With the benefit of their bye week now in the rear-view mirror, the Carolina Panthers expect to get their first look at running back Kenjon Barner this week against the Arizona Cardinals.
According to Steve Reed of the Associated Press, Panthers head coach Ron Rivera is optimistic Barner can play this week and help take some of the load of DeAngelo Williams.
With the injuries to Barner and Jonathan Stewart, Williams has had to be a workhorse for the Panthers. He’s averaged nearly 21 carries a game through the first three weeks of the season. Doug Martin, Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson are the only backs averaging more carries per game.
Barner has missed been sidelined with a sprained foot for the Panthers’ first three games of the season. A sixth-round draft pick, Barner’s speed impressed in training camp and Rivera said he sees Barner as a “scat-back” in a similar mold of New Orleans Saints running back Darren Sproles.
“I’ve been anxious to get back,” Barner said. “I’ve been nervous. I’ve irritated, annoyed and everything that you can be. So to finally have the opportunity to step out on that field I’m extremely excited. I want to bring some energy to the team.”
Barner carried 16 times for 45 yards and a touchdown in three preseason games before being sidelined by injury.