Tshimanga Biakabutuka has been in his best mood in years at this years' Panthers' training camp. He's been excited about the new rebuilt offensive line and a new emphasis on the running game. But, what he was able to show on the field in exhibition game #2 against New England was less a case of excitement and more a case of missing in action. In 6 carries, Biakabutuka was able to move the ball forward a grand total of 2 yards. That's it, 2 yards.
But, instead of grouping the running game in with the dismal quarterback play against the Pats, George Seifert has said this week that he's not concerned about it at this point. Seifert pointed out early this week that missed blocking assignments were more to blame than Biakabutuka. He has said that, in most cases, there wasn't anywhere for Biakabutuka to go.
Biakabutuka, to his credit (?) has sounded upbeat, and says he's not concerned either about the lack of production so far. At least, he held onto the ball against the Patriots, something he wasn't able to do in the pre-season opener against Jacksonville.
For those who have decided that Biakabutuka will never live up to the promise the Panthers saw when they used a first round pick on him, they would just as soon bid him adieu. Problem is, the guys who were expected to push him in training camp have spent more time toting clipboards than footballs. Neither nearby, Monroe, North Carolina native, Richard Huntley nor Brad Hoover have seen any action in the pre-season due to hamstring pulls. Nor are they expected to play in Thursday's game against Baltimore.
So for now, there is irony in the Panther camp as injury-prone Tshimanga Biakabutuka is the healthiest of the tailbacks available as Seifert looks to restore a running game to the Panther offense.