Carolina’s Jonathan Stewart will make his second consecutive start at running back today against the Chicago Bears as Panthers coach Ron Rivera looks for a hot hand in the running game.
Stewart, a Timberline High grad, starts in place of DeAngelo Williams, who since 2008 has started all but four games in which he’s played for the Panthers. Against Dallas a week ago, Williams had two carries for 4 yards, playing five snaps.
“I want to see one guy pound and get a rhythm, then see the other guy pound and get a rhythm,” Rivera said. “To me it’s hard for a back to get a rhythm when you’re coming out every other play.”
Stewart and Williams have combined for 319 rushing yards this season, and quarterback Cam Newton has a team-high 273 yards rushing. Carolina ranks 17th in the NFL in rushing offense.
Williams and Stewart have both signed long-term contracts with the team, and together the deals are worth $79.5 million. Each rushed for more than 1,100 yards in 2009.
Panthers offensive lineman Lee Ziemba has been suspended for four games after testing positive for a banned stimulant, Ziemba said in a statement released by his agent.
Ziemba, who is on injured reserve following surgery in August, said he never knowingly ingested a performance-enhancing substance. But he has decided not to appeal the suspension, and will begin serving it immediately.
Ziemba is the second Carolina player to violate the league’s PED policy this year. Defensive tackle Andre Neblett tested positive during the offseason and was suspended for the first four games of the season.
New York Giants safety Kenny Phillips (knee) and defensive tackle Rocky Bernard (quadriceps) have been ruled out of today’s game against the Cowboys in Dallas. … The Jacksonville Jaguars promoted quarterback John Parker Wilson from the practice squad and activated defensive end John Chick from the physically unable to perform list. The team also waived rookie linebacker Brandon Marshall, a fifth-round draft pick, and veteran offensive lineman Herb Taylor. … Former Minnesota running back and first-round pick Michael Bennett was sentenced to 15 months in prison for taking part in a fraudulent check-cashing scheme.