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Ron Rivera on crowded backfield: We can’t worry about touches for everyone

Jonathan Stewart AP

Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart has declared himself ready to make his return to game action from his long absence after offseason ankle surgeries, which will make for a crowded situation in the team’s backfield.

DeAngelo Williams has run well enough to be 10th in the NFL with 477 yards and Mike Tolbert is tied with Cam Newton for the team lead in rushing touchdowns with three, so it’s not like there’s an easy call to be made about who should be cast aside to get Stewart carries. Coach Ron Rivera didn’t give any indication about the pecking order in the backfield on Wednesday because, as he explained, it is going to be up to the players to determine who gets the ball as the season unfolds.

“One thing we can’t worry about is making sure everybody gets enough touches. What has to happen is when these guys get their opportunities they have to be quality touches,” Rivera said, via the Charlotte Observer. “We can’t force things. What we’ve got to do is [offensive coordinator] Mike [Shula] has to continue to call his game the way he wants to call it, and at the end of the day when you get your opportunity, make the best of it.”

That might not be music to the ears of fantasy team owners trying to figure out which Panthers back is the best bet going forward, but it is the most sensible way for the Panthers to handle things in reality football. They have a lot of options at their disposal, but the offense is only going to work if they decide who plays because of production.

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10 Responses to “Ron Rivera on crowded backfield: We can’t worry about touches for everyone”
  1. n0hopeleft says: Oct 31, 2013 10:08 AM

    Why would you change anything at this point if you’re the Panthers?

    Williams and Stewart should share and feed off each other, and Tolbert is near unstoppable inside the 5.

    The Panthers have come a long way.

  2. pfic15 says: Oct 31, 2013 10:29 AM

    They will still finish 7-9 or 8-8.

  3. eaglesnoles05 says: Oct 31, 2013 10:32 AM

    If you drafted Deangelo in fantasy- you did it mostly because Stewart was on PUP and you were getting a RB who would get a lion’s share of the carries while you figured out what to do to fill that starting lineup spot with someone better when stewart came back. That time is now.

    And if you are like me and did that, you probably aren’t too happy with how deangelo performed anyway.

  4. tinbender2000 says: Oct 31, 2013 10:37 AM

    Damn, wish my team had that problem.

  5. steelersaregodsteam says: Oct 31, 2013 10:53 AM

    God be with the Steelers.

    Always.

  6. hanklee1989 says: Oct 31, 2013 11:48 AM

    This used to be the best backfield in the NFL. Boy, how the times have changed in Carolina.

  7. ilovefoolsball says: Oct 31, 2013 12:22 PM

    Just don’t take any carries away from Cam Newton. I kept her in my keeper league and she hasn’t disappointed yet.

    I don’t care if Carolina wins or loses, hell I’d rather they lose, but don’t take any carries away from the QB please.

  8. drunkencat1 says: Oct 31, 2013 2:23 PM

    It is still one of the best backfields in the league, but team is more balanced now where it was run first before Cam.

    Panthers should have shipped Williams or Stewart off over the past two years for help at much needed positions like OL, WR, or DB.

    I think there was a big cap hit to trade Stewart this year and that is probably why it did not happen, but I’m pretty sure one of these guys won’t be a Panther next season. It is really overkill to have that much tied up at RB when there are other areas of the team that need attention.

  9. tennesseeoilers says: Oct 31, 2013 2:31 PM

    Remember the 2008 season when both of our cities tried to lay claim to the “Smash & Dash” backfield? How we Titans fans gloated when Chris Johnson and LenDale White outgained DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart?

    Um … yeah, safe to say you guys get the last gloat.

    – Titans Fan Who Would Kill For Your Backfield

  10. teek77 says: Oct 31, 2013 4:48 PM

    The best thing for the Panthers would have been for them to find someone (outside their division) who needs Stewart, before he gets hurt again. I really don’t expect him to last more than 1 1/2 games. I just hope he doesn’t just “take a dive”.

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