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Panthers' Jonathan Stewart May Sit Out All Season

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Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images.
Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images.

Carolina Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart was placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list earlier this week, and he is set to miss the first six games of the season due to an injured ankle.

For Panthers fans, it’s devastating to see Stewart, Carolina’s second all-time leading rusher in yards and touchdowns, battle injuries. Since being drafted out of Oregon in 2008, “The Daily Show” saw his rushing yards rise to as high as 1,133 in 2009, only to drop every year since (770 in 2010, 761 in 2011 and 336 in 2012).

Some are ready to hit the panic button. Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer points out that Stewart may legitimately sit out the entire season and how crucial the possibility of losing him for the 2013 season would be. This could be a case of addition by subtraction for the ‘Cats this season. I mean, when your quarterback is known to imitate ripping his jersey off like Superman, it would seem like the right move to rely on what “Super-Cam” can do as opposed to what Stewart now can’t.

As Judy Battista of NFL.com points out, Carolina’s second-half season surge illustrated a sample of success, when they went away from a run-heavy offense and relied more on Netwon’s ability to be patient in the passing game and pick apart defenses with his arm. The Panthers won five of their last six games last year once they ditched the read-option and simplified things more with Newton, which also limited the team’s turnovers. Newton threw 10 interceptions and coughed up the ball nine times, starting the season 2-8. In the team’s final six games, Newton was only picked off twice with one fumble.        

DeAngelo Williams will still be in the backfield this year with a versatile Mike Tolbert to back him up. If the Panthers stick to its simple approach that had them finish the season strong, Stewart’s injury will be less of a concern to the Panthers and more so for Stewart.