Panthers Update 10-26

The latest news and notes heading into the Panthers' match up with the Minnesota Vikings.

--QB Cam Newton set a new team record for rushing touchdowns in a season by a quarterback with seven and is closing in on Steve Grogan's all-time single-season NFL record of 12.

--RB Jonathan Stewart has rushing touchdowns in each of the last two games and is being used more in goal-line situations to take the pressure off Cam Newton.

--RB DeAngelo Williams and the Panthers' running game has improved from 31st to eighth after four solid weeks of running the football.

--WR Steve Smith is averaging a whopping 21 yards per catch and needs just 182 yards to surpass the 1,000-yard mark for the season.

--WR Legedu Naanee got a vote of confidence on Monday and will remain the No. 2 receiver.

--WR Brandon LaFell will remain the team's third receiver despite steady improvement. Ron Rivera likes LaFell in that role. LaFell scored a touchdown on Sunday to ice the game against Washington.

--TE Greg Olsen had just one catch on Sunday and wasn't a big part of the game plan. It's tough to tell if Olsen's sore tore played a role in that.

--TE Jeremy Shockey has played a more prominent role in Carolina's offense in recent weeks.

--OT Byron Bell started in place of Jeff Otah who is out for the season and gave up a third sack in as many starts, but the team likes the way the rookie is coming along.

--DE Charles Johnson now has six sacks in seven games and 14 sacks in his last 14 games.

--LB Jason Phillips earned another start this week against Minnesota after a solid game against Washington, coach Ron Rivera said.

--CB Chris Gamble ended nearly a two-year drought without an interception with a pick on Sunday vs, the Skins. Gamble is now tied with Eric Davis for the all-time franchise record with 25.

--DT Sione Fua and Terrell McClain will see decreased reps as they're approaching the rookie wall, coach Ron Rivera said.

--LB Omar Gaither has missed the last two games with a sprained MCL but the Panthers hope to get him on the field on a limited basis this week.

--S Jordan Pugh missed Sunday's game with a concussion. His status for this week remains uncertain.

--P Jason Baker continues to punt the ball well for Carolina and the coverage teams are getting better.

--K Olindo Mare hit on all four field goal attempts and has missed only once on 14 attempts from inside the 50. He's also been stellar on kickoffs.

--PR Armanti Edwards has yet to make a big play in the return game.

--WR Kealoha Pilares will continue to return kickoffs this week against the Vikings as Mike Goodson remains in the doghouse.

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