Around the NFL  

 

Jonathan Stewart to remain Panthers' lead back

Print

The Carolina Panthers' four-game winning streak has coincided with Jonathan Stewart's ascendance to the featured back role in Mike Shula's offense.

Now that DeAngelo Williams is fully recovered from a hand fracture that forced him to miss a month, will coach Ron Rivera be tempted to mess with his successful backfield formula?

Stewart is expected to start and handle the majority of the workload versus the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday, per The Charlotte Observer.

NFL Media's Jeff Darlington confirms the coaching staff will "continue to ride Stewart's success" while mixing in Williams on a Bank of America surface that took a beating in college football's Belk Bowl just a few days ago.

We have repeatedly pointed out on the Around The NFL Podcast the stark difference in game film between Stewart and Williams this season. The numbers agree.

Stewart is the NFL's second-leading rusher over the past five weeks. During that span, he and Cam Newton have rushed for more yards than any quarterback-running back duo in the league.

For the entire season, Marshawn Lynch is the only player with a higher "Elusive Rating" in Pro Football Focus' metric that attempts to measure how difficult it is to tackle a running back independent of his blocking.

For all of the football lessons an open-minded Rivera has learned over the past two years, understanding that speed and effectiveness trump experience and status is the one that has his team streaking into January.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast previews this weekend's four Wild-Card matchups and predicts who will advance. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

Print