RB Jonathan Stewart - Carolina Panthers
|5-10, 235||Born: 3-21-1987||College: Oregon||Drafted: Round 1, pick 13|
News you need to know
From Mark Wimer's Monday injury report (Mon Jan 25): Stewart played through his sore ankle in the NFC Championship game, and now has a bye week to receive treatment and get ready for the Super Bowl.
General News (Tue Feb 2): missed practice all of last week, but he was back on the practice field Monday, Feb. 1.
Week 21: at Denver Broncos
Mark and Joe say: Tough matchup. Panthers' RB Jonathan Stewart (sore ankle), who missed practice all of last week, was back on the practice field Monday, February 1. As Stewart is an experienced veteran, we are not concerned that Stewart took off the bye week to rest and recuperate for the ultimate game of the season. He should be ready to rock for the Panthers in Super Bowl 50. Stewart dominated the Seahawks during the Divisional Round of the playoffs, posting 19/106/2 rushing with 1/5/0 receiving as the Panthers started hot (a 31-0 lead over Seattle) and then hung on to win 31-24. Mike Tolbert was second on the club with 7/17/0 rushing in that game, while Cam Newton was neatly contained in this phase of the game by the Seahawks, winding up with just three yards rushing out of 11 attempts. Against Arizona in the Conference Championship game, Stewart led the team in rushing with 19/83/0 on the ground, and added 2/5/0 receiving, while Newton piled up 10/47/2 rushing during the 49-15 rout of the Cardinals. Mike Tolbert was quiet with 3/4/0 rushing and 1/14/0 receiving - all three players will be in the mix to some extent on Sunday, with Stewart and Newton likely to handle most of the rushes. Denver was third in the NFL last season averaging 83.6 yards rushing allowed per game, with 10 rushing scores given up over 16 games. Over the final four weeks of regular season, the Broncos gave up a miserly 10.3 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs (third-least in the NFL). Pittsburgh posted 19/85/1 rushing in Denver; New England managed 17/44/1 rushing there during the Conference Championship game. During the postseason, Denver is second among the 12 playoff teams averaging 64.5 rushing yards allowed per game, with two rushing scores handed over. It is not easy to run on Denver this year - this is a tough matchup for Stewart, Newton, and company.
Recent Stats and Projections
Recent Game Summaries
2015 Week 20 vs ARI (19 / 83 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 5 / 0 rec)
Stewart's final stat-line looked a bit more impressive than his night truly was, with his 23-yard long boosting both his yardage total and per-carry average into a respectable range, but his role in the offense still proved important. He helped wear-down the defense, take pressure off of Cam, and kept the Cardinals defense on their heels enough to never really swing the momentum of the game back in their favor. Stewart never truly broke loose on Sunday, or took over the game at any point, but with a weapon like Newton behind center, providing a balance for him on offense is often all that is necessary, and once again, Stewart did that exceptionally well.
2015 Week 19 vs SEA (19 / 106 / 2 rush, 1 / 1 / 5 / 0 rec)
The returning Jonathan Stewart, who had missed several weeks with a foot injury, lit the fuse for the Panthers. Behind excellent blocks from right guard Trai Turner and full-back Mike Tolbert, Stewart patiently picked his way through the line of scrimmage and exploded for a 60+ yard gain. Stewart built on that run with a pair of short touchdown runs in the red zone. The first came after an incredible job of washing the Seattle defensive line down the line of scrimmage by the Panthers offensive line. Stewart needed only lower his shoulders and finish the run strongly. His second touchdown run came on a dive over the top of the pile. He had the presence of mind to reach the ball out to break the plane quickly, withdrawing it back into his body before it could be knocked free. Stewart found little joy for the remainder of the game as the offense went into 'protect' mode, and Seattle became much more disciplined against the run. Nevertheless, Stewart provided a sustaining force and kept churning out short gains.
2015 Week 14 vs ATL (10 / 75 / 1 rush, 1 / 1 / 14 / 0 rec)
Starting off strongly with a huge run behind a convoy of blockers, who created a terrific seal, Jonathan Stewart set the tone early for the Panthers offense. Despite facing eight-man boxes, the quality of the blocks in front of him allowed Stewart to pick his way through traffic and gain positive yardage. He showed excellent vision on an inside give that was going nowhere; spotting the contain defender off left tackle had squeezed too far inside, Stewart bounced out the back door and turned it into a nice gain. His lone touchdown run came on a diving effort at the 1-yard line behind the interior of the Panthers offensive line, which bulldozed a path for the bullish back. Stewart picked up a slight foot injury at some point in the first half. With the game in hand, the coaching staff opted to sit him for the remainder of the game and he saw no snaps in the second half, paving the way for a committee of Fozzy Whittaker and Mike Tolbert.
2015 Week 13 vs NO (21 / 82 / 1 rush, 3 / 3 / 31 / 0 rec)
In a typically no-nonsense outing, Jonathan Stewart managed to keep the Panthers offense on schedule despite some early hiccups. That error came in the form of a fumble which was recovered by the Saints and returned for a touchdown. It appeared to be a normal Stewart run, but before he could get down to the ground the ball was knocked out from under his arm. With every player stopping, Stephone Anthony picked the ball up and went straight to the end zone. The mistake - and the physicality being shown by a fired-up Saints front seven - seemed to energize Stewart, who only grew stronger as the game went on. He consistently broke tackles and showed terrific Matrix-esque moves on a couple of dump-off passes into the flat. Thriving behind a good offensive line performance, Stewart showed his patience and speed on several touches, often making something out of nothing. He capped off his day with a touchdown on a clever option pitch from Cam Newton, adjusting well to the lofted ball. Stewart had more red zone opportunities, but a stout Saints defense seemed intent on taking away the Panthers' rushing attack inside the 20.
2015 Week 12 vs DAL (21 / 68 / 0 rush, 4 / 3 / 9 / 0 rec)
It was another quietly productive game from the Panthers' workhorse back, who displayed his usual blend of patience and power to good effect. Stewart started strongly as the offensive line blasted open holes and gave him a good platform to work from. The game quickly turned into a favorable game script for the Carolina offense, and when things flowed through Stewart they appeared unstoppable. After a couple of lackluster drives in the third quarter punctuated by pass attempts, they returned to the ground game and prospered. Stewart's leg drive on inside runs was impressive, but he found little joy outside against a fast-flowing Dallas defense. Stewart got involved in the passing game, finding space outside on a couple of check down passes, but his best work was between the tackles.
2015 Week 11 vs WAS (21 / 102 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 12 / 1 rec)
The engine of an impressive Panthers offensive performance, Jonathan Stewart got the team off on the right foot. Set up yards away from the goal line, Cam Newton executed a nice play fake to Stewart, who then flared into the right flat. Newton found him immediately and Stewart did the rest for the easy score. He was, however, flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after throwing a football at a Washington defender, insisting the defender had taken a cheap shot at his knee after the score. Stewart took advantage of a gassed Washington defense throughout, showing terrific burst and patience at the line to let his blocks develop. On one particular run off left tackle, Stewart looked dead to rights in the backfield, but somehow escaped and used a stiff arm and some nifty footwork to break loose. Even with the game well in hand, Stewart continued to churn out yardage behind a determined offensive line that seemed to get stronger as the game wore on.
2015 Week 10 vs TEN (22 / 91 / 1 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Jonathan Stewart looked very comfortable from the get-go against Tennessee, finding small creases and looking particularly spry going north and south. Even when backfield penetration from Tennessee forced him to make a quick cut, he showed great fluidity of movement to bounce and drive for yards. His decisiveness as a runner was evident on his touchdown dash. With Newton in the shotgun, both Stewart and Greg Olsen flanked him. At the snap, Stewart and Olsen crossed each other to create confusion in the defense, allowing Stewart a nice lane behind left guard to burst through. Showing incredible vision to interpret his blocks at the second level, Stewart weaved around a would-be tackler and bounced it left for the score. Stewart kept the momentum up and finished the game strong, wearing Tennessee down with some powerful totes late. Stewart was unfortunate not to record a second rushing touchdown, as a late carry was stopped just shy of the goal line.
2015 Week 9 vs GB (20 / 66 / 0 rush, 2 / 1 / 2 / 0 rec)
It was a gutsy performance from Jonathan Stewart, who had to scratch and claw for every yard on the ground against a Packers defense that loaded the box. Stewart was able to find some creases from time to time and maximized them, dragging tacklers and lowering his shoulder to fall forward for extra yards. The return of centre Ryan Kalil gave the ground game a boost, and Stewart found joy running behind the interior trio of the offensive line, who bullied the Packers' interior defenders. Stewart came just short of scoring a touchdown on a physical run during which he dragged a tackler or two, ending up at the three-yard line. In a workmanlike display, Stewart kept the Packers defense honest, but it was the arm of Cam Newton that had to get the job done.
2015 Week 8 vs IND (24 / 82 / 1 rush, 2 / 1 / 1 / 0 rec)
Once again shouldering a heavy load for the offense, Jonathan Stewart fought through the tough, wet conditions in Charlotte in some style. Showing a never-say-die approach on each run, Stewart refused to go down on first contact and lowered his pads to gain extra yards when the opportunity presented itself. The Colts sold out to stop the ground game and did a good job bottling up Stewart and forcing him outside, where his lack of top-end speed could be exploited. The Panthers offense lost starting guard Andrew Norwell early to a hamstring injury, and center Ryan Kalil was also missing through injury. Despite that, Stewart managed to feel his blocks well and hit the hole with anger and determination. His touchdown run encapsulated everything good about his game; set up at the one-yard line, Stewart showed excellent patience, vision and power to allow the crease to present itself before hitting it with authority, showing terrific second effort. Stewart fumbled the football on an exchange with Newton after the ball was knocked out with a clubbed fist, only Stewart's second fumble in 606 touches.
2015 Week 7 vs PHI (24 / 125 / 0 rush, 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Assuming the workhorse role against a stout Eagles front, Jonathan Stewart did not shirk his responsibilities and, if anything, only got stronger as the hits kept coming. The Panthers showed a real commitment to the ground game, hoping to capitalize on the Eagles' smaller back seven players with their physical offensive line. The game plan worked, but only because Stewart made it work with a 'bull in a china shop' mentality between the tackles. It wasn't all a handful of yards and a cloud of dust, though; Stewart showed great feel and patience for running lanes and consistently maximized his rush attempts. His number was not called in the red zone, but that was more a consequence of him being tired after toting the football so many times on the drives in question. His lone mistake was a missed block in pass protection that resulted in a sack, but that was the exception to the rule this season for Stewart, who has been solid in that department. It was a statement performance from Stewart.
2015 Week 6 vs SEA (20 / 78 / 2 rush, 1 / 1 / 8 / 0 rec)
A bullish Jonathan Stewart provided the impetus for a Panthers offense that needed a spark after a sluggish start in Seattle. Stewart, running with reckless abandon for his wellbeing, punished tacklers and maximized every touch to keep the offense on schedule. Seattle denied Stewart on occasion with some backfield penetration, but even on those carries Stewart managed to squeeze out of contact and earn some tough yards. The Panthers offensive line has been a pleasant surprise this season, and often extra blockers were kept in to help set the edge, which Stewart took advantage of on a beautiful counter off left tackle. Stewart's tough, no-nonsense style was the exclamation point for two touchdown drives, as the former Oregon back dove over the top on one and bulldozed his way through would-be tacklers for the other. Stewart was not able to break any long runs, but this was a game of well-played defense and he made the most of the touches he got.
2015 Week 4 vs TB (10 / 50 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
The Panthers offensive line continues to struggle to establish a platform for Jonathan Stewart and the other backs. For every 10-yard scamper, there is an equally frustrating run for negative yards, with the latter happening all too often for their liking. Stewart ran with a great blend of power and patience against Tampa Bay, finishing his carries by popping defenders, but maintaining ball security for the most part. Stewart did have one fumble, knocked out by a helmet to the football from Tampa Bay safety Chris Conte, that resulted in one of the most bizarre touchdowns you will see all season. After the ball was dislodged, it flew into the air only for Panthers tight end Ed Dickson, who was blocking on the play, to run underneath it and streak into the end zone. Stewart also had an issue on an exchange with Cam Newton, but the resulting fumble was firmly on Newton, who couldn't handle the football in the wet conditions. Stewart was rested late on with the game in hand, giving way to rookie Cameron Artis-Payne.
2015 Week 3 vs NO (14 / 52 / 0 rush, 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Through three weeks, Jonathan Stewart continues to be the epitome of effort: without exception, he runs with terrific power, burst and attitude. However, whether through poor run blocking or opposing defenses filling all the gaps, he has been unable to get into second gear. Stewart had a few nice carries off the zone read, showing excellent quickness in the hole on one crowded carry up the middle. The Panthers employ a lot of different looks in their rushing attack, but Stewart seems to thrive off power blocking as he did a beautifully blocked tote off left tackle, following pulling guard Andrew Norwell to the perimeter. Stewart was spelled by Mike Tolbert at times in the red zone, but that was more to do with the game situation and recent workload than poor play. Stewart left the game with an injury in the fourth quarter but appeared to be ready to come back in if called upon. In the end, the Panthers did not need him to re-enter the game, as it had already been decided.
2015 Week 2 vs HOU (17 / 62 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / -3 / 0 rec)
Jonathan Stewart had to take the bullet for the offense in this tight encounter and act as more of a sustaining presence than a dynamic backfield threat. Receiving the bulk of the carries, Stewart found little running room against a Texans front that seemed to penetrate constantly and disrupt the offensive line's blocks. Runs off zone read looks, a staple of the Panthers offense, allowed defenders to shoot gaps and tackle Stewart for a loss. Despite the backfield traffic, Stewart showed excellent wiggle and power to find small creases and squeeze out yards that didn't seem to be there. Stewart showed excellent burst on a carry off right tackle, luring the pursuing defenders in first before turning on the jets to the corner. Stewart was not a significant part of the passing attack, but showed no fear as a pass blocker against J.J. Watt and company.
2015 Week 1 vs JAX (18 / 56 / 0 rush, 4 / 4 / 25 / 0 rec)
Assuming the workhorse role in a typically conservative Carolina victory, Jonathan Stewart looked powerful, spry and purposeful as he kept the offense on schedule. Often the Jaguars were able to bottle Stewart up for minimal gains, but he always fought for extra yards and never went down on first contact. The Panthers' offensive line was able to spring him a couple of times on well-blocked plays, including a counter that went for 15 yards. Stewart was able to make his own yards on a toss that was designed to go left, only for the crafty veteran to reverse field, weave his way through would-be tacklers and make positive gains. Stewart was a fixture of the passing game and hardly came off the field; Newton looked to him as a check down option several times. Stewart appears healthy and poised for more of the same against less formidable front sevens.
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