Carolina Panthers featured back Jonathan Stewart (leg) is listed as probable for the Week 4 clash against Tampa Bay.
After missing the previous two practices, Stewart returned as a full participant Friday. He should be fine to lead the Carolina backfield, but his upside is limited by his lack of contribution in the passing game, not to mention the ample competition for goal-line carries from quarterback Cam Newton and fullback Mike Tolbert.
Newton collected his highest passing-yardage total since Week 2 of the 2011 season. Coming into Week 3 action, he had the second-lowest completion percentage and fourth lowest quarterback rating in the league. In those games, tight end Greg Olsen had a total of seven catches for 81 yards. On Sunday, Olsen had eight grabs for 134 yards.
With limited weapons on the outside in the absence of Kelvin Benjamin, expect Newton's effectiveness as a passer to be tied to the success of his tight end.
While he failed to top 200 yards through the air for the second straight game, Newton came through for his fantasy owners with a strong contribution in the ground game and a pair of long touchdown passes.
It is evident that the Panthers plan to run Newton more than the 7.4 times per game he averaged last season, and Sunday showed the type of fantasy return he is capable of providing even with mediocre passing yardage totals. Next up for the Panthers is a divisional showdown in Week 3, when the struggling Saints come to town.
Newton completed 18 of 31 passes for 175 yards and one touchdown and added an interception. His 7-yard scoring strike to Jerricho Cotchery early in the second quarter put Carolina ahead to stay.
He did not run the ball effectively, though. Newton was held to just 35 yards on 14 carries.
He will try to lead Carolina to another win next Sunday against the Texans.
"Nothing about this contract changes my approach to the game," Newton said. "I'm still going to be the person who's willing to win at all costs, but I have to understand what I mean to this team. We always have talks -- coach (Ron) Rivera and I, as well as Mr. (Dave) Gettleman -- about playing smart and being smart when I'm on the field. And I feel like I've done a great job to this point and will be more mindful of the hits that I take when running, and make this process go smoothly."
Newton gets hit more than any other quarterback in the NFL -- he's been hit 578 times since 2011 -- but a huge part of what makes him special is his ability to scramble and keep plays alive.
"He's going to play the way he does, and that's what you expect," coach Ron Rivera said. "In the back of your mind, it's not about the money. Somebody asked me, do you think the money will change him? I said no, he already had money. He had the rookie contract and all the endorsements. It ain't gonna change him.
"But knock on wood with something like that."
Newton threw for 3,127 yards and 18 touchdowns while leading his team to the playoffs last season.
|4||10/4/15||@ TB||Won 37-23|
|Bye: Week 5|
|6||10/18/15||@ SEA||4:05 pm|
|10||11/15/15||@ TEN||1:00 pm|
|12||11/26/15||@ DAL||4:30 pm|
|13||12/6/15||@ NO||1:00 pm|
|15||12/20/15||@ NYG||1:00 pm|
|16||12/27/15||@ ATL||1:00 pm|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|
Mens Carolina Panthers Luke Kuechly Nike Blue Alternate Game Jersey Shop Now!