Arguably, the Panthers have the most lethal, productive, smash, gash, and dash running tandem in the league.
It isn’t just one RB that opposing defenses have to worry about. The Panthers have an arsenal, a stable of four proven runners that can cause DC’s all over the league to lose sleep and have nightmares.
The saying “Figures lie and liars figure,” that is often stated by Head Coach Ron Rivera might answer to what appears to some as a lack of productivity from Carolina’s running game.
A Look at the numbers:
Team -Currently the Panthers are 9th in Rushing, behind the Packers and in front of the Jets. Averaging 4.1 a carry and 129.3 Yards a game.
Individuals – D. Williams is 20th in the league with 610 Yds. Avg. 4.0 and 55.5Yds/G.
C. Newton is 36th, behind R. Wilson, with 447, Avg. 5.5 and 37.2 Yds/G.
M. Tolbert is 54th, with 301, Avg. 3.9 and 25.1 Yds/G.
J. Stewart, who unfortunately because of injury has been sidelined most of the season, is 76, ahead of D. Sproles for N.O. Saints, with 164, Avg. 3.5 and 32.8 Yds/G.
One reporter asked RB DeAngelo Williams, “In terms of the running game, Are you guys where you want to be or not?” Williams responds: “We are. Winning. That’s where we want to be. That’s where we want our run game to be, that’s where we want our pass game to be, that’s where we want this team and this offense, defense, and special teams to be, and I think that we’re doing that.”
Ron Rivera was questioned about the reasoning for D. Williams “low numbers.” Rivera credits the opposing defenses with their scheme and gameplan going against the Panthers. Rivera: “We see a lot more eight-man fronts, we see a lot more man (coverage), and we see a lot more people try and stop our run, and force our Quarterback’s hand.” “I think it has an opportunity to turn around,” said Rivera.
The RB’s aren’t concerned with numbers; the name of the game is winning. Williams: “During the course of the game, you forget about yourself, and you go in and give it everything you’ve got…” “We try to be productive. When they call our number, we try and make as much out of the opportunity as possible…”
DeAngelo isn’t frustrated with numbers. When the team is winning and excited, there isn’t any room for frustration to sink in. Williams acknowledges that football is about unselfishness and playing as a team. “We’re having success on all cylinders.”
Jonathon Stewart carried a “physical load” last week in the absence of Williams. Stewart continues to work with trainers and strength and conditioning coaches as he continues to take the necessary reps that he is expected to carry. Stewart is still getting acclimated into the game by being more involved.
M. Tolbert: “We hold our hats on running the ball, so we got to definitely go out and do that thing.” “Good defense and a running game travels well, so we’re excited to see what happens.” “We’re consistent…and at the end the product takes care of itself.” “We’re just trying to make plays and make the right plays at the right time, and it’s been working out in our favor.
Rivera has stated that he wants to run the ball when we need to and run the ball when we have to. The Panthers Run game is getting it done.
Written By: Phillip Boyce