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A healthy McCaffrey is crucial for 2022

The health of Christian McCaffrey is one of the biggest concerns for the Carolina Panthers in the 2022 season.

Injuries to Sam Darnold and Matt Corral hinder the offense marginally. Neither projected as the starting quarterback, but this does hurt Carolina's depth at the position. But Christian McCaffrey is the projected starting running back. The talent gap between him and the rest of the running backs is significant. McCaffrey's health remains a worry for Carolina because he played 10 games in the past two seasons.

CMC is a force in the running game, as demonstrated by his last full season in 2019 when he rushed for 1,387 yards and caught 116 passes for 1,005 yards. In this magical season he became just the third player in NFL history to record such stats.

So, I believe there needs to be a different approach in the offense to help McCaffrey stay on the field. From observation, Carolina's offense at times became one-dimensional with CMC in the backfield. In his last full season, so 2019, he owned 287 rushing attempts. This averaged almost 18 carries a game, and that includes his last four games of the 2019 season where he saw 11, 19, 13 and nine. Point is, Carolina relied on him too heavily in the run game. Not to mention his 142 targets across 16 games meant he saw almost nine targets a game.

If the Panthers want to keep CMC healthy and for him to regain the 2019 form, then mix up the offense. Stop relying on just him.

Baker Mayfield should be able to mix the offense more, and with new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, maybe the reliance on CMC will decrease. It should, the wide receivers look more solid, and Mayfield feels like an upgrade. Also, if the offensive line is as good as promised, then it will benefit McCaffrey due to the protection it can offer for him getting out of the backfield.

In this fun post for the week, it is simply saying let's hope the Panthers do not use McCaffrey in the same capacity.

Not because he's lost it, but because the Panthers do not need to lose him. A healthy CMC is arguably the best back in the league. The problem is he hasn't been healthy. If Carolina gets the 2019 version, or comparable to, even the pre-2019, it will greatly benefit the offense. It could make Carolina a multi-faceted offense. This is something Carolina needs because the team does seem one-dimensional at times.

The season opener is Sept. 11 at Bank of America with a 1:00 p.m. kickoff, let's hope we can see a healthy CMC for that game.