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NEW ARTICLE: The Emergeance of DeAngelo Williams


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#1 BlindSite

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 05:02 AM

by Steven Burton (BlindSite)

After the explosion of DeAngelo Williams onto the NFL scene many prognosticators and analysts are baffled as to why first of all Williams spent so long behind DeShaun Foster and secondly why they drafted talented Oregon back Jonathan Stewart in the first round of the 2008 NFL draft.

Initially, coming from a very poor college supporting cast and breaking records at Memphis it was expected that Williams would take over the starting role as the Carolina Panthers’ tailback within his first two years. That was not to be the case as during his rookie and sophomore seasons Williams remained largely a back up to the incumbent, and often ineffective DeShaun Foster.

While obviously the quarterback of the day, whether it be David Carr, Testaverde or even Matt Moore limited the chance of any running back in Davidson’s offense and the offensive line was a mere shadow of what it is today, the crux of the problem lay with Williams.

Williams lacked what all great runners require, determination and stamina. For all his faults and fumbles Foster, while not much of a runner ,always ran with the drive and indefatigable spirit (unfortunately nowhere near the talent) of an Adrian Peterson or Walter Payton and it wasn’t until Williams met Vinny Testaverde that he realized he was wasting both his talent and his career.

During Vinny Testaverde’s first start in his final season as an NFL quarterback Williams showed a lack of drive for the starting role. In an interview with the Charlotte Observer Testaverde detailed the player’s issues “I handed the ball off to him, he'd run 10 or 12 yards and put his hand up to come out of the game,” it showed a clear lack of desire to become the team’s featured back.

“After a few weeks, I said, ‘You have all the ability to be a great running back, but you need to get in shape and you need not to want to come out of the game.'”

The interaction between the veteran and the youngster seemed to motivate Williams who this season began a new tradition, taking it to the house. When breaking a tackle for five or six yards the vast majority of running backs will stop and return the huddle, it’s a given that they’d take the ball into either scoring position or the end zone. Williams on the other hand goes the distance, every time he breaks loose, no matter the temperature or the situation.

The results of this regime have been what can only be described as spectacular. Williams has this season managed 248 carries for 1,337 yards (5.4 ypc) and a team record and NFL leading 18 touchdowns (20 total). Most impressive is his six touchdown runs for 30+ yards, one away from equaling the current NFL record.

The highest praise of all comes from Testaverde who in the interview went on to say “He's just so explosive, he's quick to hit the hole, strong to the hole and nobody is catching him from behind.”

“He reminds me of two great backs, Emmitt Smith and Barry Sanders.”

“Put those two together and I think you have a DeAngelo Williams. In my eyes, he has the potential to be a really good back for a really long time."

With Williams formerly lacking drive and the stamina needed to become a starting tailback it’s no wonder the Panthers front office seemed poised to be done with Williams and the zone blocking system.

Marty Hurney, General manager of the Panthers longed to get back the team’s identity of power running and solid defense and did so by drafting Jeff Otah, the mammoth revelation at right tackle out of Pittsburgh with a traded first round pick, resigning Travelle Wharton to guard and seeking out larger, stronger men in free agency to replace the released Mike Wahle. The final (not in chronological order) piece of the puzzle was Stewart a rock of muscle mass with speed and vision, it seemed the Oregon runner would steal the starting job as a rookie, at least until training camp actually started.

Daily updates from the Panthers training camp and OTAs whether from Journalists or fans detailed marked improvement in Williams and team mates could not stop raving about his impressive turnaround from the previous season.

Stewart has by no means been a slouch in his backup role amassing his own 9 touchdowns and 780 yards. This has left the Panthers in a rather advantageous predicament. Two talented, young, motivated and potentially dominant backs behind a well put together, young and powerful offensive line supported by a very talented defense and possibly the NFL’s best wide receiver. The backs have combined to become the most productive two man team in the NFL and their future is undeniably bright.

The only question remaining, just how far can these two backs take the Panthers this season, and just how can defenses hope stop them?

#2 Munkey

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 05:22 AM

Actually, during the start of the season for the first few games it still looked like Williams wasn't playing up to his potential, while Stewart would come in and give every ounce he had. Once the media caught on and kept mentioning Stewart over and over thats when Williams really started to show he wanted to be the starter and he wanted to be the guy everyone was talking about.

You can tell he is running with a cause compared to the first few games. Now everyone is talking about Williams.

#3 adallastiger

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 07:05 AM

While there may be some truth to this, I wonder a bit about it. DeAngelo averaged 5.0 yards a carry last year, that was close to tops in the league.

Yet at Memphis, he always appeared to be in good shape, however there were times after long runs that he did go for oxygen.

Whatever the reason, no question he has stepped it up. But FOR THOSE OF US WHO WATCHED HIM AT MEMPHIS, really a lot of this is no surprise, other than that though he always ran with power for someone his size, he is without question, stronger now.

He is at least equal to any back in the league. Hope he breaks Stephen Davis's record in New Orleans.

#4 adallastiger

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 07:09 AM

By the way, I don't think his college supporting cast was so poor. Where in the world do people get that. Danny Wimprine was a great college quarterback, played in the Canadian Football league and had a great year last year for the Voodoo in the arena league. Set passing records for the school. And on top of that, the Memphis offensive line (okay, perhaps pass protection is different than run blocking, but still) was ranked NUMBER one NATIONALLY FOR DeAngelo's junior and senior year in allowing the fewest number of quarterback sacks in the nation. They could NOT have been that bad. Poor supporting cast? I doubt it. They were good enough to help our offense score 48 point against Louisville who was ranked number 8 at the time.

Nonetheless, where there is smoke there is fire. Maybe DeAngelo had to get his conditioning up a notch to get to the next level.

#5 Davidson Deac II

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 08:23 AM

He has been an explosive runner ever since he came here, but Deangelo really started coming on strong towards the end of last season. Even Williams himselfs talked about how much his conditioning and work ethic improved over last year (remember the Testaverde article). He learned the game by watching others, and that is why he is having his breakout season.

And Stewart was a great pick. Having two backs of that quality is a recipe for success.

#6 fitty76

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 08:34 AM

To bad he wasn't important enough to play in the OT.

#7 Inimicus

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 08:43 AM

Well done. Nice read.

#8 stankowalski

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 08:52 AM

What I want to know is why is Testeverde the one that had to motivate him. Did we not have other veterans on the team?

#9 pstall

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 10:26 AM

I think he is the same runner, however his VISION is what has improved the most. He sees the holes BEFORE they open and his anticipation is excellent.

#10 Carolinablue27

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 10:39 AM

To bad he wasn't important enough to play in the OT.


For real, I was screaming at the tv when I saw Stewart in, don't get me wrong I love Stewart but I wanted the veteran. I was even more pissed off when it was 3rd and 3 and they finally put Williams in and made it a pass play.

#11 xXxBretWeedxXx

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 11:03 AM

For real, I was screaming at the tv when I saw Stewart in, don't get me wrong I love Stewart but I wanted the veteran. I was even more pissed off when it was 3rd and 3 and they finally put Williams in and made it a pass play.



This was my main gripe with the game. The Giants defense is tired and sick, we have a great running back, you broke them in with Stewart on two plays and DeAngelo is quick as poo. In overtime near the 50 yard line it's 2 down territory. Run DeAngelo on 3rd and 3, you're hoping for a first down or at least 2 yards to run on 4th and 1. You don't punt when you're so close to the Giants side of the field in a situation where your defense is tired, the Giants only need to reach field goal range and you have the best running attack in the league on 3rd and short.

#12 sullygirl

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 11:08 AM

His "vision" has always been incredible. Once at Memphis he avoided a tackle from the back cause he saw it coming on the jumbo tron!

#13 adallastiger

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 11:32 AM

...running with great vision and balance was on his scouting report, he always had that.

You don't get 6,000 yards in college without great vision.

#14 BlindSite

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 04:10 PM

What I want to know is why is Testeverde the one that had to motivate him. Did we not have other veterans on the team?


Testaverde is the one Williams himself credits, take from that what you will.

This was my main gripe with the game. The Giants defense is tired and sick, we have a great running back, you broke them in with Stewart on two plays and DeAngelo is quick as sh*t. In overtime near the 50 yard line it's 2 down territory. Run DeAngelo on 3rd and 3, you're hoping for a first down or at least 2 yards to run on 4th and 1. You don't punt when you're so close to the Giants side of the field in a situation where your defense is tired, the Giants only need to reach field goal range and you have the best running attack in the league on 3rd and short.


This isn't another fuging thread about the Giants game, discuss it in the other 50.

#15 PantherDude

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 08:46 PM

His "vision" has always been incredible. Once at Memphis he avoided a tackle from the back cause he saw it coming on the jumbo tron!


LOL! That is one of the great thing about the jumbo tron. If you don't have eyes in the back of your head (or helmet in this case :P), at least looking at the jumbo tron help you running faster & not get take down. :D :D


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