Carolina Panthers

Ron Rivera not ready to name Jonathan Stewart the starter for playoffs

Running back Jonathan Stewart got the day off from a slower-tempo practice Tuesday, and DeAngelo Williams took the first-team reps.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera again was unwilling to name Stewart the starter this week as Williams prepares to return to action after sitting the past four games with a broken bone in his hand.

Williams was probable going into last weekend’s game but was inactive because he was a liability in pass protection. Rivera said inserting Williams back into the lineup won’t mess up the chemistry of the Panthers and Stewart, who has rushed for 486 yards since Williams’ injury.

“No, I’m not worried about that,” Rivera said. “He’s part of this chemistry. He’s part of why we are where we are today. … When he’s healthy and ready to go he’ll get his opportunities to get on the field.”