2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Newton says Panthers RBs need to be more involved

By STEVE REED - AP Sports Writer
    2013-06-13 13:42

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Quarterback Cam Newton said if the Carolina Panthers are to be successful this season their running backs need to be more involved in the offense.

Newton said that means a concerted effort to get the running backs involved early in games.

The Panthers once invested nearly $80 million in DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart -- both contracts have since been restructured -- and also brought in free agent Mike Tolbert last season. Yet, it was Newton who led the team in rushing with 741 yards in 2012.

Williams, Stewart and Tolbert combined for 1,256 yards rushing last year, which ranked 28th in the league among running backs, according to STATS Inc. Only Jacksonville (1,231 yards rushing), Atlanta (1,225), Dallas (1,212) and Arizona (971) had less production from their backs.

Carolina's running backs seemed an afterthought at times last season under former offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, touching the ball on only 38 percent of the offensive plays.

``For us, the running game is key,'' Newton said this week at the team's minicamp. ``In years past, success for the Carolina Panthers has meant getting our running backs involved in the game early and letting those guys do what they do. I feel like we have an unbelievable group.''

Coach Ron Rivera agreed.

He said one of his primary goals is to get the running backs more involved and ``keep them involved.''

``We want to keep them as a big part of what we do,'' Rivera said. ``I think with Cam's ability to get the ball downfield is going to open things up underneath. His ability to run will make people hesitate and that is where you can see the effectiveness of the running backs.''

The Panthers added rookie Kenjon Barner from Oregon in the sixth round this year, giving them another weapon coming out of the backfield.

General manager Dave Gettleman said the Panthers will use him as a ``scat back.''

Barner hasn't disappointed in minicamp, turning heads with exceptional speed and quickness.

``We have guys that are capable of running the ball as well as catching it out of the backfield,'' Newton said. ``We have to use that to continuously keep the defense honest. Everyone knows we have playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. But in order for us to be successful, we have to run the football. We will run the football.''

Williams ran with the first-team offense during minicamp while Stewart recovers from minor surgery on both ankles.

Williams carried the ball only 173 times last season, while injuries limited Stewart to 93 carries. Tolbert, the team's fullback, carried 54 times.

Newton ran 127 times, averaging a team-best 5.8 yards per carry.

Carolina finished last season ninth in rushing and 7-9 overall, largely because of Newton's contribution.

The Panthers have used the zone read option extensively over the past two seasons with Newton, but are expected to limit that this season.

``I envision it being used in certain situations and circumstances,'' Rivera said. ``There are still some things that we can exploit against opponents because of it. We'll use it and use it smartly... But we're not going to go with something like that as a staple'' of the offense.

Nothing would make center Ryan Kalil happier than if the Panthers ran the ball a little more.

``I think people tend to be numb to that statement of hey, we want to run the ball more, but it's very true that most successful teams do have a balanced run-pass attack,'' said Kalil, who has played in three Pro Bowls.

Kalil said it's a matter of getting back to what the Panthers were doing well in 2008 and 2009 when they ranked among the league's leaders in rushing.

``It's sort of what it looks like we're doing,'' Kalil said. ``It's what we got back to at the end of last year. I think it helps out Cam, too. It helps out for the passing game and it's exciting to watch the two horses we have back there (Williams and Stewart) do what they do best.''

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Matt JonesMay 20 02:15p

Washington Redskins RB Matt Jones said that he loves the offense and has a chip on his shoulder after not being used properly while in college. 'My college career [ More ]

Derek CarrMay 20 08:53a

Updating a previous report, Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (finger) is experiencing numbness in his right ring finger. He hopes to avoid surgery through rest and rehab, and no [ More ]

Derek CarrMay 19 06:13p

Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (finger) has a right ring finger injury that could be surgically repaired. A return for training camp is still achievable, however, according to a source.

L. WashingtonMay 19 05:23p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR L'Damian Washington (undisclosed) was waived/injured Tuesday, May 19.

Shayne GrahamMay 19 03:03p

New Orleans Saints PK Shayne Graham was released Tuesday, May 19. Subsequently, free-agent WR Lance Lewis (49ers) was signed.

Joseph BarksdaleMay 19 02:23p

Free-agent OT Joseph Barksdale (Rams) will sign a one-year deal worth $350,000 with the San Diego Chargers, according to a source. The deal also comes with more than $1 million in incentives available.

Tom BradyMay 19 01:43p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady will continue to appeal his four-game suspension, despite owner Robert Kraft saying the team will not appeal the discipline levied against them.

Jed CollinsMay 18 03:32p

Dallas Cowboys FB Jed Collins was released Monday, May 18, and FB Tyler Clutts was re-signed to an undisclosed contract.

Tyler CluttsMay 18 03:32p

Dallas Cowboys FB Jed Collins was released Monday, May 18, and FB Tyler Clutts was re-signed to an undisclosed contract.

Lache SeastrunkMay 18 02:42p

Tennessee Titans RB Lache Seastrunk was released Monday, May 18.

Jimmy GaroppoloMay 17 08:42p

New England Patriots QB Jimmy Garoppolo's quick decision making and accuracy fit well with New England's playbook that includes quick-rhythm passes as part of the foundation, and Bucky Brooks [ More ]

Zach HockerMay 17 04:42p

The New Orleans Saints have signed free-agent PK Zach Hocker (Dolphins).

Joseph RandleMay 16 07:32p

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle has the skills to lead the team's backfield in 2015 but he'll need to work on his off-field issues, according to Jon Machota of [ More ]

Matt CasselMay 15 07:52p

Buffalo Bills QB Matt Cassel is likely to enter Week 1 of the season as the team's backup quarterback, in the opinion of The Buffalo News' Vic Carucci. He [ More ]

Santana MossMay 15 07:12p

Free-agent WR Santana Moss (Redskins) is not ready to hang up his cleats and retire this offseason. 'I'm a free agent right now, you know how they do [ More ]

Robert TurbinMay 14 05:32p

Seattle Seahawks RB Robert Turbin (hip) underwent hip surgery this offseason, according to sources. No timetable was disclosed for his recovery.

Tom BradyMay 14 03:52p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady has officially appealed his four-game suspension.

Greg SalasMay 13 02:23p

Free-agent WR Greg Salas (Jets) signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions Wednesday, May 13. Financial terms were not disclosed.

John ConnerMay 13 12:03p

Free-agent FB John Conner (Jets) signed with the Buffalo Bills Wednesday, May 13. FB Corey Knox was waived to make room for him.

Tom BradyMay 13 10:03a

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's four-game suspension could be reduced significantly, and possibly overturned, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter. Brady has put together a renowned legal team to appeal his suspension.

D.J. SwearingerMay 12 05:22p

Free-agent SS D.J. Swearinger was officially claimed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tuesday, May 12.

Fred JacksonMay 12 03:13p

Buffalo Bills RB Fred Jackson may not make the final roster if the Bills end up keeping only three running backs, according to Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. RB LeSean [ More ]

Lance MooreMay 12 01:23p

Free-agent WR Lance Moore (Steelers) signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions.

Justin BlackmonMay 12 11:02a

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon was denied reinstatement by the NFL this offseason, according to The Associated Press' Mark Long. It's unclear whether Blackmon failed a drug test or [ More ]

Joseph RandleMay 12 10:42a

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle could see the bulk of the carries as the season weighs on, in the opinion of beat writer Todd Archer. Archer pegged Randle for [ More ]

Jimmy GaroppoloMay 11 09:42p

New England Patriots QB Jimmy Garoppolo is expected to start while QB Tom Brady serves his suspension for 'DeflateGate'. Brady was suspended four games by the National Football League [ More ]

Tom BradyMay 11 07:12p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady will appeal his four-game suspension, according to his agent.

Tom BradyMay 11 05:52p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady has been suspended four games for his involvement in the deflated-football incident in the AFC Championship. In addition, the Patriots will lose their [ More ]

D.J. SwearingerMay 11 04:12p

Houston Texans SS D.J. Swearinger was officially released Monday, May 11.

Carey SpearMay 11 01:22p

Cleveland Browns PKs Travis Coons and Carey Spear will compete for the kicker job this offseason, and the competition is wide open at this point, according to special teams coordinator Chris Tabor.

Garrett HartleyMay 11 01:12p

Cleveland Browns PK Garrett Hartley was released Monday, May 11.

Kyle ArringtonMay 11 10:32a

New England Patriots CB Kyle Arrington was released Monday, May 11, according to a source. The team left the door open for him to return.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group