Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Double Trouble prediction

The "Double Trouble" combo of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart will begin its second year as an NFL duo in a few months. The twosome's friendship seems to have only strengthened in the offseason -- they were together at a wrestling event in Charlotte Monday night.

Much is the same -- DeAngelo is the verbose one, Stewart the quiet one. DeAngelo did many of the Panthers' workouts in the just-concluded summer school practices. Stewart was sidelined once again, this time with an Achilles tendon problem (last year it was a toe injury that required surgery).

That meant a lot of teasing for Stewart, of course. "They’re out there busting their butts and I’m just sitting on the sideline for the second year in a row," Stewart said Tuesday. "I’ve been taking some heat for that."

Stewart also said Tuesday that he believed he and Williams could be even better this season. "I don’t see why we should lower our expectations from last year," Stewart said. "I think me and DeAngelo are capable of more."

I don't think so, however, in terms of one important statistic -- total touchdowns.

It's fine for Stewart and DeAngelo to think they will be better in every respect. And it's very possible in one sense -- the Panthers might get further than their final-eight finish in the NFL last season.

But statistically? Williams had an NFL-high 20 TDs and a team-record 1,515 rushing yards last season -- it was a Pro Bowl year that was wrongly snubbed. Stewart had 836 rushing yards and 10 TDs. Maybe those two will combine for more than 2,300 rushing yards once again -- I could see that in theory, or even a sliight increase. But 30 TDs? That's an average of nearly two per game. It remains a stunning number of scores.

It stands to reason that NFL defenses will stack eight in the box even more against the Panthers this season to account for Nos.28 and 34. I think what will end up happening is the total number of TDs for "Double Trouble" will go down, but the number of passing TDs (Jake Delhomme had a modest 15 TD passes last season) will go up.

In any case, the Panthers' offense -- with 11 of 11 starters back -- remains the strength of this team. But I'll predict right now that Double Trouble's total number of TDs will slide down the scale slightly from 30 to somewhere in the 20-22 range.

21 comments:

Leonard said...

They may go down who knows. But if they stack the line with eight guys and we start burning them in the passing game then what will they do then? Since we are predicting I will say that I think that they will have close to the same amount of td's but there rushing yards will be up and our passing TD's will be up.

jdub said...

Not to mention the defenses we will be facing compared to last year as well. Philly, NYG, NE, Minn. I just hope the passing game is up for the challenge!

panfan1 said...

The passing game is always a "big if" with #17!!

MichaelProcton said...

Yeah, such a big if he's one of the 25 highest-rated passers in NFL HISTORY!

As for the TD total, it was pretty fluky. Remember how many pass plays got stopped right around the goal line? I can think of at least three times Smith got tackled on the one or real close to it.

Anonymous said...

If you watched RAW from Monday night you could see DeAngelo and Stewart sitting behind Jerry the King Lawler

Anonymous said...

We went up against 8 in the box a lot last season, and we ran it anyway. In any event, putting 8 in the box leaves only 3 guys to cover Smith, Muhammad, and whatever we line up as the 3rd pass-catching option. I'll take Smith over anyone one-on-one.

Anonymous said...

Stacking the box against us also means that once our RB clears the line, he's taking it to the house. There's a reason we scored so many long TDs on the ground last year.

nebcatfan said...

When it is all said and done...running game-passing game...it all hinges upon those 5 starting o-line guys staying healthy over the entire 16 game season---one of them get's nicked things slow down-two of them get nicked...the season...well...we will have to begin to look forward to the '10 season---'09 will be oever and dunwith!!!!

JWil said...

nebcatfan - probably the best point made!! those guys get over looked when it comes to topics like this!

MichaelProcton said...

Eh...I think we could be fine with short-term injuries to any of our starters, and I think we could do alright by plugging Bernardeau in at guard even long term in the event of an injury to Vincent or one of our OTs (with Wharton kicking to the outside.)

Smitty07 said...

I am tired of the Jake ragging, there are two Jakes in my opionion, when he is on I would not want to be on the other team. He is the only quarterback that we stay and watch the whole game because we know we have a chance to come back. Bottom line if we get the good Jake and the running game we will have a great season if the defense can hold up

nebcatfan said...

MP-think the back up OL guys are capable...just not ready yet and hoping they do not have to take on more than what they can chew---they are still cutting their baby teeth right now!!!

Michael said...

Slightly off-topic: why didn't they ever have Jonathan and DeAngelo both in the same formation? Not with one as a lead blocker, but like a split formation with Jake under center, DeAngelo 5 yards behind left tackle and Jonathan 5 yards behind right tackle. They're both legit threats to run the ball, so you could really run a lot of neat plays--inside fake to one, then flip it outside to the other, etc. The offense they ran only ever needed one runningback, but you've basically got two starters back there--why not put them both in at the same time?

par said...

Even without any injuries. I can not see them being more effective than 2008.

Robert said...

Wild Eyed Optimist, me, says they can do better in 2009. Though they do have a number of difficult hurdles. The O Line lacks the depth of last year but Otah has a full year under his belt a big plus. The early season "bye" week hurts us even more than normal due that lack of depth on The O line and in other areas as well. AS does the "tougher" schedule, no patsies on this one, no Raiders or Lions to provide a let up late in the season will certainly test this team.

The best way through this season is to "Win" As a team wins games one after another an aura of invincibility envelopes the players it builds in their minds and spirits. Protects them. I've seen it happen on several occasions. That is when the pundits start calling them a team of destiny. We'll see if the Panthers can get there.

Looks like the team have a very healthy psychology right now

Bo

Anonymous said...

Yeah just like you predicted the Panthers were a mediocre 7-9 team last year..........

Brian said...

Michael - The team runs the I because it has a really good FB. Hoover has been one of the best and most consistent FBs, and to think he was an invitee not drafted.

MichaelProcton said...

Michael, Brian's got it right that Hoover's ability has a lot to do with it, but that kind of deception and trickery aren't really Fox's MO, either. If we're gonna run, we don't need to confuse you. We'll tell you what we're gonna do and how we're gonna do it, and then we'll run you over anyway. (See Football, Monday Night vs. TB)

Danman said...

All that's important is winning the Super Bowl. We have an excellent offense. Let's go do it.

Matt said...

"More Double Trouble".

Well, that's a great offensive philosophy for the Panthers. The only problem I have with it is that in the playoffs against Arizona, the Panthers abandoned that and threw it out the window. Let's hope it was a lesson learned.

In regards to #17, he's an extra year removed from Tommy John surgery, I think that spells a year of improvement from him, especially now that he's got a full season of Jeff Davidson's offense under his belt (which means an extra year of experience for Davidson too).

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree with Brian more. Hoover is key, and has been for a full decade now. Grew up with the guy and is THE man.