Dec 16, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams (34) runs the ball as quarterback Cam Newton (1) looks on during the third quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Case for DeAngelo Williams

Oh DeAngelo Williams! His case is a most intriguing one. He was one of the most beloved Panthers in the past few years, and maybe one of the most beloved Panthers of all time, definitely one of the most beloved Panther Running Back in the Panthers history as a franchise. But he began to slip after an amazing home-opener game against the Saints this year. Jonathon Stewart replaced him as the starter a few games later, and there were a few games where Williams saw no production at all. But somehow Stewart got himself injured and Williams found himself in the starting spot again. He topped off the season with one of the best games of his career with a 210 yard game at New Orleans, so in the end I guess things worked out well for him.

Now going into this season, the Panthers have added another Running Back to the roster, Kenjon Barner. Now I’m not saying that Barner is a threat to placement of Stewart or Williams, he just proves to be better than Poole and Smith, who were the other backs on the roster. So there could be some heat from Barner with the coming season, if he proves to be a pivotal player at the Running Back spot in the Pre-Season.

Williams’s biggest rival is basically himself. He seems to be the type of player who can get down on himself after a bad game and then let that affect him. I know I’m reading way too far into the situation and it could just be that he is becoming one of the older backs in the league, though he isn’t too old either, but that could be the reason his play last year was slipping. And for some reason I sort of saw Williams getting a sort of Julius Peppers syndrome, where he seemed not to be playing his best just to get out Carolina, I’m sure I’m the only one.

Dec 22, 2012; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams (34) runs as /r29/ defends in the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Stewart doesn’t really seem to be a point weakness either. Williams and Stewart have very different run styles. There was a reason while their nickname was, and forever will be, “Smash and Dash”. Williams is the type of runner to run around the outside and make people miss with his speed, the dash in the nickname, while Stewart is the type of player who runs up the middle finding holes, or creating them himself, the smash. The differences between them are somewhat astronomical and there should be no reason for either of them to be labeled the starter. They definitely work better together than against each other.

I think the best way for the Panthers to succeed is to do what they have done for the past few years, play both Stewart and Williams with equal amount of reps. Add in the addition of Tolbert last year, and the Panthers have one of the best backfields in the entire NFL. And with Kenjon Barner’s speed, there should be yet another reason for the Panthers to succeed in the NFL, especially in the backfield; I’m really excited to see how they play next year.

Those are my thoughts on the Running Back situation in Carolina, but what do you guys think? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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Tags: Carolina Panthers DeAngelo Williams

  • Bob Taylor

    As all Memphians know, you must give DeAngelo a lot of reps for him to be successful. Handing him the ball 6 times a game is a formula for failure. He needs 20 to 30 carries to perform well.

  • Finley Nichols

    I’m afraid that Williams will be traded before the season starts, Lord I hope not.
    After all there is not enough snaps for 4 people in the backfield unless they run the ball every down. I don’t think that will happen. Cam has a good arm and if you can pass with no ints. You can score much faster.

  • yonse2

    This one’s on the coaches and the “O” line. And sort of on Cam. He needs to support his backfield. Love those blocks he threw last year. You see Cam coming at you as a blocker, you might just kind of sit down.

  • Cam.45 (Smith&Olsen)

    I personally think it time to move past the Williams stage… Cut our losses and save some money for next year. As you said, maybe one of the best backfields in the NFL but definitely the most expensive. Run with Stewart/Tolbert and Barner for 3rd downs. (How are his hands anyways? Ive heard he’s fast but can he catch?) Cam is still gonna be Cam and scramble for yards but realistically our backfield has too many hands in that cookie jar.

    Reguardless of what we do, I’m expecting a “Dark Horse” team and think we could possibly post 10 wins this year.

    Panther Pride! Ottawa, Ontario CANADA

  • Hammer1067

    I say move Williams for defensive help. Cam gets a bad rap but eventually the D has to hold a 4th quarter lead.

  • ahrcshaw

    “intriguing” only to the writers and opposition teams, not to the fans. The fact that both D Williams and Stewart stats have been less then good is quite simply the coaching mistake in my opinion. In 2011 the OC Chud, did well with the run option because of Cam’s ability, but also because he countered it with a lot of Power running plays. In 2012 OC Chud made the mistake of increasing the calls for run option plays and stimid the running game during the 1st 8 games, without making adjustments in any of those games. The only problem D Williams creates is a Cap problem, make a change in his contract and let him retire a Panther as he should.

    I can remember when the Panthers would almost have given their franchise away for a good running back and now it seems like they have 3. I hate to see articles like this because it has effect on the players, D Williams was anxious as well as Stewart to extend their contracts because they wanted, yes wanted, to stay with the Panthers. Yes the Cap is a problem, but it is not a major problem that can not be resolved. I would bet my last dollar that this year, under OC Shula, the “double trouble” would be awesome. I also believe Barner will be a great asset to the ST’s. as a matter of fact I believe at least eight new rocky’s will be added to the 53 man roster.