DeAngelo Williams has been impressive in camp this summer. In Williams, the Carolina Panthers have a player who can be a game changer, a guy who can take it the distance every time he touches the ball.
Just ask anyone who has listened to our podcast and has disagreed with my colleague Brian Miller about Williams versus Jonathan Stewart. Brian is convinced that JStew will wrestle the job away from DeAngelo by game four while many Panthers fans feel that it couldn’t possibly be more than a time share at the position.
In today’s Rock Hill Herald, Darin Gantt gives us some information on Williams that will certainly fuel the fire of those who support D-Will. Offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson spoke about DeAngelo Thursday.
He said he’s been impressed with Williams’ approach all offseason.
“One thing that we noticed right away, and it started even before we went on break a little bit, was that he was taking a more active approach in the leadership of our team,” Davidson said. “And it’s very evident now. I don’t mean to make this sound like he was immature, but he’s really grown up, and I think he’s become a major player on our offense. And I mean that in every regard, because we use him on and off the field. He helps the young guys as well.”
Players can be great on the field. They can make play after play. When you add in a leadership role to that, it’s hard to ignore the impact that player can have on your team. Williams could be selfish, go into a shell and simply work while trying to beat out Jonathan Stewart but he has chosen to lead by example and help the young guys develop. He’s a stand up guy.
Not only has Williams been impressing the coaches with his help outside the huddle, he’s been showing them his stuff when he’s on the field as well.
“I couldn’t answer that exactly, how it transpired, other than the fact we’ve seen it. It’s obvious in his approach to the game. One thing is, it may be more important to him. Maybe he sees the light that it is his job. We have a number of guys that can play, and I’m excited about the way he’s come in and the approach he’s taken to the game.”
How can any running back who averages five yards a carry ever be ignored? Williams is a fast dude who can change a game in a single play. He’s always been impressive but his obstacle now is Jonathan Stewart. I don’t want to say that I agree or disagree with Brian Miller on this. All I can say is that it sure looks more and more like Stewart will have a much harder time than first thought in taking away that starting job.
Moving on to Dwayne Jarrett. It seems that what Davidson had to say about him was a mixture of good and bad.
Of Jarrett, Davidson admitted they’re still looking for him to put the flashes together.
“You know, Dwayne I think is, each day we try to make steps with him,” Davidson said. “Some days we feel better than others. Right now it’s kind of where it is. We need to get to where there’s a — and he and I have had this conversation, so I’m not uncomfortable talking about it — but he’s got to get a level of consistency that we’re all comfortable with, including himself.”
Can Jarrett make this roster? He probably will considering that the team invested a second round pick in the guy. The problem could be whether or not that light finally goes on and he “gets it.”
Last year he couldn’t seem to grasp the play book and his work ethic came into question – most notably when Steve Smith called him out publically.
This year could be a different story if he’s motivated enough to work toward the goal of becoming a solid NFL wide receiver.
The coordinator said Jarrett’s catching on more quickly this year, but they still need to see improvement.
“I don’t think there’s been a matter of not understanding things, I just think it’s got to happen faster for him,” he said. “Time will tell on that one. Quite honestly, a lot of that is left in his court. He has to control that situation.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a lack of desire. I can’t say that is the case. Like I say, time will tell on this one, and he’s really got to step up for us.”
Could there be a more telling statement for Davidson to make than to say that “he’s really got to step up for us?” That sums it up. Is Jarrett putting out the effort that the team expects and demands? Is he slacking off? Those are questions we can’t answer without being inside the locker room.
This will likely boil down to either Jarrett finally just catching on or flaming out. Learning a playbook is one thing but putting in the time and the effort to make it all work is another. Here’s to hoping the light goes on sooner than later.