Tag Archives: Jonathan Stewart

Carolina Panthers beat Falcons – What they’re saying

CHARLOTTE – The Carolina Panthers (5-3) did not play their best game of the season, but, as the old saying goes, “Good teams find ways to win games when they play poorly”. The Panthers did exactly that. They found a way to dominate the Atlanta Falcons (2-6), winning 34-10 at Bank of America Stadium.

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton did not have a great game, but his team won 34-10 over Atlanta

Quarterback Cam Newton was 23-of-37 for 249 yards and did have one touchdown pass, but he also threw two interceptions and was very consistent in his passing…mostly high or overthrown…but the Panthers still found a way to win. The defense put enough pressure on Atlanta’s front four to force Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan into throwing 3 interceptions, including one pick-six by Drayton Florence.

Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart
Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart returned to action after missing nearly a year due to injuries. He ran for a team-high 43 yards Sunday.

Jonathan Stewart returned to the Panthers backfield for the first time since last November and led the home team with 43 yards. His backfield partner, DeAngelo Williams was just a yard shy of that total.

When he found his receivers, Newton picked up chunks of yardage. Brandon LaFell led the receiving corps with 6 receptions for 74 yards. Tight end Greg Olsen caught 4 passes for 66 yards and scored the game’s first touchdown. That reception was Carolina coach Ron Rivera’s first of two fourth-and-one calls of the game and he was rewarded by having Newton find Olsen wide open on a play-action call for a 14 yard touchdown to open the scoring.

Coach Rivera’s second opportunity, in the last two minutes of the game, was an easier call. He let Graham Gano come on for an easy 20-yard field goal to ice the game.

Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis with an interception
Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis made the first of three interceptions yesterday for the home team.

As the league is coming to understand, the Panthers defense is a force to be reckoned with. When you pick off a good quarterback like Matt Ryan three times in a game (linebackers Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly and cornerback Drayton Florence) including Florence’s 38-yard pick six (on a nice shoe top grab), obviously your front four is putting pressure on the quarterback. And that’s how this team has been built. Big boys up front, agile linebackers and adequate safeties and cornerbacks. Pressure up front has been a trademark of this year’s team.

Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez is tackled by Carolina Panthers safety Quintin Mikell (27) and safety Mike Mitchell (21)
Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez is tackled by Carolina Panthers safety Quintin Mikell (27) and safety Mike Mitchell (21) in Sunday’s 34-10 Panthers win.

Atlanta’s future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez was a real force in the first half, catching 5 Matt Ryan passes for 77 yards. It seemed like every time Ryan went back to pass, Gonzalez was open. The Panthers defense addressed that situation at halftime, jamming him at the line and holding him to just one reception for four yards in the second half. Clearly, without Gonzalez as a target, Ryan and Atlanta’s offense was limited.

The Panthers travel to San Francisco next Sunday for a 4:05 p.m. Eastern start against the very dangerous 49ers, playing in Candlestick Park for one last season before moving to their new stadium in Santa Clara, CA.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING:

Panthers offensive tackle Jordan Gross: “We’ve done enough to get ourselves back on track. But we’ve got some tough games coming up. Winning this game, I said we’ll feel like we’re a pretty good team. But the rest of our schedule really just gets harder and we’ll see what we’re made of.”

“I thought Cam, even though his stats maybe aren’t as good as the last couple weeks, I was as proud of him today as I’ve been any game,” Gross said. “It wasn’t real pretty. He was getting banged around in the pocket. The run game was kind of slow starting and there wasn’t just long play after long play. We kind of had to hang in there and take our punches.

“He just kept his composure and was never rushed or stressed out or seeming to feel the pressure, and by the end of the day we were all smiling.”

Panthers strong safety Quinten Mikell on Gonzalez: “Tony is hard to stop. That’s why he’s a Hall of Famer. But we just turned it up a little bit the second half and played our technique a little bit better. We were aware where he was at all times. Obviously, we know that Matt Ryan, that’s his go-to guy, especially in crucial situations.”

Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart on returning to action after a year’s layoff due to injuries: “I’m pretty sure if you’re not nervous your first carry, you’re kind of not human. I definitely had some nerves today and got worked out.”

Panthers tight end Greg Olsen: “To beat a team by that margin and not play your ‘A game,’ that’s the sign of a good team.”

Atlanta head coach Mike Smith: “We’re all held responsible and we’re all accountable for the 2-6 record.”

Atlanta tight end Tony Gonzalez: “I love going up against guys like that (Luke Kuechly) because they bring out the best in me and hopefully I can bring out the best in them.”

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Carolina Panthers make four roster moves

The Carolina Panthers reached the league-mandated 75-player roster limit Tuesday night by making four moves.

Jonathan Stewart, who is still recovering from off-season surgery, was placed on the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list. After meeting with a foot specialist on Tuesday about his surgically repaired right ankle, Stewart will begin the season on the physically unable to perform list. “I can spend all my energy being disappointed, or spend all my energy preparing myself,” Stewart said following Tuesday’s practice. “It’s just got to heal up.”

Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart in action last season. He is showing a very positive attitude knowing he will miss at least four games this year.
Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart in action last season. He is showing a very positive attitude knowing he will miss at least four games this year.

“Our doctors and trainers have been going at it, figuring things out – solutions here and there,” Stewart said. “We’ve put a lot of brainpower behind it. So we’re working at it.”

“He’s made some big strides, some real good things have happened,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera added. “It’s just they’re not going to happen soon enough. So in order to help us as a football team, this is the best move that we could make.”

Stewart, who has been on the preseason PUP list, will be out a minimum of six weeks and is eligible to return in Week 7. He will miss at least five games (the Panthers have a bye in Week 4). This move also opens the door for DeAngelo Williams to get more carries…something he has wanted for the last two seasons.

The two veterans who were placed on the Waived/Injured list are second-year wide receiver/kick returner Joe Adams and third-year defensive tackle Frank Kearse. Adams started last year as the team’s kick and punt returner after Carolina drafted him in the fourth round out of Arkansas. He struggled with controlling the ball, fumbling away a kickoff and muffing a punt in Week 3 against the Giants. Rivera said he believed Kearse injured his knee during the Philadelphia game, but snap counts show it likely happened during the Chicago game since he did not play against the Eagles.

Should they clear waivers and no team picks them up, both players will automatically revert to the Panthers’ injured reserve. Michael Zordich, Kealoha Pilares and Bruce Campbell reverted to the Panthers’ IR Tuesday.

Guard Edmund Kugbila, Carolina’s fourth-round draft pick from April, has been injured most of his time with Carolina, has been placed on the Injured/Reserve list. He struggled all spring and summer with knee and hamstring injuries. Kugbila, a 6-foot-4, 325-pound lineman from Division II Valdosta State, missed nearly all of spring workouts with a sore knee and he strained his hamstring during the first practice of training camp in July. He attempted to practice later in camp but suffered a setback and did not finish the practice session. He is done for the year.

Carolina Panthers cut 9 players; place 3 on waived/injured list

CHARLOTTE, NC – The Carolina Panthers, in a move to begin trimming their roster to 75 by Tuesday’s deadline, cut nine players today and placed three on the waived/ injured list.

The nine cut players were:

QB Colby Cameron, P Jordan Gay, CB Nick Hixson. K Morgan Lineberry, WR Dale Moss, DE Louis Nzegwu, LB Ryan Rau, S Ricardo Silva and G Justin Wells.

Kealoha Pilares was injured on the opening kickoff Thursday night against the Baltimore Ravens and has been placed on the waived/injured list.
Kealoha Pilares was injured on the opening kickoff Thursday night against the Baltimore Ravens and has been placed on the waived/injured list.

T Bruce Campbell, WR Kealoha Pilares and FB Michael Zordich were placed on the waived/injured list. These players revert back to the club’s injured reserve list upon the next waiver period. Campbell and Zordich were expected to be on this list, as Campbell underwent surgery to repair a rotator cuff injury and Zordich tore his ACL this preseason. Pilares injured his knee on the opening kickoff of the Thursday night game at Baltimore.

None of the cuts are surprising. The Panthers may only keep two quarterbacks, and still have three on the roster. Gay and Lineberry provided meager competition for incumbent kickers punter Brad Nortman and placekicker Graham Gano. The Panthers are deep in linebackers and defensive ends, so no surprise there.

Three more cuts (not including Jonathan Stewart who is on the active PUP list) will be necessary by Tuesday. Carolina must then make more cuts to reach their final 53-man roster by Saturday afternoon.