough. Just like you said back before the season started, we don't run the ball enough to keep you and [Jonathan Stewart] both, so we're going to release you.'"
Carolina will save $2 million in salary-cap space by designating Williams as a post-June 1 cut. Williams has one year left on his deal and is scheduled to count $6.3 million against the 2015 salary cap.
Jonathan 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 with Williams out of the way.
GM Dave Gettleman said he wanted to sit down with DeAngelo Williams before saying anything publicly about the status of the franchise’s all-time rushing leader. Last year, Gettleman was widely criticized for his noncommittal comments about Steve Smith’s future with the team before talking to the Panthers’ popular, all-time receiving leader.
“I need to talk to DeAngelo, I really do. He’s a pro’s pro, and he had a tough season,” Gettleman said. “The obvious loss of his mom was very, very difficult. He only played six (regular season) games this year, and it was tough for him. Before I say anything, just know he’s a pro’s pro. And the way he finished the season, he finished it like a man.”
Williams, who turns 32 in April, finished with career lows in every major rushing category after battling injuries most of the season. When Williams returned from a broken hand in December, he was reduced to part-time work behind Jonathan Stewart and Fozzy Whittaker.
Jonathan 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 throughout the career, he'll be a high-upside pick if Williams is let go.
DE Frank Alexander
S Thomas DeCoud
CB James Dockery
T David Foucault
LB A.J. Klein
DT Kyle Love
G Amini Silatolu
Friday, January 2, 2015, 5:04pm
Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams (hand, probable) took full practice reps all week and is probable for Week 18. Williams is going to play, but Jonathan Stewart is expected to continue to serve as the lead back against Arizona. He has averaged 19.6 touches since Week 13.
Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart returned to practice Wednesday and having the day off on Tuesday, and he’s expected to start and get the majority of carries when the Panthers face the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday in the wild-card playoff game.
There’s been discussion on how the Panthers would split the carries between the red-hot Stewart and DeAngelo Williams, who’s recovering from a broken bone in his hand. Stewart didn’t seem concerned about that Wednesday.
“Whatever the offensive coordinator (decides) and whatever the plan is for the game, that’s how we run things,” Stewart said. “You just do your part and just worry about that.”
Stewart was the #10 fantasy running back from Week 13 to Week 17, and averaged 5.3 yards per carry in that span. Williams has been out for a while and averaged just 3.5 YPC on 62 carries this season.
Panthers HC Ron Rivera was coy about the running back rotation before the Week 17 win at Atlanta, as well. DeAngelo Williams was listed as probable, but was held out for the fourth straight game with a broken bone in his right hand.
Jonathan Stewart has rushed for 486 yards over the past five games, beginning with the Nov. 30 loss at Minnesota when Williams was hurt. Rivera said he didn't want Williams to aggravate the injury against the Falcons last week.
"I decided we're in a good spot right now," Rivera said. "We've got guys that are 100 percent healthy, and why expose an injury that's something as simple as a nick that could turn into something worse?"
Williams played in only six regular-season games, while a healthy Stewart had his best season since 2009. But Rivera said he's not worried about disrupting the offensive chemistry by working Williams back in the rotation. "No, he's part of our chemistry," Rivera said, according to the story. But Stewart has excelled as the lead back without Williams around, so it remains to be seen if Rivera reverts back to both RBs. It's not a friendly matchup against the Cards, which could tempt Rivera to change things up.
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