Jonathan Stewart Set to Make Season Debut

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Carolina Panthers backfield regains an explosive weapon this weekend. Running back Jonathon Stewart has been activated from the PUP list and is expected to make his season debut Sunday after practicing all week. Stewart has been sidelined for the entire season following surgery on both ankles.

The timing of his return couldn’t be better for the Panthers as DeAngelo Williams is dealing with a quad injury. Williams will undoubtedly get the start if he’s able to fight through the injury that forced him to exit last week’s game. Williams is ranked 10th in the NFL in rushing, amassing 477 yards on the ground through the team’s first seven games.

Stewart will also be competing for touches with Carolina’s goal line back, Mike Tolbert. Tolbert has been effective since seeing his role expanded to passing situations in Stewart’s absence. It will be interesting to see just how much head coach Ron Rivera will want to alter the 8th ranked rushing attack.

Some sort of running back by committee will be used, but how the touches will shake out only Rivera knows. The 3-headed monster will look to exploit the 14th ranked rushing defense of the Atlanta Falcons when they come to town Sunday.

Stewart is the most explosive player in the Carolina backfield when healthy. The former 1st round pick from Oregon has averaged an impressive 4.7 yards per carry in his career.

There’s no way to know how the Panthers will utilize Stewart in his first game since being activated from the PUP list. All we know for sure is that Stewart is healthy and ready to roll Sunday. Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said, “He’s got a lot of aggression going on right now. He’s ready to hit somebody. He looked great in practice. He’s ready. I’m excited to see him get out there and play.”

Follow Drew Ryan on twitter @DrewRyan14

(Photo credit: getty images)

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