The Carolina Panthers have two starting running backs currently on their roster with DeAngelo Williams, and Jonathan Stewart. In seven seasons they have rushed for a combined total of 10,453 yards, scored 72 rushing touchdowns, and have cost the Panthers millions. They have been called, “Smash and Dash,” "Double Trouble,” and the perfect combination of both speed, and power. But in this offseason Dash, and Double might be leaving Charlotte. If DeAngelo Williams is released it will save the Panthers $2 million against the cap. Along with the money there are still concerns about his age, and health. Williams has done a lot for the Panthers organization, and is currently the all time leading rusher with 6,846 rushing yards. But, with the possible release of Williams comes a new role for Smash aka Jonathan Stewart.
Jonathan Stewart will be the starting running back for the Carolina Panthers in the 2015 NFL season.
Why? Because of his abilities, and the fact that he has earned it. Stewart took over the starting role last season when DeAngelo Williams got injured and was done for the year. Stewart hoped in that driver seat and helped drive the team right into the playoffs. Over the last five weeks of the 2014 NFL regular season he rushed for 486 yards, which was only second to DeMarco Murray. Not only did he end the regular season well, he also rushed for 123 yards and a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals in the playoffs. He has proven to the Panthers organization that he can be a workhorse, and that the 2009 season where he rushed for 1,133 yards, and 10 touchdowns wasn't a fluke.
Let's review Jonathan Stewart's NFL career real quick.
When Stewart has played in 13 or more games per year he has averaged 861.8 rushing yards and 5.8 rushing touchdowns per season. He has done this with only averaging 180 rushing attempts per season. Can you imagine if he had as many rushing attempts as DeMarco Murray (392), LeSean McCoy (312), Le'Veon Bell (290), and Mashawn Lynch (280)? If he averaged 280 rushing attempts per season, he could average 1,340 rushing yards. This would put him among the top five running backs in the league.
Stewart is the type of running back that loves contact and is hard to bring down. He has the body frame of a fullback, and always keeps his legs moving. He is a workhorse and a physical runner. Stewart is not know for his speed but he does have an extra gear, and quickness to get through the creases.
Yes, there are still issues about his health and the fact that he isn't a scatback. But if he remains healthy, the sky is the limit for this first round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. Jonathan Stewart will be the starting running back for the Carolina Panthers in the 2015 NFL season. Stewart has been given the keys to be the full-time starter, and I don't see why he wouldn't succeed.
How many rushing yards will Jonathan Stewart run for this coming season? Who could be the Panthers number two running back?