How Christian McCaffrey Impacts the 2019 Carolina Panthers

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mccaffrey panthers 2019
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - DECEMBER 30: Christian McCaffrey #22 of the Carolina Panthers runs with the ball as Taylor Stallworth #76 of the New Orleans Saints defends during the first half at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 30, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Running backs are a second thought in the National Football League. If you’re a good one, however, they expect you to average four yards per rush, block like an offensive lineman and catch like a wide receiver. Christian McCaffrey is entering into his third year as the number-one player on the Carolina Panthers‘ offense. Carolina plans on limiting his plays this year, according to Charlotte Observer’s Jeff Siner. How will McCaffrey impact the Carolina Panthers in 2019?

How Christian McCaffrey Impacts the 2019 Carolina Panthers

He’s Versatile

2018 was obviously a busy year for McCaffrey — with Cam Newton on the fritz, he was a vital part of that offense. But more than that, he made sure that when his number was called that he’d be ready. In 2019, expect more of the same. His kick and punt returns have been plentiful since 2017. His small sample size doesn’t say much, but he’s had instances where he went for 21 and 25 yards respectfully. The Panthers are looking for that type of explosiveness on their special teams. He might be able to contribute a bit more of that in 2019.

Not saying that McCaffrey will be Carolina’s backup quarterback – and quite frankly there’s an intense enough battle going on between second-year quarterback Kyle Allen and rookie Will Grier – but the guy can throw a football. Or maybe it just appeared that way when he threw that 10-yard pass to Chris Manhertz that got him his first touchdown as a passer. Guaranteed, if the Panthers need him to throw another, he probably could.

He’s Bulking Up

When McCaffrey got drafted in 2017 he was 202 pounds, according to NFL.com. It didn’t seem to affect him though as he caught and ran for a combined nearly 2,000 yards. Now, as The Charlotte Observer reports, he has gained about five pounds, which should make breaking tackles even easier.

Weight is obviously a personal preference. Detroit Lions‘ running back, Barry Sanders was 203 pounds in 1989, Adrian Peterson is 220 pounds in 2019 and even Jerome Bettis was 252 pounds in 2005. McCaffrey added to his weight to guarantee that he has done everything he can do to be the back the Panthers need him to be. Even if he isn’t going to get the same number of touches he did in 2018, he can still make the ones he does get, count. In 2019, look for McCaffrey to do just that.

Going for 2000

The most dangerous thing about McCaffrey is a desire to want to prove people wrong. He was so close in 2018 with 1965 combined yards. His motivation in 2019 will be that most greats never hit the 2,000-yard mark. Not that this should be his prime goal, but going for it should put him in a position to get a lot of yards. Limiting his play calls won’t limit his touches, said Siner, so let’s see if McCaffrey can go for the gold this year.

Catch 22

McCaffrey realizes that he puts opposing teams in problematic situations. They either have to stop the run or the catch. And the weight he’s put on is going to make that job virtually impossible for opposing team’s defenses. How will Christian McCaffrey impact the Panthers in 2019?

Their first regular-season game is at home against the Los Angeles Rams. Sean McVay has all the confidence in defensive end, Aaron Donald, that he will lead their defense against this guy. Kick-off is Sept 8, 1 pm.

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