It is my honor to preview the Running Backs for your 2012 Carolina Panthers. I'm not going to spend a lot of time or effort discussing Williams, Stewart, or Tolbert: 100% guaranteed to make the roster, and get a jersey every week, if healthy.
What more is there to say about Double-Trouble? Combined with Cam's running skillz, Deangelo an Jonathan are lethal. They are both rated among the most elusive backs in the league over the last 3 years. D'Lo strikes like lightening, while Stewy prefers to inflict a little punishment along the way. They are the perfect tandem of running backs.
As to Tolbert, I'll just say his unexpected signing as a Fullback/H-Back is like adding a full array of 5" guns to our backfield Battleship (Iowa Class) arsenal already equipped with dual 16" batteries. He'll be a problem for the defenses we face.
Editor's Plea: Regarding the Williams/Stewart tandem. It doesn't matter which you think is better, they are both awesome. Any discussion of trade scenarios involving Stewart is totally unsubstantiated speculation. I believe I speak for the majority here in saying, "Just let it go." I'm not trying to censor your comments, so feel free to write anything, if it brings something new to the table. I'm only trying to prevent the thread from being hijacked by the same argument I read just last week.
However, if you just feel inclined to discuss the merits of two equally awesome yet different type entities, may I suggest a debate as to which is better: Bojangles Cajun Chicken biscuit or Bojangles Ham, Egg, and Cheese Biscuit. And whichever way you go, you get a free side of BoBerry Bisuits...
For me there's no debate. I'll take both, with a double-side of BoBerries.
The remainder of this article will focus on the 3rd running back (or 4th counting Tolbert). I find it comparable to choosing whether I want the Large, Medium, or Small Cajun Fries with my order. Or would that be adding an anti-aircraft gun to my Battleship? Dadgummet, I've gone and mixed my metaphors again. Well, I'll just have to try to move on... after the jump.
The first question to ask of course, is "Do we really need Fries/Gun, when we're already loaded. I think we do, and I think that's why we picked up 3 UDFAs plus1 RB on waivers, even though Josh Vaughan was re-signed last Nov. (contract terms undisclosed). The reasons we're checking these guys out are as follows:
- Injury insurance - what if we lose a main battery/drop a biscuit?
- Sproles Factor - The addition of a complementary weapon/side item only makes us even more dangerous/tasty(?)
- Game Finisher - When we're up 30 points in the 4th quarter, we might as well shut down the big guns/save some for later (unless it's against the Taint's, in which case we Open Up/Chow Down!)
Authors note: Dropping the Battleship metaphor... too damn'd hard.
The choice of 3rd RB/ Fries will play itself out during OTAs and Training Camp. I have no semblance of an idea of what the Coaches want to see, or which one they'll pick. Incumbent Jacques Vaughan may have the inside track, as a known commodity - Big back (Jumbo Fry) that runs North/South and rarely loses yards.
Tauren Poole (Large Fry), Volunteer out of Tennessee (SEC) would have to be the popular favorite for the job. But, his production dropped during his Senior campaign, and he habitually failed to play big in big games. Film study (from Jr. year, 2010 only) shows that he has a strong burst through the hole, yet rarely had to improvise. He's pretty much a North/South-type runner.
Lyndon Rowells (Large Fry), Mighty Lumberjack of Humboldt State (Div. II), has impressive stats and measurables, and a pretty good highlight video (see below).
Princeton McCarty (Small Fry) Vandal out of Idaho (WAC) is intriguing. When I pored exhaustively over the highlight reels, I became a fan of this kid. It looks to me like he makes good things happen even when the play breaks down, showing great elusiveness in tight places and in the open field. I dub him "Most Sprolesesque" of the group.
Armond Smith (Small Fry) was picked off the waiver wire from Cleveland after a forgettable rookie season. Originally a Union College Bulldog (NAIA), he has elite speed. He is capable of catching passes out of the backfield and once he has the ball in space, look out. Armond runs too upright to be a back in the NFL, but could be a potential slot guy/special teams return man; he’s worth a shot in camp. One thing noteworthy about Smith is he reportedly ran the 100 meters in 10.2 seconds. He probably won't make the team, but he'll definitely make guys chase him during camp (kind of like Rocky 2, where he trains to be fast by trying to catch a chicken; Yo, Adrian).
Click link below if you want to see Measurables and Stats for the FA Running Backs:
And now, in case you've made it this far, I've got a few highlight reels you may (or may not) want to watch: