Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Panthers get even deeper at RB
By Pat Yasinskas
While I was off last week, Matt Williamson did some pinch-hitting and ranked the NFC South backfield situations. He put the Carolina Panthers at No. 1.
No argument here at all. In fact, Williamson’s case just got a little bit stronger.
The Panthers claimed running back Armond Smith off waivers from Cleveland on Tuesday and waived defensive back Reggie Sullivan.
This might not seem like a big deal because Smith has all of three career carries. But think about Carolina’s coaching staff and think how the NFL is a copy-cat league. At least on paper, Smith, 5-foot-9 and 194 pounds, is only a slightly larger version of Darren Sproles. Refresher course time: Carolina offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski used to be an assistant in San Diego. Sproles used to be a pretty good running back in San Diego, before he went to New Orleans and became great last season.
Yeah, comparing Smith to Sproles is a big stretch at this point. But Chudzinski could be picturing Smith in some packages in which he would play a similar role to Sproles. Carolina already has a loaded backfield with Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams sharing the feature-back role and the Panthers added running back/fullback Mike Tolbert (another former San Diego player) this offseason.
That backfield could be even better if the Panthers sprinkled in a few carries and a few catches per game for a speed back like Smith.