We’ve noted in the vikings.com Blog over the past several hours some of the disadvantages the Carolina Panthers will be forced to deal with when they host the Vikings on Sunday night. It looks as if starting QB Jake Delhomme won’t play and we know for sure that Carolina will be without both starting OTs.
But that certainly doesn’t mean the Panthers can be discounted – not with a pair of dangerous offensive playmakers still in the fold.
Those playmakers are RB DeAngelo Williams and WR Steve Smith. If you’ve watched NFL highlights over the past several years, you’re surely familiar with both players.
Williams is a dangerous runner because of his immense talent but also because he runs for a team that values establishing a ground attack.
“I know what they’d like to be able to do is run the football,” Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress said on Wednesday. “DeAngelo Williams is obviously very talented at doing that. He’s a compact, powerful, explosive running back. He can step out of a lot of trash. He’s got speed enough to be able to hit the big play. He can obviously play in the pass game; he’s good enough to be able to protect in there.”
Childress and the Vikings are familiar with Williams because they’ve faced the speedy and elusive star twice since 2006. In those 2 games, Williams has totaled 101 rushing yards and 1 rushing TD on 23 carries and also 7 receptions for 41 yards. But Childress told reporters on Wednesday that he’s gotten better every year and has “learned how to play” since facing the Vikings as a rookie in 2006.
Just when you’ve had enough of Williams or you’ve found a way to contain him, though, there’s still a speedy and ultra-talented wide receiver in the mix.
“And then a guy on the outside like Steve is a tough guy who can hit the homerun if you’re paying too much attention to the run,” Childress commented.
Smith has 48 career TDs and has topped 1,000 receiving yards 5 times in his career. He’s on pace to come close to that mark again in 2009 despite tumultuous play from the QB position.
The Panthers may be starting an inexperienced QB behind a patchwork offensive line against the Vikings on Sunday night, but there’s always a chance for success with playmakers such as Williams and Smith in the fold.
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