As the Panthers limp along into the second half of the season, they’re getting closer to having their full running game back.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera told reporters today that running back DeAngelo Williams said he was “ready to roll,” this week, and expected to play Thursday against the Saints.
That would be a help, since he hasn’t played since a Sept. 28 high ankle sprain, and he missed two games before that with a hamstring strain.
“It’ll be a nice boost,” Rivera said, via David Newton of ESPN.com. “When he and Jonathan [Stewart] get rolling and doing the things they do that’s a huge thing for us. That could be a nice shot in the arm.”
Stewart, who missed three games with a knee injury earlier this year, had a season-high 79 yards on 16 carries in yesterday’s 13-9 loss to the Seahawks.
“It will help a lot just to complement Stewart,” offensive coordinator Mike Shula said of having Williams back. “When we’re rushing the ball effectively it’s usually with those two guys.”
Of course, the Panthers offense was at its best this year when Cam Newton wasn’t running as much, as they bogged down waiting for him to make a read-option play yesterday.