NELL REDMOND/Associated Press/Associated Press
A healthier Jonathan Stewart can make the Panthers offense far more dynamic.
Since 2011, the Panthers have gone from the third-best rushing team in the NFL to the the ninth best and then just the 11th best in 2013; they're still in the top half of the league, but as a historically ground-and-pound franchise, they'd like to be back in the top five in that category.
Not so coincidentally, running back Jonathan Stewart has played in fewer and fewer games over the past three seasons—16 games in 2011, nine in 2012 and six in 2013. If the team is to get its rushing game back up to par, it'll need him to be on the field for a full season.
So far this offseason, signs are pointing to Stewart being as healthy as ever; during OTAs in June, The Charlotte Observer's Joe Person reported that Stewart "showed great burst every time he touched the ball."
His legs should be fresh with just 866 career attempts, and fellow running back DeAngelo Williams (31) has showed no signs of aging, with just under 1,200 all-purpose yards in 2013.
Also helping the cause is an offensive line that, while suspect in pass protection, has several road graders on the interior of the line; from left guard to right guard, Amini Silatolu, Ryan Kalil and Trai Turner are all great run-blockers who can really create room for these backs to take the league by storm just as they did back in 2008.
Bonus Read: Bleacher Report's own Cian Fahey put together a great read on the encouraging signs from Stewart's short-lived return to action last season and makes a great argument for why the tandem between him and Williams may be revived in 2014.