CHARLOTTE – Running back DeAngelo Williams has just 43 yards on the ground in two games but isn’t concerned about the team's perceived lack of production in the running game.
“I don’t think there’s an issue with the running game,” Williams said. “We’re not the offense that a lot of people are accustomed to seeing. It’s not run, run, pass. That’s no longer our philosophy here and I’m sure that’s evident in the first (six games).”
But that’s fine with Williams, who just signed a $41 million contract extension.
“I’ve stated before I don’t care whether we run the ball or pass the ball as long as we win I’m fine with it,” he said. “But I think we’re going to click whenever that game comes when we need to run the ball a great deal and they need to lean heavy on us (running backs). I think that game is coming.”
Williams believes that once defenses begin to respect rookie quarterback Cam Newton a little more and begin dropping more safeties into coverage things will open up in the run game.
“I do, or they’re just going to be stubborn and he’s going to keep torching them,” Williams said. “We’ll see.”
Williams also views the short passes to the running backs as an extension of the running game.
“Hey, our ultimate goal is to score touchdowns and however that’s done, it’s done,” Williams said.
NO WHITE HOUSE FOR RIVERA: Coach Ron Rivera said he probably won’t be accompanying his 1985 Chicago Bears teammates to the White House on Oct. 7.
“Unless they send Air Force One down to pick me up, I don’t think that’s going to work,” joked Rivera. “But I’m throwing it out there just in case they’re listening.”
Rivera will be a little busy that day preparing for Carolina’s Oct. 9 home game against the New Orleans Saints.
Rivera was a linebacker for the Bears ‘85 Super Bowl championship team. However, the team’s visit to the White House was cancelled because of the Challenger space shuttle tragedy in 1986.
“Now there’s an opportunity to go and of course they pick it during the season,” Rivera said. “But that’s OK because I’m working. I would love to be there to see my teammates. But I feel good for them. It’s a little overdue, but we have a president in the White House that’s a huge Bears fans. So I think it will be a great reception.”
INJURY UPDATE: SS Charles Godfrey remains out with concussion-like symptoms, increasing the likelihood of Jordan Pugh starting Sunday against Jacksonville.
Meanwhile, cornerback Chris Gamble was limited in practice after twisting his ankle, but Rivera said he doesn’t expect it will keep Gamble out of Sunday’s game.
“He’ll be fine,” Rivera said. “He tweaked it a little bit out in practice so we backed off and limited him and got him in early to ice it. It shouldn’t be an issue.”
Rivera said quarterback Cam Newton practiced full for the second straight day.
JAGUARS ARE PHYSICAL: Rivera called the Jaguars a fast, physical team on defense.
“It’s a dynamic defensive scheme and I like a lot of the things that they do,” Rivera said. “You can tell that there’s some veteran leadership on that team.”
Rivera has a lot of respect for Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew, calling him a true All-Pro.
“We have to do the things we do very well,” Rivera said. “We have to be a very disciplined in our gaps control because he’s a cutback runner with great vision. He runs low to the ground with great pad level and one guy is not going to bring him down. We have to make sure we hit him and wrap him up and make sure everybody else is getting to the ball.”
Rivera expects the Jaguars to jump start their passing game off the play-action fake.
“They sell their play-action very well and from I’ve seen of watching Blaine Gabbert’s preseason plays he does a nice job with it,” Rivera said. “He thrives off of it. We have to make sure we contain (Gabbert) because he’s an athletic guy and when he pulls it down he can run.”
CONSIDINE BUSY: Not only is veteran safety Sean Considine trying to focus on helping the Panthers win football games, but he’s also been fairly busy at home where he and his wife are trying to raise triplets who were born July 22.
Well, mostly his wife and the couple’s nanny.
“It’s not been tough for me because I’m not the one changing diapers,” joked Considine, who also has a 4-year-old.
He said his family will be rejoining him in Charlotte soon.
“It’s been tough being away from them,” he said.
GAME SOLDOUT: Bud Light, WBTV, and the Carolina Panthers have partnered to ensure the local telecast of Sunday’s contest between the Panthers and the Jaguars. The first two Carolina telecasts of the regular season have delivered extremely strong ratings, averaging a 26.4 rating and 46.5 share.
“There is a great deal of enthusiasm around this year’s team and we are pleased that our partners Bud Light and WBTV will be able to ensure that all Panthers fans are able to watch the game this Sunday,” said ticket sales director Phil Youtsey.
Bud Light’s allotment of tickets will be distributed locally to fans 21 years of age and older through local charities and radio partners. WBTV’s tickets were distributed this morning to local first responders – including police, fire and medic – along with members of the military. WBTV also provided tickets to local children’s charities.