Position Overview: Running Backs
Stephen Davis (AP)
Stephen Davis (AP)

Posted May 21, 2003


Stephen Davis, DeShaun Foster, Michael Bates, Dee Brown, Nick Goings, Skip Hicks, Brad Hoover, Casey Moore, Rod Smart.

Stephen Davis, a former Pro Bowler with the Redskins, will most likely hold the starting job on opening day barring some extreme development. Davis was brought in to become the workhorse of the offense and wear teams down with his physical running style. If he stays healthy and the passing game is consistent, Davis should have a very successful season.

Dee Brown started a few games late in the season after Lamar Smith was suspended due to off the field issues. Brown shows solid agility and runs tough for his size. Although he didn’t put up incredible numbers, he is a hard worker who can be a contributor on 3rd downs. If his pass-catching skills continue to progress, he might find plenty of playing time as a safety valve out of the backfield.

Foster seems to be the wildcard of the group. Tabbed by most insiders to take the starting spot at the beginning of last season, Foster never got the chance after injuring his knee in the preseason. A dominant college player, Foster dropped down draft boards after concerns over his fumbling and character. The Panthers snagged the first round talent with their second round pick and were impressed with his play in the preseason.

The key issue here is the knee injury. There have been rumors that Foster may have a degenerative condition in the knee and will be a limited player in the future. Team officials have denied these reports and insist Foster is rehabbing well. Whatever the case may be, a healthy Foster would be a strong boost to the running back unit. Brad Hoover, Casey Moore and Nick Goings will battle for time at fullback. Hoover has been solid if unspectacular during his tenure with the team and the coaching staff will be looking for him to improve. Moore, a 7th round pick in this year’s draft, was one of the higher rated prospects at the position and has the ability to see playing time if he adapts quickly. Goings is the best pure runner but as you would expect he also is the weakest blocker of the three.

Michael Bates is penciled in as the team’s number one kick returner, a skill that Bates has thrived on and has essentially kept him in the league. Skip Hicks will have to make a huge impression during training camp to remain with the team throughout the season. The former Redskin backup has been a non-factor so far. Rod Smart, of XFL “He Hate Me” fame, is a bit undersized and must continue to excel on special teams coverage if he wants to retain a roster spot.


Related Stories
Today's The Day...Sort Of
 -by VikingUpdate.com  Jun 1, 2003
Proehl and Young look to fill Dyson hole
 -by PantherInsider.com  Jun 5, 2003
One-on-One with QB Rodney Peete.
 -by PantherInsider.com  Jun 6, 2003

PREMIUM SUBSCRIPTION INCLUDES
> Members-only Forums
> Insider Information
> Free Agency &
   Draft News
> Expert Chats

Sign Up Today!

Free Email Newsletter
Don't miss any news or features from PantherInsider.com. Subscribe to our newsletter to have our newest articles emailed to you on a daily or weekly basis.
Click here for a list of all Team Newsletters.

Add Players to My HotList
Get free email alerts with news about your favorite players. Click name to add to My HotList.
RB Michael Bates (profile)
RB Dee Brown (profile)
RB Stephen Davis (profile)
RB Nick Goings (profile)
TB Skip Hicks (profile)
FB Brad Hoover (profile)
FB Casey Moore (profile)
RB Rod Smart (profile)
RB Lamar Smith (profile)
[View My HotList]