Panthers switching up running back game plan
Jonathan Stewart, a former Timberline High School standout, will get his second consecutive start as coach Ron Rivera tries to find a more reliable back.
The Charlotte Observer
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Jonathan Stewart will make his second consecutive start at running back Sunday against the Chicago Bears as Panthers head coach Ron Rivera looks for a hot hand in the running game.
Stewart, a former standout at Timberline High School in Lacey, will take the place of DeAngelo Williams, who since 2008 has started all but four games in which he's played for the Panthers. Against Dallas, Williams had two carries for 4 yards.
"I want to see one guy pound and get a rhythm, then see the other guy pound and get a rhythm," Rivera said. "To me it's hard for a back to get a rhythm when you're coming out every other play. So just looking back at some of those things philosophically and saying, look, this is what we have to do."
Stewart and Williams have combined for 319 rushing yards this year.
Rivera said that when he told Williams about the new rushing plan, which veers from the old scheme of frequently subbing the two backs, Williams understood but didn't agree.
"When he gets a chance, he wants the ball, and I appreciate that, I really do," Rivera said. "But under the circumstances, we're trying to do something right now."
• Carolina offensive lineman Lee Ziemba has been suspended for four games after testing positive for a banned stimulant, Ziemba said Saturday in a statement released by his agent.
• New York Giants safety Kenny Phillips and defensive tackle Rocky Bernard, both starters, have been ruled out for Sunday's game in Dallas against the Cowboys.
The Associated Press
contributed to this report.