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

  • John

    I think Fiametta played ok for a rookie last year. I mean he was on the field for more than a few of those record yards after all. Jackson was signed because as one of the few teams that even use FBs we know darn well we need 2 and he was to good a talent to pass on. Especially with the release of HOOOOVER!(couldn’t resist). I think Jackson is more of a threat offensively while Fiametta is more the bash into the line FB. I expect to see them splitting time as long as Jackson can show an ability to pickup blitzes since I expect him to be on the field in play action and 3rd down situations.

    On the who should be number 1 thing. Either of these guy would be number 1 if they were on different teams. Here they are 1a and 1b. Neither of them is second string. Further we are extending the careers of both the way we play them. It’s those 300+ carry seasons that are career shorteners. In our offense these guys should not see that kind of wear and tear. Barring a major injury. So I find the whole who should be number 1 argument a bit silly really as it is so balanced between them.

    • http://www.blogtalkradio.com/blitzradio Eric Quackenbush

      Brad Hoover a.k.a. HOOOOOOV! said of Fiammetta — something to the effect of good kid, needs more time. Maybe Hoover was saying that in hopes of staying one more year, or as I see it, he genuinely felt that Fiammetta needs another year before taking over the position. At this time (given his lack of size) I can’t see Jackson as the fulltime or bulk-of-the-time starting FB.

      You’re absolutely correct in regard to Williams and Stew: “1a and 1b.” An argument that has been made time-and-again which IMO, is futile.

      • J. Gore

        The strength of our team. And Ilove it, SMASH & DASH BABY!! Or Crash & Slash, Thunder and Lightning or ever how you want to put it. Best RB tandem since Larry Cszonka and Mercury Morris. Combined with our O-line these guys can be unstopable. And either one can play either role. Stewart can run by you and Williams can bring the boom. We’ve got two physical and fast backs, and with booth being 100% should make for the best season yet. Thanks for the write up on Jackson. I’d heard him mentioned as a surprise undrafted free agent and knew we’d signed him. But I had no idea he was the highest rated FB this season. Maybe Hurney and Fox do know how to draft. lol (just kidding, I know they do.) I’m gonna take a closer look at Jackson now but I think Fiametta can be a good asset. He has good speed for a big guy and could help out in the passing game. He also hails from Syracuse and they know how to put out good rb’s. i.e. Jim Brown.

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