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.
In Carolina's backfield, Stewart will also have to split carries with quarterback Cam Newton and fullback Mike Tolbert.
"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.