2014 DRAFT GUIDE
FB Tolbert's versatility paying off for Panthers

By STEVE REED - AP Sports Writer
    2013-12-02 15:36

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Panthers fullback Mike Tolbert is used to defenders underestimating him when he has the ball in his hands.

He's hoping they continue to overlook him.

The squatty 5-foot-9, 245-pound Tolbert doesn't look like he'd be tough to tackle or is particularly fast.

Tolbert's low center of gravity and surprising speed has made him a valuable and versatile commodity for the Panthers (9-3), who beat Tampa Bay 27-6 on Sunday for their eighth straight victory.

''They see a guy that is short and fat and they think, `Oh yeah, we got him no problem.''' Tolbert said with a laugh. ''Then they are like `Whoa, where did he get those feet from? I didn't know he was that fast.'''

Tolbert's physique has been the source of some good-natured ribbing from teammates, who like to pick on him just as much as he likes teasing them.

''In the locker room he has a lot of nicknames,'' quarterback Cam Newton said.

Newton said he calls Tolbert ''tub of goo'' and said backup quarterback Derek Anderson pegged him as ''Patty Mayonnaise. Tub of Mayonnaise.''

The QB said others call him ''Sugar Bear.''

''If y'all don't get my gist, he's a big mass guy,'' Newton said. ''He may not look good running, but he gets the job done. ... He's a player you would hope that he's on your team. He brings a lot of energy to the huddle, brings a lot of energy to this team.''

And football smarts, too.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera, who played nine seasons in the NFL and has coached 17, said Tolbert is ''about as smart of a football player as I've been around.''

That's one of the reasons why Rivera pushed former general manager Marty Hurney to sign Tolbert as a free agent in 2012. Rivera had worked with Tolbert in San Diego.

''He understands the offensive concepts, what to look for in terms of blocking and protections,'' Rivera said. ''He understands running the ball and using blocks and setting up blocks. He understands how to run a route, how to beat man coverage and beat zone coverage. ... He has a natural feel for the game and is able to pick things up really well.''

Offensive coordinator Mike Shula said Tolbert's football IQ and versatility mesh perfect with Carolina's offense.

He said Tolbert's ability to play halfback, fullback and tight end - as well as special teams - make him tough to keep off the field.

''He has built in leverage, which I think is important in this sport, and really good balance, too,'' Shula said. ''... He plays with an attitude of toughness and whatever it takes. We feel lucky to have him.''

Tolbert was used primarily in short-yardage and goal-line situations last year in Carolina and most of his four seasons in San Diego. His 30 touchdowns rushing since 2010 are tied for sixth-most in the NFL.

But on Sunday with DeAngelo Williams out with an injury and Jonathan Stewart struggling to pick up yards, the Panthers turned to Tolbert more often between the 20s and in longer down-and-distance situations.

Tolbert didn't disappoint, racking up 89 yards from scrimmage.

Rivera, a former linebacker, smiled when asked how he'd tackle Tolbert.

''I don't know,'' Rivera said. ''I know that he'd hit me in the chest, that's for sure.''

Tolbert, 28, is far from fancy.

After Sunday's win, he pulled on a dark hooded sweatshirt with two pit bulls plastered on the front. He said he owns two pit bulls. In the locker room he's the resident comedian and teammates say you can often hear his voice from across the room.

But on the field, he's all about producing.

Tolbert has quietly run for 301 yards and four touchdowns and caught 19 passes for 145 yards and two TDs.

That may surprise some. But it certainly doesn't surprise Tolbert, who has turned a college career at tiny Coastal Carolina into a successful six-year NFL career.

''Everybody underestimates me - for a minute,'' Tolbert said.

NOTES: Rivera said he expects Williams, defensive Charles Johnson, linebacker Chase Blackburn and tight end Ben Hartsock to return to practice Wednesday.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

LaMichael JamesSep 18 11:32p

The Miami Dolphins have expressed interest in free-agent RB LaMichael James (49ers) and it is believed that he has some interest in the team. James is expected to take [ More ]

Knowshon MorenoSep 18 11:32p

Miami Dolphins RB Knowshon Moreno (elbow) has been telling teammates that he hopes to return after the team's Week 5 bye.

Eric DeckerSep 18 11:14p

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan wants WR Eric Decker (hamstring) to test his injured hamstring in the coming days. The team would like to see him participate in practice Saturday, Sept. 20.

Dez BryantSep 18 11:12p

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (shoulder) said his injured shoulder is sore but fully expects to play in Week 3. Bryant said his shoulder will not affect his performance or style of play.

Devin HesterSep 18 10:12p

Atlanta Falcons WR Devin Hester left the game early Week 3 because of cramps and is considered questionable to return.

Harry DouglasSep 18 10:12p

Updating a previous report, Atlanta Falcons WR Harry Douglas (foot) suffered a foot injury in Week 3 and is considered questionable to return.

Josh McCownSep 18 10:12p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Josh McCown (thumb) suffered a right thumb injury in Week 3, and is considered questionable to return.

Harry DouglasSep 18 10:02p

Atlanta Falcons WR Harry Douglas (undisclosed) was helped off the field after suffering an undisclosed injury during the team's Week 3 game.

Robert WoodsSep 18 09:42p

Buffalo Bills WR Robert Woods (ankle) would not be able to play in Week 3 at this point because of his injury, according to head coach Doug Marrone.

Justin SmithSep 18 09:32p

San Francisco 49ers CB Tramaine Brock (toe), OT Anthony Davis (hamstring), C Marcus Martin (knee) and TE Vance McDonald (knee) did not participate in practice Thursday, Sept. 18. RB [ More ]

John AbrahamSep 18 09:02p

Arizona Cardinals LB John Abraham (concussion), TE Rob Housler (hip), LB Alex Okafor (thigh), DE Frostee Rucker (calf) and P Dave Zastudil (groin) did not participate in practice Thursday, [ More ]

Scott WellsSep 18 08:42p

St. Louis Rams CB Trumaine Johnson (knee), C Barrett Jones (back), TE Cory Harkey (knee), CB Brandon McGee (foot) and OG Rodger Saffold (illness) did not participate in practice [ More ]

Shaun HillSep 18 08:22p

St. Louis Rams QB Austin Davis or QB Shaun Hill (thigh) could come down to a game-time decision in Week 3 against the Dallas Cowboys, according to head coach Jeff Fisher.

Zach MillerSep 18 08:22p

Seattle Seahawks LB Bruce Irvin (rib), TE Zach Miller (ankle), LB Mike Morgan (hip) and CB Tharold Simon (knee) did not participate in practice Thursday, Sept. 18. RB Christine [ More ]

Kedric GolstonSep 18 08:12p

Washington Redskins DE Kedric Golston (groin), LB Akeem Jordan (knee) and CB Tracy Porter (hamstring) did not participate in practice Thursday, Sept. 18. OG Kory Lichtensteiger (groin) and PK [ More ]

Adrian PetersonSep 18 07:52p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's case for child abuse could take six to 18 months to go to trial, according to a source. Peterson is on the Exempt/Commissioner's Permission list and is out indefinitely.

Johnny ManzielSep 18 07:42p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel's playing time is decided during the game, according to offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. Shanahan said using Manziel makes the defense have to think more [ More ]

Vontaze BurfictSep 18 07:42p

Cincinnati Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict (concussion) looks unlikely to play in Week 3 against the Tennessee Titans after leaving each of the first two games of the year with [ More ]

Shane VereenSep 18 07:22p

New England Patriots RB Shane Vereen (shoulder) was limited in practice for the second straight day Thursday, Sept. 18.

A. Seferian-JenkinsSep 18 07:12p

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have declared TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, RB Doug Martin, DL Gerald McCoy, OT Kevin Pamphile, CB Kip Edwards, LB Mason Foster, OG Rishaw Johnson inactive for Week 3.

Jerome SimpsonSep 18 07:02p

The Minnesota Vikings have released WR Jerome Simpson Thursday, Sept. 18.

Roddy WhiteSep 18 07:02p

Atlanta Falcons WR Roddy White (hamstring) is inactive for Week 3 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Thursday, Sept. 18.

Doug MartinSep 18 07:02p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin (knee) is officially inactive Thursday, Sept. 18.

C. WhitehurstSep 18 07:02p

Tennessee Titans CB Jason McCourty (groin) and LB Wesley Woodyard (ankle) were limited in practice Thursday, Sept. 18. QB Charlie Whitehurst (finger) participated fully.

Cliff MatthewsSep 18 07:02p

The Atlanta Falcons have declared DL Cliff Matthews, C James Stone, CB Javier Arenas, WR Roddy White, OT Ryan Schraeder, QB Sean Renfree, LB Tyler Starr inactive for Week 3.

Brett KeiselSep 18 06:52p

Pittsburgh Steelers OG Ramon Foster (ankle) did not practice Thursday, Sept. 18. RB Dri Archer (ankle) was limited. WR Martavis Bryant (shoulder), DE Brett Keisel (non-injury related), DT Steve [ More ]

Jonathan GoodwinSep 18 06:42p

New Orleans Saints S Marcus Ball (hamstring), LB David Hawthorne (ankle) and FB Erik Lorig (ankle) did not practice Thursday, Sept. 18. C Jonathan Goodwin (elbow), LB Kyle Knox [ More ]

Xavier RhodesSep 18 06:42p

Minnesota Vikings DT Sharrif Floyd (shoulder) did not practice Thursday, Sept. 18. LB Chad Greenway (hand, rib), OT Phil Loadholt (ankle) and LB Brandon Watts (knee) were limited. LB [ More ]

Alfonzo DennardSep 18 06:42p

New England Patriots DE Michael Buchanan (ankle), LB Jamie Collins (thigh), OG Dan Connolly (knee), CB Alfonzo Dennard (shoulder), S Don Jones (hamstring), DT Sealver Siliga (hand) and C [ More ]

Charles RogersSep 18 06:42p

Oakland Raiders LB Sio Moore (ankle) did not practice Thursday, Sept. 18. CB Chimdi Chekwa (knee), OT Matt McCants (knee), LB Nick Roach (concussion), CB Charles Rogers (knee) and [ More ]

Ryan CladySep 18 06:32p

Denver Broncos LB Lerentee McCray (knee) and LB Danny Trevathan (knee) did not practice Thursday, Sept. 18. OG Ben Garland (ankle) was limited, while DT Marvin Austin (non-injury), S [ More ]

Tony RomoSep 18 06:22p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo (back) returned to a full practice Thursday, Sept. 18, after skipping practice Wednesday, Sept. 17, with tightness in his back.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group