DeAngelo Williams Still Holding a Grudge Against Carolina Panthers

DeAngelo Williams Still Holding a Grudge Against Carolina Panthers

DeAngelo Williams departure from the Carolina Panthers wasn't a pleasant one. After his release in 2015, Williams held an exclusive interview where he criticized the Panthers, management, and even the players for overlooking his mother's death the previous year and cutting bait from the franchise's leading rusher prematurely.

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The Panther's Future at Halfback

The Panther's Future at Halfback

Ever since Jonathan Stewart entered the NFL in 2008 and partnered up with franchise great DeAngelo Williams, the Panther’s backfield has been primarily a two back system. The tandem went on to reach heights never before seen among NFL record books in 2009, and officially earned the “Double Trouble” title. The pair’s great play led to lucrative contracts, part of which has cash strapped the salary cap to this very date. This past offseason saw the departure of DeAngelo Williams, and the bell cow label put on Stewart. We also welcomed a new bruiser in the form of Auburn star, Cameron Artis-Payne. It would seem the Panther’s finally have a new group of backs, a group that should provide stability and familiarity for years to come. Or maybe not.   

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DeAngelo Williams Still Sensitive to Slight

DeAngelo Williams Still Sensitive to Slight

I’ve always been a fan of Carolina Panthers All-Time Leading Rusher DeAngelo Williams.  He played college ball at a school in the same conference of my alma-mater, so I had a good look at him early.  He wasn’t the biggest guy coming out of college, causing many to wonder about his skill-set translating to the pro game, but I saw the promise as he carved up my ECU Pirates. He ultimately proved the skeptics wrong by bulking up and developing better power running game than expected, all while maintaining that explosiveness threatened taking it to the house at any moment. 

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Panthers Part Ways with Franchise Leading Rusher DeAngelo Williams

Panthers Part Ways with Franchise Leading Rusher DeAngelo Williams

News broke today that Carolina has in fact decided to part ways with franchise leading rusher DeAngelo Williams.   Many forecasted that Carolina would release the veteran, who's production declined significantly in 2014 in what General Manager Dave Gettleman described as a "tough season."  Tonight, DeAngelo Williams will break the news officially on WBTV 

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Smash Without Dash

Smash Without Dash

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.

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How Much Gas is Left in DeAngelo Williams's tank?

How Much Gas is Left in DeAngelo Williams's tank?

It’s a cruel question to ask of anyone, let alone a franchise’s greatest all-time rusher. It’s been a question asked too often throughout DeAngelo Williams’s career, despite a 4.8 yds/carry career average and impressive 9 career TDs over 50 yds (7 rushing + 2 rec). It’s been a while, however, since D-Will took one to the house, and declined production, injury, and Jonathan Stewart’s resurgence will invariably beg the question once again as Williams is scheduled to earn 6 million dollars in 2015.

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Should DeAngelo Williams And His $25K Per Yard Salary Return in 2015?

Should DeAngelo Williams And His $25K Per Yard Salary Return in 2015?

Grab the mic Panther fans and let the nation know!  Open Mic is an open discussion thread. Just drop a comment in the comments section below. Respond to other fans, and as always #KeepPounding

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Razzle, Dazzle and Bowling Ball

No offense in the NFL can be consistently potent without having a successful ground game. Over the years, the Carolina Panthers have had some solid running backs. Some of the running backs that I can remember are Tim Biakabutuka, Stephen Davis, and DeShaun Foster.

Everyone remembers the 2009 NFL season when both DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart rushed for 1,000 yards. They were the fifth pair in NFL history to reach that miraculous mark. 

After that season, the Carolina Panthers were confident that they had the best tandem in the NFL. The Panthers then resigned DeAngelo Williams to a five year, $43 million extension in 2011 and on this date two years ago they signed Jonathan Stewart to a five year deal worth $36.5 million. The 2014 season is around the corner and the Panthers haven’t seen much return from their investments. The front office restructured both of those deals and there were rumors that Williams would be traded in the offseason.

Once again, the Panthers have a talented backfield, except this time the backfield is overpopulated. The backs that are fighting for playing time are: DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, Mike Tolbert, Kenjon Barner and Darrin Reaves.

As of right now all are healthy. So, who is going to start the season number one on the depth chart? Who will finish the season with the most carries? Who will be the dark horse?
I am going to make an argument for each of the running backs….

1. DeAngelo Williams (Razzle) – is quick, explosive and has great play making ability.
2. Jonathan Stewart (Dazzle) – strong like a fullback and quick.
3. Mike Tolbert (Bowling Ball) –is built like a tank and is quicker than he looks.
4. Kenjon Barner – small and fast like a track star.
5. Darrin Reaves – low center of gravity, not shy of contact and makes smooth cuts.

DeAngelo WilliamsI believe that DeAngelo Williams will still be number one on the depth chart to start the season. He has been the top running back on the Panthers for several years and I don’t see them taking that title away from him. If the offensive line can block for Williams, and he can stay healthy, I see Williams getting over 1,000 rushing yards this season.

I hope they use Mike Tolbert even more this season. I am huge Tolbert fan because something always good happens when he has the ball. It takes more than one player to get him down and he always falls forward, and gets the extra yard. Tolbert should be getting all of the goal line carries.
Watch out for Darrin Reaves! I think he will overtake Barner as number three on the depth chart. I went to East Carolina University and I saw Reaves run all over our defense when he played for UAB. This player has the potential to be a starter in the NFL, and could become number two on the depth chart by the end of the upcoming season.

Who do you want to see starting for the Panthers in the backfield on September 7 against that tough Tampa Bay Buccaneers D-line? Do you have any nicknames for Barner or Reaves?

Injuries Mount in Carolina Panthers' Backfield

Every year it seems like the Carolina Panthers lose at least one guy for the year early in mini-camp. Last year around this time, it was LG Amini Silatolu. This year, it's rookie RB Tyler Gaffney.

Gaffney was drafted to compete with Kenjon Barner for snaps behind Jonathan Stewart and an aging DeAngelo Williams, but Gaffney isn't the only Carolina RB that's ailing.

Who is the other ailing RB you may ask? Do I really have to tell you?

Yep, it's Stewie. Jonathan Stewart could miss two to four weeks, according to early reports. I hate to say it, but isn't it just downright strange that he keeps getting dinged up....AFTER he got paid?

His injury is "a hamstring ailment suffered before players reported to training camp."

Uh-huh, riiiiight. Like the Church Lady used to say...."How conveeeeeenient."

If she were a Panthers' fan, she (well, Dana Carvey anyway) would be going off about the fact his last name starts with an "S" and wondering what it really stands for. Could it be........SATAN?!!?!?!?

No, he's the coach at the University of Alabama, but I certainly do understand the frustration. For two years in a row, they've drafted youth at the position in order to try and eventually get some of these fat salaries off the books, but this crop of RBs isn't doing their part.

Although it looks like Stewart should be back before Opening Day, and healthy at that, I simply think he's an unreliable runner at this point in his career and could (and likely will) go down again to injury. Last year he was "nagged" by problems with his ankles. This year it's his hamstring, which is a notoriously re-occurring injury for runners. The same thing nagged Texans' RB Arian Foster throughout the season two years ago.

While I don't know for sure Stewart's injuries of late have anything to do with his "being paid," I do think it's "conveeeeeenient" that he started getting these injuries after he got the big payday. I'd like to think he's no Albert Haynesworth, but if this "hamstring issue" stays with him all season, I say dump his behind as soon as the "dead money" becomes an acceptable cost of doing business. As it is, the cost is over $15 million this year. Thanks, Marty!

In either case, a few years back there was a lot of talk about trading him since we had a younger, vital DeAngelo. Considering the veritable mountain of cash Stewie's gotten since and for such little production, a trade would have been great. I had hoped they'd pull that trade at the time, but then again it was GM Marty Hurney who loved his runners.

 Let's not forget losing 6th-round rookie pick Tyler Gaffney, either. At 5'11" and 220 pounds with good speed for his size, the hope was he could help provide some of the inside pounding that the Panthers wanted to do more of this year without playing Mike Tolbert out of position.

With Gaffney and the even larger Stewart out of the picture, the backfield looks exactly the same as it did last season....and without Jordan Gross to block (no, this isn't "Hollywood Squares"). Instead, it appears that Byron Bell will be moved from the right side to the left tackle. Despite what Gettleman & Co. say, the late Paul Lynde could pass-block about as well as Bell can. I'm sure he could trash-talk better, at least.

So now, we're back to where we were last year. DeAngelo is the only reliable tailback and he's a year older and in that "over 30" crowd. Tolbert's the fullback who can play some tailback on short yardage either in single-back sets or with a TE put in as a FB to block for him. Kenjon Barner, entering his second season, has yet to show much of anything at the pro level (which is why Gaffney was drafted most likely), so both those guys can be marked off the list for 2014.

Looks like Gettleman's going to be hitting free agency again....looking for another RB for the rotation. With all the money locked up in the position and with two draft picks there in the last two years, this is the LAST thing they were expecting.

Since the offensive tackle spot is nearly bare, despite the proclamations of Gettleman or others, the playbook just shrank even more. Even with the veteran WRs like Jerricho Cotchery and Jason Avant on the roster, they're simply replacing vacated talent from last season. All this going on WHILE Cam Newton is still struggling in recovering from ankle surgery, which has limited his reps in camp thus far.

Then there's Kelvin Benjamin. Early on, his passes will likely be red zone targets and chains-moving type of plays. Those will be his bread and butter as he learns how to run more precise routes and is taught how to play as physically as his size would suggest he can - but didn't in college. His being a redshirt-sophomore coming out of FSU doesn't help, since he's quite raw....and his slowest-in-position 3-cone drill at the combine suggests he'll have issues getting separation from coverage in the early going, if not for his entire career.

Although the Temperature Scale's catch radius is huge, Cam's not the most accurate QB in the NFL. We've been over the "whys" of Benjamin's drafting - when Cam misses, he usually misses high - and Benjamin's skill set, while impressive, is indeed somewhat limited and in college he had issues dropping passes. Things are NOT looking good once again.

Sound familiar?

It's definitely too early to tell, but so far this season is starting off like last year's did, and that's rather poorly.

Let's just hope with all the issues they already have that they can end this regular season in a similar fashion to how they did last season....but at this point, that's an order much, much taller than Kelvin Benjamin will ever be.

Follow me on Twitter @Ken_Dye

Reasons for Optimism in Carolina

Friday (7/26), the Carolina Panthers host their annual Fan Fest at Bank of America Stadium. As with most fan bases around the NFL, everyone is 0-0 right now and hope springs eternal. That is of course if you don’t listen to the media.

Next Friday (7/26), the Carolina Panthers host their annual Fan Fest at Bank of America Stadium. As with most fan bases around the NFL, everyone is 0-0 right now and hope springs eternal. That is of course if you don’t listen to the media.

Last year, the media named the Carolina Panthers secondary “The Legion of Whom?” The “Legion of Whom” flourished behind a front seven that accumulated 60 sacks and picked off a combined 13 passes for 2 TDs. The defense carried the Panthers last year, and that same core is back with the addition of two NFC South battle tested, Roman Harper and Thomas DeCoud. Rivera also brought in cornerback, Antoine Cason, to help. This familiar face, who Rivera coached in San Diego, coupled with those battle worn Pro Bowl vets, should only strengthen an already strong defense that was already ranked 3rd overall.
This year the onus will really be on the offense. Jordan Gross’s retirement left a difficult hole to fill on the offensive line. The Panthers chose not to fill this position through the draft, leaving Byron Bell and converted defensive lineman Nate Chandler to battle for the right to protect Cam Newton’s blind spot. While the tackle spots remain a concern, the guard position has some depth with a returning Amini Silatolu, Gary Williams, and Chris Scott. 4th draft choice from 2013, Edmund Kugbila, and this year’s 3rd round choice, Trai Turner, will also compete for time.  Carolina’s run game was more productive last year than many would think from watching the games.  Cam’s ability to hurt defense with his feat bolstered the running games statistics.  These improvements at guard may help to take some of the pressure off Cam to facilitate the run.

The loss of fireplug and longtime Panther Steve Smith is also an issue for Carolina. Smith was the heart and soul of the offense the last decade, but the Panthers’ brass seemed ready to move in a different direction. Opposing defenses have had to dedicate their top corner, with safety help over the top, to handle Smith for years.  Last season Smith wasn’t the team’s leading receiver--a tight end was. Sure handed, but sure tacked, Greg Olsen led the team in receiving.  Olsen is a great tight end, but he shouldn’t be the any team’s leading receiving leader

Although Olsen will not take over a game, he’s difficult for defenses to shut down entirely. It’s tough doubling a tight end, and devoting a linebacker and safety is difficult defensively. Add Kelvin Benjamin, Jerricho Cotchery, Jason Avant, and either Marvin McNutt or Tiquan Underwood to the mix, and defense coordinators will find themselves scratching their heads. The parity of Carolina’s receivers because of a substantial pass threat with Olsen strains defenses in personnel matchups. In essence, not having a true number one receiver is a good thing.

Don’t forget this is the same offense averaged 126.6 yards on the ground.  The guards position has improved so much that running up the middle will only be more effective than 2013. Also, while his blind spot is suspect at the moment, Newton has a rare skill set and athleticism that allows him amazing escape ability to extend plays. Jonathan Stewart’s return will finally add that pop needed to DeAngelo Williams consistency. Throw in big bowling ball Mike Tolbert, the speedster Kenjon Barner, and rookie bruiser Tyler Gaffney with Newton’s run threat, and this offense doesn’t look so bad anymore.

There may not be any superstars other than Cam, but things don’t look as bleak as many think. Long story short, the defense, the running game, the strong guards, and a bevy of capable receivers are all reasons for optimism in Carolina. Cotchery and Smith’s stats were comparable last season, with Cotchery going 46 recs for 602 yards and 10 TDs. That is only a 29 percent decrease from the combined effort of departing receivers Smith, Lafell, Hixon and Ginn Jr who went 156 for 1983 and 15 TDs. No that is not to say the 32-year-old Cotchery is the answer, but stats are stats, Even Rivera noted that Carolina only had to “replace those 10 catches a game.”

Strengthening and already strong defense with a more balanced and likely more productive offense should make Panther breath deeply and relax.  Don’t be worried Panther fans need, instead be optimistic.

By: +Justin Davis.  You can find his work at  Be sure to give him a follow on Twitter @JerseyMikeJr

No Receivers, No Problems for the Carolina Panthers: Are the Backs Poised to Breakout in 2014?

By Dan Rawlinson, UK
Dan writes for UK sports site, the Sports Breakfast. You can find his work also at

The Carolina Panthers offseason has been dominated with negative talk about their lack of a certified wide receiver, but what of the running backs? At one time, the Panthers running corps was a well oiled touchdown machine. However through a mixture of injury and offensive style changes, its numbers have dwindled slightly over the past few seasons. Could this season be the year they reaffirm their status as one of the best backfields in the NFL? I'm here to explain why it could just be.

Jonathan StewartBack in 2008 & 2009 Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams earned themselves the nickname 'Double Trouble'.  In 2009, they both rushed for more than 1,100 yards and scored 17 touchdowns between them. Fantasy players even took to drafting both as at least one of them would always get you a touchdown. Since 2009, the pair’s numbers have declined, with neither hitting the 1,000 yard mark again. In fact, in the four seasons since 2009, their combined figures make 4,820 yards. In 2008 and 2009 their combined figured were 4,601 yards. So why do I believe that this downward trend will stop this year?

Let's start with Jonathan Stewart. Those figures above are a little harsh on Stewart. Over the last two years he has struggled badly with injuries, including the ankle surgery that sidelined him throughout last year’s offseason. But consider these numbers - a healthy Stewart rushed for over 750 yards each season from 2008-2011 as a number two back. Stewart has recently been quoted as saying he is the healthiest he has been since the 2011 season. With Williams now 31, and Stewart just 27 you could see him given an increased number of carries. Throughout his career, his average yards per carry increases the more touches he has, so this improved role may see career high numbers. If he is indeed back to 2011 health, we can expect at least a minimum 700 yards from Stewart in 2014/15.
DeAngelo Williams
Moving on to DeAngelo Williams. An NFL running back has arguably the shortest shelf life of all the positions in the league. Many have been retiring and struggled to find a team from the age of 30 onwards, Williams is 31. Williams bucks this trend though, he may be 31 but he has shared carries his entire career. He has 1,370 career rushing attempts, at the same age Frank Gore has 2,187 attempts, more than 800 more. 800 carries is almost three season’s worth or wear and tear that Williams still has in the tank. We all know he can still make the big plays as we saw him burst through the Jets defense last season for the 72 yard touchdown. ( Only three times in Williams' career has he had more than 200 carries in a single season and twice he produced 1,000 yard seasons, the other was last season. Last season he didn't get too many scores but could always be relied on the keep the chains moving. With plenty left in the tank DeAngelo can be relied on to at least match his numbers from last season. If he does then we have a minimum 1,600 rushing yards from our two main backs.

Cam Newton is another factor that will help ‘Double Trouble’ reproduce the numbers that earned them their nickname. In his rookie season, Newton rushed 126 times, and in his second season he rushed 127 times. Last season this number fell to 111 rushes. As Cam matures as a quarterback, he will begin to pick and choose his rushes better, keeping himself healthy. This will undoubtedly lead to his handing the ball off to his backfield more often. Also when Rob Chudzinski was offensive coordinator in 2011 and 2012, he had his offense focusing on pass heavy plays. When Mike Shula took over in 2013 he made sure he utilised the run game much more. Whilst I think we can all expect Cam to continue producing the kind of magic he did against the Patriots on Monday Night Football, I think we will see it being limited more.

The Carolina Panthers also possess a massive red zone threat in the 'Toldozer' Mike Tolbert. Toldozer has 7 touchdowns in each of his seasons in Carolina, mostly from short and goal situations. Hand him the ball and he will smash through the defence. He earned himself a spot on the Pro Bowl last season. He isn't quick but in the situations where the Panthers use him he doesn't need to be, he can do enough damage without the speed. He provides a great rotational option. After last season, defences will fear him in the red zone which opens up play action options.

The Carolina Panthers offensive line has also come under some serious scrutiny over the offseason. The left tackle position is notably weaker after the retirement of Jordan Gross. But the inside possibly got stronger. With perennial Pro Bowler Ryan Kalil at center, the Panthers have Amini Silatolu returning from knee surgery. The Panthers also picked up Trai Turner in the third round of this years draft. Turner has impressed everybody at OTAs, players and coaches alike. With an offensive line that is thick on the inside and thinner on the outside Cam will probably choose to utilise his running game. The guards can open up gaps and Stewart and Williams will exploit them for huge gains.

Tyler GaffneyThe Panthers also have the option of calling on some talented youth in their running game. Kenjon Barner possesses electric pace and is a real weapon on special teams, especially now since the departure of Ted Ginn Jr. Tyler Gaffney was a surprise selection by the Panthers in the 2013 draft. Picked in the sixth round many questioned the team's decision to add another running back to an already crowded backfield. The answer ? Potential. Gettleman and Rivera obviously saw something in Gaffney. He is tough, durable and a great pass protector. A patient runner Gaffney will wait for the gaps to open up before smashing through them with his sheer brute force. He may see some playing time during preseason and if he impresses you never know.

In 2013, the Carolina Panthers finished in the bottom half amongst the NFL for total yards gained and total points scored. They used their incredible defense and the superhero talents of Cam Newton to earn them their 12-4 record. This will NOT be the case this season. If everyone stays fit then I believe we will see the return on the power running game putting up some huge numbers.

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