Carolina Panthers Training Camp Preview: Running Backs

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 19: Channing Crowder #52 of the Miami Dolphins tries to tackle Tyrell Sutton #22 of the Carolina Panthers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on November 19, 2009 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

This is one of the easier and one of the more interesting position preview to cover of the series. The easy part: we already know who the No. 1 and 2 running backs are. The difficult part (as this is two positions rolled into one) is deciding who will step up for the starting fullback job.

The duo of Double Trouble will once again wreak havoc against Carolina’s slate of 2010 opponents. Opposing defenses have tried to contain both running backs, but at some point during the course of the game, efforts become futile.

It’s been believed by many, that Jonathan Stewart could — perhaps should — be the No. 1 running back, but since both DeAngelo Williams and Stewart share the workload fairly evenly, does it really matter?

As a formality, I’ll simply state that the No. 1 running back is Deangelo Williams, and the No. 2 — just as lethal — is Jonathan Stewart.

Both Williams and Stewart set a team and NFL record in 2009, becoming the first running back tandem to surpass 1,100 yards rushing in a regular season.

Will both be able to accomplish the same feat in 201o? If so, it could come with a price, like it did in ’09.

There are three more running backs behind Stewart and Williams: Mike Goodson, Tyrell Sutton, and Josh Vaughan.

Goodson was taken in 2009, because of his speed and uncanny ability to return the ball while at Texas A&M. Unfortunately, that ability didn’t really pan out at the next level, as the Panthers’ special teams unit — most notably, the return game — was one of the worst in the league.

Sutton has been the most active of the Panthers via Twitter during the offseason. Because of that, his name has been most prominent on my mind to keep an eye on him during training camp.

I don’t know enough about Vaughan to make an accurate assessment. At this point, the best I can say is I find it highly unlikely that Carolina will carry five running backs, so maybe Vaughan will be a member of the practice squad, if he shows enough upside.

Fullbacks

Gone now, is long-time Panthers fullback Brad Hoover. That to me, was probably the most shocking move made by Carolina during this offseason. I really didn’t see it coming (at least not for another year), given the inexperience and lack of development shown by now second-year fullback Tony Fiammetta.

Sharing time with Fiammetta will be undrafted rookie talent Rashawn Jackson, from the university of Virginia. If a team was in need of a fullback this season, Jackson would have been gone, as he was the No. 1-rated fullback in this year’s draft class.

Since Carolina signed Jackson, it speaks of the team’s uncertainty (at this time) with Fiammetta.

For the halfbacks, I’ll be keeping a close eye on Tyrell Sutton. He’s been the “squeaky” wheel this offseason. As for the fullbacks, my attention will be directed towards Rashawn Jackson.

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Tags: Brad Hoover Carolina Panthers DeAngelo Williams Fullbacks Halfbacks Jonathan Stewart Josh Vaughan Mike Goodson NFL Preview Rashawn Jackson Running Backs Tony Fiammetta Training Camp Tyrell Sutton

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