Since adding running back Jonathan Stewart to the physically unable to perform list, it was apparent that DeAngelo Williams would assume the majority of the work load for the Carolina Panthers. For the most part, Williams has had a pretty good start to the season. He only fumbled the ball twice in Week 1 against the Seattle Seahawks. This was a huge shock because Williams is known for his ball security. Since then, he has held on to the ball and hasn’t given it away.
Through five weeks, Williams averages about 83 yards a game, which ranks him fourth in the league. He has totaled 330 yards on the ground so far in the season. That makes him tied for 11th place. On paper, Williams is playing very good football. However, the biggest issue is that he has zero touchdowns. Granted the Panthers have Mike Tolbert who is nicknamed “Bowling Ball” for a reason. He is a tank on wheels who can pound the ball into the end zone from anywhere inside the red zone. Tolbert is built like a fullback but with outstanding speed for someone of his size. He usually gets the carries in the red zone.
Still, Williams needs to earn points for the Panthers. Williams is 5-9 and 215 pounds. He isn’t the biggest running back, but he has some power behind those legs that can drive any defensive player back. Along with his tough running is his break out speed. If he cuts outside the tackles and sees open space, he will beat most players with his speed. That being said, his longest rush of the season has only been 27 yards. Whether it is the specific play calling or the blocking schemes, that number should be a lot higher. If Williams can break longer runs, he will be able to get into the end zone with out being in the red zone. This will take a lot of pressure off the pass game and it will increase his value as a running back.
So far, Williams has been a very consistent back. He easily could be leading the league in average rushing yards a game if he would have had a better performance against the Arizona Cardinals. It wasn’t completely his fault considering he only got 12 carries throughout the whole game when he averages about 20 carries. The Panthers lost control of the game early and attempted to get back in by abandoning the run game and relying solely on Cam Newton. However, any team that abandons an aspect of the offense only dooms themselves. Hopefully Williams can bounce back next week against the Minnesota Vikings. He will be going toe-to-toe with the NFL‘s number one running back Adrian Peterson. Williams just needs to focus on his game and keep the confidence of his team and punch one or two in for a score.