Tshimanga Biakabutuka will likely still be the Panthers starting running back when they host New England in their home opener Sunday. Many believed that coach George Seifert would make a change after Biakabutuka continued his case of fumblitis in the opener at Minnesota losing a ball that cost the club an excellent scoring chance. Rookie Nick Goings got the bulk of the playing time after that and responded nicely by gaining 86 yards on 25 carries.
Seifert wouldn't commit to any change at running back on Monday, saying he still likes Biakabutuka.
"I think Tshimanga is one of the more skilled backs that I've worked wioth and he's having a problem right now. I expect him to resolve it. We all understand it has an effect on the entire club."
Simply, Biakabutuka has shown great potential on occasion. He has spent a great deal of time hurt, but it's those brief glimpses of greatness that have kept the Panthers believing he would fulfill the potential when they made him a first round pick.
Many fans expected to see Biakabutuka benched as he continues to battle problems hanging onto the ball, and Seifert acknowledges that Biakabutuka's reputation is going to make things worse.
It's like a cornerback that gets beat keep, you get tagged with that and everybody tries to beat you deep. If you have a problem holding onto the ball, then everybody tries to tear it away from you and hit you and cause you to fumble. You make yourself that much more of a target."
In the short term, Seifert appears to believe that Biakabutuka can work through his possession problems, but, just in case, Nick Goings is on the ready.
As far as playing time goes, Seifert says he won't decide on who will play how much until he sees the Patriots game tape. That will give him a better idea of who will fit best in what situations.