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Consistent Jonathan Stewart Adds A Layer For Panthers


While Cam Newton can certainly create problems when his own number is called, and Greg Olsen remains one of the best tight ends in the league, Jonathan Stewart is a quiet -- and important -- part of Carolina's offense.

Cam Newton gets all of the headlines for the Carolina Panthers' offense. He's a powerful dual-threat quarterback that is hard to take down in the pocket and on the run. And when he scores, which has been a frequent matter this season, the 2010 Heisman Trophy winner hasn't been afraid to celebrate a little.

But Jonathan Stewart has been and continues to be a quiet and steady force for Carolina at the running back position.

During his first seven seasons in the NFL, Stewart, a University of Oregon product, split carries along with DeAngelo Williams.

But with Williams now in Pittsburgh, it's Stewart who is the primary back for a Carolina offense that likes to get their offense going through the ground game.

"They can run a lot of powers with Jonathan Stewart — the read-options, the reverses. They do a little bit of everything," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said. "Like I've said, [Panthers offensive coordinator] Mike Shula has done a great job there with calling plays and keeping teams off-balance. …But Jonathan, he's doing also very good with the ball in his hands."

On the season, Stewart has totaled 662 yards and four touchdowns on 169 carries.

While he may not be the breakaway threat other starting running backs in the league are, he is one of the most consistent.

In all nine games, Stewart has rushed for no fewer than 50 yards.

While the Redskins were better in the run defense against the Saints last week, they still gave up a 70-yard carry to Mark Ingram on his first touch of the game.

Check out these photos of the Redskins' defense and special teams preparing for their Week 11 match up against the Carolina Panthers Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.

So the question that comes to mind is will the defense this week be more stout against the threat of Stewart, Newton and Mike Tolbert, or will stopping the defense be a topic yet again for defensive coordinator Joe Barry's weekly press conference?

"Well, it gets old after a while just for the simple fact that the common theme has been tackling," Barry said this week of the run defense. "We missed a big tackle in the hole last week and then, bam, the guy goes 70 yards. It's obviously addressed every week, it's preached every week — talking about the tackling. As much as we do from a physical standpoint on Wednesday, that's our most physical day, we try to tackle, we try to simulate tackles at least. You can't do any live tackling. It's just we've got to keep preaching it and talking about it."

Redskins defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois said that if the unit can return to their form of the first four weeks when they didn't give up more than 90 rushing yards, it could create some confidence for the defense as they look to also prevent someone like Greg Olsen going off for a big day.

"We can make their run game either the best run game or no run game," Jean Francois said. "It's up to us. It is hard to stop them, but it's not impossible to stop them. You just can't let them have a balanced offense. Cam Newton is their second leading rusher. You already know they can run multiple ways, but we've got to make sure we turn this team into a one-dimensional team and let Cam Newton sit back there and play quarterback."




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