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Analysis: RB/WR Christian McCaffrey - Reviewing His College Career; How CMC Will Make An Immediate Impact As A Rookie

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Christian McCaffrey. The All-Purpose Play-maker.

Captivating the CFB world with his play, McCaffrey stormed the field with style. Breaking Barry Sanders All-Purpose yards record and becoming Associated Press college football Player of the Year, CMC looks like a promising future elite runningback in the NFL.

McCaffrey blew up the NFL combine. His 4.22-second 20-Shuttle was the 14th best performance since 2012, and his 6.57-second 3-Cone was tops during the same span. 

The Panthers selected Christian McCaffrey 8th overall in the 2017 NFL draft. He would be the second running-back taken overall in his class. Hoping for a new spark for a stagnant Carolina offense, the Panthers drafted McCaffrey with one purpose in mind: to rejuvenate, replenish, and restart this offense into a new era.

In fact, Mike Shula studied McCaffrey months prior to the draft to get a full grasp of the potential a player like him brings. 

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"Over the past couple months, Shula and his coaches ramped up their study of college offenses, including the ones Samuel and McCaffrey played (and others like Texas Tech and Virginia Tech) to find ways to build on a scheme that already carries perhaps the NFL’s most complex run game. Part of it was in evaluating players like McCaffrey and Samuel. But another was figuring out how they’d use them."

The Panthers drafted McCaffrey knowing the potential he brings for their offense. However, questions remain.

What exactly does CMC bring to the table? Will he fit well with Cam Newton? How does the Panthers offense change going forward?

These three questions are simple, yet complex. To begin, it's seems rather appropriate to dissect who CMC is as a player first.

Christian McCaffrey - An NFL Ready Play-maker

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Christian McCaffrey is a special player. At Stanford, McCaffrey got exposure to NFL-style pass plays, diverse running sets, and protection schemes. He played a variety of roles, ranging from runningback, wide receiver, and punt returner. 

He excelled in each area.

Critics argue Christian McCaffrey took advantage of a good o-line and scheme in Stanford and won't produce at an NFL level. They don't believe he'll be productive.

While Stanford's line is well known for being aggressive at the line of scrimmage, McCaffrey only made them even better. The details of his ability to increase their level of play will come later, but for now understand McCaffrey's vision and patience helped a lot.

McCaffrey was one of the nation's most productive players. Even when faced with odds against him, he still was one of the nation's best backs. He is one of just 12 running backs since 2000 to run for at least 3,500 yards and have over 1,000 receiving yards in a career. Among players on that list, McCaffrey leads everyone in both yards per carry (6.2) and yards per reception (12.1) for their respective careers. 

When you look at McCaffrey's collegiate career, he faced every defensive front imaginable. McCaffrey posted 5.86 Yards Created per attempt when facing eight or more defenders on 64% of his carries. That's about 0.4 more yards than Fournette (67% of carries) and nearly 1.7 more yards than McNichols (57% of carries).

McCaffrey has been one of the most productive backs against defenses that have their game plans focused against him. 

 

McCaffrey had a large workload being the focal point of a Stanford offensive attack. McCaffrey accounted for 59.9% of Stanford's offensive touches and is considered one of the most used players in college football. Many argue he won't be able to handle the rigors of the NFL.

Stanford disagrees. Christian McCaffrey's body is built to withstand the rigors of a large workload.

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Adding recovery techniques to his already impressive abilities in the gym, where he worked to get his body fat percentage down to 4 and dominates workouts so thoroughly that his trainer has to make new ones just for him ("We've never had anyone like him," said Stanford strength and conditioning coach Shannon Turley), and you're left with stories of McCaffrey's physical ability that sound like urban myths.

Over the off-season, Stanford's football team participates in something called the Gator Run, where players take turns pushing a utility vehicle loaded with 600 pounds of equipment and a couple of coaches in the front seat all over campus. We'll let offensive lineman Graham Shuler take it from here:

"It's really, really tough. You rotate guys pushing it. A lineman will push anywhere from three to 10 times. A tight end will push it maybe 15 times. A running back pushes it somewhere between 10 to 20 times. It's really rare for anyone to push it over 20 times. When we did it this summer, Christian pushed it 43 times. He took 43 turns. No one told him to do that; it wasn't the expectation. But when guys were getting tired, Christian was always right there, in the front, waiting. I hope you can imagine the chaos of 60 guys chasing a small vehicle around campus. That's Christian in a nutshell."

So, yeah, if anyone can handle the physical toll that comes with touching the football 39 times a game, it's McCaffrey.

He should be able to handle any amount of touches given in the NFL. 

A patient runner with an elusive style, McCaffrey makes mature decisions. He gets strong depth to the line of scrimmage to press creases on zone runs and he can string together stutter steps, dips, jump cuts, and jukes to reach the hole. He reads penetration well and reacts appropriately to earn what he can when the defense foils the scheme.

What stands out is his patience. McCaffrey reads what's playing out on the field to determine the best course of action. He shows no hesitation when he determines an optimal path and explodes through the lane.

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On the play above, notice how McCaffrey paces himself with his stride. He reads and scans the o-line and the defense. When the hole develops, notice how fast McCaffrey converts to a "sitting position" and cuts right through the hole for a 10 yard gain.

Not many runningbacks are able to pull this feat off.

Le'Veon Bell is an example of a runningback who could. Bell is known for being one of the most patient backs in the league and uses techniques like the play shown above to maximize that. With McCaffrey's patience, decision-making, and explosiveness in his cuts, it's not hard to see why he resembles such a talented runningback.

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Some critics say McCaffrey isn't a between the tackles runner. The origin of this claim is unknown, but it simply isn't true. McCaffrey excels at reading between the tackles and exploding for a good gain. Saying otherwise is fake news.

In the play above, watch as McCaffrey paces, cuts, and explodes right through the tackles for a huge gain. Reading his o-line, McCaffrey finds the perfect opportunity to burst through and navigate himself through defenders for a big gain.

To further expand on this topic, check out how his inside running compares with others from his class:

Carolina Panther GM Dave Gettleman compares McCaffrey to a HoF runningback when talking of his between the tackle running ability. Gettleman is a top-tier scout at identifying talent, as noted by plenty of his "diamond-in-the-rough" FA pickups and late draft fliers, so he knows what he's talking about.

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"The greatest tackle box running back I've ever seen is Curtis Martin, and Christian is right there with him."

That's high praise for any runningback to be compared with the Hall of Famer. 

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In the play above, McCaffrey displays his patience and inside running ability. Stuttering and pacing himself, he waits for a lane to develop and explodes right between the tackles. Then, he eludes defenders using a variety of cuts, power, and quick moves to achieve first down.

McCaffrey possesses an elusive nature that resembles LeSean McCoy. Able to quickly dart through defenders and elude tackles, McCaffrey gains a large chunk of yards he otherwise wouldn't have gotten. His patience, elusive style, and vision allow him to gain the same amount of yards as any power back in the NFL - if not more.

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What stands out in McCaffrey's tape are his instincts and feel for the game. He acknowledges the role of each member of his o-line and directs his run accordingly. 

In the play above, notice how McCaffrey cuts and darts when one of his o-line members come tumbling in for a major block. His instincts take over and allow him to maximize the help his guard provided. The result is a good gain as he eludes and avoids defenders.

When McCaffrey hits the open field, he's hard to bring down. McCaffrey possesses breakaway speed - a key trait not all runningbacks can boast - allowing him to outrun any defender on the field and achieve a touchdown.

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In the play above, watch as McCaffrey runs through a lane and cuts. He jukes the linebacker near him and gets him to act as his own "pick" by blocking the two defensive backs behind him. With no one else to threaten his path, McCaffrey bursts through and hits high gear. 

The result is a clear touchdown, with CMC leaving defenders in the dust.

Christian McCaffrey is a runningback with promising fundamentals. He should have no problems with becoming a major threat in the run game. His running style will allow him to thrive with the Panthers and dominate the league.

Christian McCaffrey - Pass Protector

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In the NFL, pass protection is more important than ever. With the league transitioning to producing more pass-oriented offenses, protecting the QB has become top priority in ensuring success. 

Runningbacks are no exception to this new norm.

For runningbacks, pass protection can mean the difference between sitting on the bench or seeing a lot of playing time. Their ability to block, pick up blitzes, and prevent their QB from toppling over is all the more crucial in today's league.

Christian McCaffrey is often knocked as a guy who won't produce at the next level due to his size. Being 5'11" 202lbs, he doesn't appear to be that big on paper. 

To top it all off, he only completed 10 reps on the bench press at the combine. When these facts are taken at face-value, McCaffrey appears to be a rather weak guy. With NFL defenders breaking 300lbs and moving around like monsters, it seems like a hopeless case for McCaffrey.

However, context brings about a logical answer to these issues. Particularly about Stanford's weight program.

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In reality, we shouldn't be surprised that McCafrrey didn't impress in the Bench test. Most players coming out of Stanford's program don't, because Stanford's strength and conditioning coach Shannon Turley doesn't believe in it. After arriving at the school in 2007, Turley, who was charged with helping turn around a struggling football program, completely overhauled the team's training philosophy.

"I don't care how much guys can bench, squat or power clean," Turley told Bleacher Report in 2013. "It has nothing to do with playing football. Football is blocking and tackling. It's creating contact, avoiding contact and gaining separation if you are a skill guy on the perimeter. That's football."

Turley tailors his workout regimen to the individual needs of players, focusing on functional movement and exercises that will translate to success on the field. Instead of heavy Squats, Turley has his players do Push-Up Bridges. Instead of focusing on their Bench Press numbers, Turley's players spend infinitely more time stretching. Turley prioritizes things like ankle mobility over upper-body strength.

Christian McCaffrey didn't do well on the bench press because their strength coach rarely utilized it. Tailoring to each of his player's physical needs, Stanford felt the bench press was a useless exercise that does not provide any benefits to the game of football.

Bench pressing is not the end all be all of strength. Strength comes in many forms and ways of use. Christian McCaffrey is very strong and muscular where it counts. Pass protecting should not be a problem for him based on what he's shown.

Although he needs to stop putting his head down and out with some of his blocks, McCaffrey has shown enough enough refined technique as a blocker that he should develop into a solid pass protector within the course of his rookie year. He gets proper depth into the line of scrimmage to meet with blitzing defenders and shoots his arms for a quick punch.

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I apologize for the low quality GIF, but the point remains. McCaffrey displays picture perfect technique when drawing an assignment against a Washington defensive tackle. Putting himself in that sitting position, McCaffrey awaits for the defender's arrival. He rolls his hips and pushes the defender upwards and upright, nullifying any impact he has on the field.

Technique is imperative when determining whether a runningback will be good in pass protection or not. If they show they have a grasp of the fundamentals at the collegiate level, the likability it translates to the NFL is high. McCaffrey flashes that potential enough times to the point it wouldn't be surprising to see him be decent by his rookie year.

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In the above play, McCaffrey picks up a blitz off the edge. He slows down the pursuit just enough to allow his QB to have a few extra seconds to throw the football. The defender does gain some leverage, but McCaffrey redirects his path away from the QB.

Effort is necessary when determining a runningback's effectiveness in pass protection. If the runningback shows he's willing and giving 100%, chances are that will only benefit the offense even more.

Christian McCaffrey shows the effort and technique necessary to translate into a fine pass protector at the next level. With Jonathan Stewart - the NFL's best pass blocking RB - mentoring him, he'll be just fine.

Christian McCaffrey - The Elite Slot WR

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A runningback and wide-receiver rolled in one.

Very rarely do elite runningbacks also turn out to be elite receivers. In the NFL, you're either one or the other. While some runningbacks can become receiving threats, none are going to run the whole route tree and constantly beat defenders with elite WR moves.

Christian McCaffrey may look to change that.

If McCaffrey were to enter the 2017 NFL Draft as just a pure slot receiver, he would've been one of the first off the board. During his combine and pro day, Christian McCaffrey impressed everyone with his route-running and flawless receiving.

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“He looked like a first-round pick there, too,” NFL Network analyst Charley Casserly said.

McCaffrey is a reliable option who tracks the ball well and has the athletic ability to present mismatches from the backfield, the slot, and on the perimeter. Once in the open field, McCaffrey strings together moves that can turn a short play into a breakaway run. 

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In the play above, McCaffrey acts as a quick checkdown option for his QB. When the ball gets in his hands, he begins making magic on the field. Spinning away from one defender, then brushing aside another, McCaffrey achieves a first down on what should've been a short gain.

McCaffrey working the slot is always a sight to see. When given space down the middle, he can and will outrun any defender straight to the endzone. He uses a variety of footwork techniques and moves to beat defenders regularly.

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In the play above, notice McCaffrey exploiting a mismatch option. He uses his footwork and quickness to run down the middle and straight to the endzone. Pitting McCaffrey against any linebacker is an immediate mismatch, and McCaffrey takes full advantage.

One of McCaffrey's strengths is his route-running. Coaches had nothing but positive comments on his route-running during Stanford's Pro Day. Some went as far as to say he looked like a 5 year NFL veteran

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In the play above, watch McCaffrey as he runs his route. He comes out with a double move by dropping his hips and turning his head with urgency. It appears natural and well-thought out, baiting the defender into thinking it would be a short route. McCaffrey explodes and continues on with his route. Although the QB threw way off the mark, McCaffrey made himself wide open in what would've been a sure touchdown.

Not many NFL runningbacks can run routes and pull moves like these. Christian McCaffrey can. He has elite potential both as a receiver and a runningback. That's a scary thought for any defensive coordinator in the NFL.

Christian McCaffrey - A Fit For Carolina

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A question that always comes up when considering drafting a player. 

Is he a fit?

It's a valid question. If the player drafted is incompatible with the scheme/players of said team, he won't perform to his utmost potential. Sacrifices would have to be made in order for the player to function at a decent level.

Critics out there say Christian McCaffrey is a terrible fit for the Panthers. They assume the Panthers run a pure power run game that will not enable McCaffrey to shine. They argue Cam Newton will hinder McCaffrey's true potential due to his high velocity passes.

Well, I can assure that they've got it wrong.

When you watch McCaffrey, you'll notice he comes from a diverse pro-style offensive scheme that allowed him to get a taste of any NFL style offense he'd be thrown in. Whether it's zone based, power based, shotgun, or downhill, McCaffrey has been through it all.

When looking at strengths, McCaffrey finds the better part of his success from the shotgun. In shotgun or pistol sets, McCaffrey created a robust 5.74 yards per attempt versus 5.66 yards on carries with the quarterback under center. This indicates McCaffrey is productive in any system given, but more-so with shotgun.

During 2016, the Panthers ran from the shotgun on 76% of snaps, fourth most in the NFL. Deeper evaluation shows that the Panthers perform best under shotgun:

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Last season Jonathan Stewart ran 44.95 percent of his attempts out of shotgun, which produced 44.39 percent of his rushing yards. His percentage of attempts from shotgun ranked as the seventh-most among backs with 100 or more carries. He was the lone setback on 46.3 percent of his overall attempts and just 18.3 percent of his carries came from an I-formation. While the Panthers spend nearly half their time in shotgun for the run game, they go there more often when they pass. Just 47 (9.2 percent) of Cam Newton’s pass attempts came from under center in 2016.

The Panthers run a very balanced run game in terms of I-formation VS shotgun. Christian McCaffrey's statistics show he'll easily adapt to this versatile scheme. However, notice how Cam Newton rarely goes under center in pass attempts. If McCaffrey were a downhill runner, defenses would expect him to be running when Cam Newton's under center. However, with success in a variety of schemes - especially shotgun - teams can't guess as easy on whether a play is a run or a pass.

Scheme-wise, Christian McCaffrey should fit right in. His ability to play in Carolina's zone-based shotgun offense allows him to be a major threat.

Some argue that Cam Newton's inaccuracy and high-velocity throws will not enable CMC to be used much. They assume all Cam's throws will dart right over his head and be worthless in the short passing game.

First thing I want to point out is that I think Cam Newton's one of the better passers in the league. I posted a write-up on this topic that crumbles a lot of past narratives that anyone reading can look at, but for now I'll just point a few things out.

Cam Newton is the 4th most accurate QB on all throws that go beyond five yards, trailing Andrew Luck, Drew Brees, and Aaron Rodgers. His inaccuracy is a myth developed by an unreliable completion percentage statistic, which favors the short passers.

Cam Newton threw less than five yards on 32.43% of his throws; the least amount in the NFL. In comparison, Sam Bradford threw fewer than five yards on 62.13% of his throws. Bradford boasts having the best completion percentage of 2016, while Cam Newton was dead last.

See the trend?

Some will point to Cam Newton's accuracy numbers on the short throws as the reason the Panthers go deep so often. Cam Newton's 89.83 percent on throws behind the line of scrimmage (24th in the league) and 67.86 percent in the 1-5 yard range (32nd in the league) all appear as if Cam Newton's an inaccurate passer in that area.

While it is true Cam's not going to be a top 5 passer in the 0-5 yard range, he is not as bad as statistics make him out to be. When studying Carolina's receivers, it's a miracle that Cam Newton even had some short passing opportunities:

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Newton’s receivers are big but they aren’t good. They don’t adjust well to the ball in the air and they can’t create separation. 59 times last year Newton threw an accurate pass only to have his receiver ruin the play. Only Aaron Rodgers lost more receptions to receiver error.

Newton played in an offense that was designed to push the ball down the field with linear receivers who couldn’t run shorter routes to get open. Throwing downfield was difficult, it is difficult in the best of conditions, but especially so because his receivers struggled to get open and he was constantly delivering the ball from condensed pockets. Throwing short was an even greater challenge because receivers such as Kelvin Benjamin, Devin Funchess and Ted Ginn aren’t good at releasing from the line of scrimmage. Even Greg Olsen is largely just a vertical threat.

Without any true receiver that can play in the short passing game, Shula and Cam were handicapped. Forced to draw up deep passing plays to compensate for lack of talent, Cam Newton suffered. With checkdowns rarely forming with collapsing pockets and short options being unreliable, it was a pitiful sight.

Take this play for example. 

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A well-designed play, followed by a picture perfect throw, Fozzy had no reason to drop that ball. This should've been a good gain of a decent bit of yards after a perfectly thrown pass. However, Fozzy proved himself inadequate and unreliable in this instance, along with many other examples.

Enter in Christian McCaffrey.

McCaffrey is a very quick player who releases well at the line of scrimmage. His footwork allows him to cut cleanly and efficiently in order to get open at a rapid rate. He's an effective weapon in the short passing game.

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In the play above, watch how McCaffrey keeps his eyes on the QB to assess how he's going. Patiently waiting at one spot for a few as plan A of being a checkdown, he reads that the QB wants him to cut across the middle as an option.

The result? McCaffrey provides a clean catch and gains a good chunk of yards. Cam Newton needs a guy who can play like this.

When Cam Newton has receivers like McCaffrey that can actually work the short passing game, it's only logical to conclude his short accuracy will get better. While his high-velocity passes may not die down soon, Cam will finally have reliable options that he's never had before. 

That should only positively impact his short accuracy percentage.

Simply put, Cam Newton can throw in the short range, but he's never had a real shot due to his receiving core. Now with McCaffrey and other WRs who can release quickly at the LoS and get open, Cam Newton should be able to target them efficiently and effectively.

Christian McCaffrey is a perfect fit for a Panthers team that needs a player like him. Complimenting J-Stew in the run game and adding his own style, McCaffrey should find himself the focal point of a Panthers offensive nightmare in the near future.

Christian McCaffrey - The Highlight Of A Panthers Offensive Juggernaut

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Christian McCaffrey is flexible in how he can be used. Whether it's in the run game, passing game, or punt returner, McCaffrey has a whole arsenal of ways he can be used as a weapon. The mere presence of where he is on the field can present mismatch options like never seen before.

The Panthers know what they're getting when they got McCaffrey. Lance Taylor - Stanford's RB Coach turned Panther WR Coach - knows what McCaffrey brings to the table and advocated for him coming to Carolina. Perhaps that is why the Panthers were confident in their answer to how they'll use him:

At Stanford, McCaffrey was used everywhere on the field. Whether on the outside, slot, runningback, or returner, McCaffrey turned himself into an absolute all-purpose weapon. For the Panthers, expect that trend to continue but with an added flair.

When looking for mismatch opportunities, you have to understand what Christian McCaffrey is good at. His footwork is quick and precise, his running style patient and elusive, and his route-running crisp and clean. One thing he exploited a lot at Stanford was mismatch options against linebackers.

For example, Take this drawn up play from PFF:

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Here, Sam Monson creates a very likely scenario and a formation we might see. Olsen exploits a potential mismatch going against a SS while we bunch 3 WRs together on the other side. McCaffrey is in the play and adds a whole new wrinkle in the formation.

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With McCaffrey in the line-up, that LB is going to have to follow him wherever he goes. McCaffrey is a mismatch even when he's in the backfield. As seen in the play above, McCaffrey exploits a one on one opportunity with the linebacker coming out of the backfield, gaining a huge chunk of yards.

However, the Panthers could elect to motion McCaffrey near Olsen or in the slot, drawing the linebacker out for an even bigger mismatch opportunity. 

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When McCaffrey works against linebackers, watch how fast he moves his feet and gets himself open. The linebacker simply isn't able to keep up with Christian McCaffrey's speed, loses the battle, and allows McCaffrey to go off for a touchdown.

With the type of play formation shown above, McCaffery proves to be a deadly weapon no matter how you slice it.

Another possibility includes this play brought up by Fahey on twitter. Falcons elect to bring six personnel against this Panthers formation:

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Now imagine the backfield is Newton and McCaffrey. The Falcons can't go five in the box against Cam Newton because that's simply asking for a beatdown, and six allows McCaffrey to exploit a big mismatch opportunity.

There's a whole lot of ways the Panthers can exploit this scenario.

The Panthers could run option off the DE. That would likely end up in a scenario where a first down is achieved. The Panthers could pull a guard to lead the way, toss the ball outside to CMC, send him in a route against these linebackers, or simply let Cam be Cam.

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Anyway you slice it, the Panthers have a lot of options on one simple play to get a first down. McCaffrey's presence only makes defenses even more worried than normal. Knowing he could run out of the backfield or come in for a route gives the defense a lot to account for.

Another way to use McCaffrey is in two runningback sets. Take the following formation for example:

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Imagine the backfield being Cam Newton, Jonathan Stewart, and Christian McCaffrey. Curtis Samuel is working the slot, Olsen on top perimeter, and Kelvin Benjamin on bottom. A whole host of mismatch opportunities have presented themselves on this play.

The Panthers could run with Stewart, bring Samuel in for a sweep, run play, or working the slot with his speed, let Cam take over, run with McCaffrey, or let him leak out of the play-action on as seen below:

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The mismatch potential of the Panthers offense is monstrous. They could even replace Stewart with Samuel to add to the chaos, and place Russell Shepard in the slot. So many ways for the Panthers to foil defenses. McCaffrey's presence allows mismatches to be created.

Defenses just won't be able to keep up. Bleacher Report made a very nice article on how the Panthers could use weapons like McCaffrey (and Samuel) to become one of the deadliest option offenses in the NFL.

Here's a sample of something that could be drawn up:

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When McCaffrey and/or Samuel are on the field, defenses are going to respond with nickel or dime personnel so they can match speed with speed. When the Panthers then spread the field, there won't be many defenders in the box. And when Newton and one of the backs "mesh" for a handoff, the whole defense is going to freeze. That will make for some delicious misdirection goodness.

Let's expand on a simple zone-read type of play and make it a little more exotic. We'll start with linemen inside-zone blocking to the left, McCaffrey preparing for a handoff and Newton reading the backside defensive end for whether to give the ball or keep it.

But let's add an important wrinkle: Samuel motioning from a split wide receiver position, running a jet-sweep counter to the flow of the blocking. If that defensive end stays at home, McCaffrey takes the handoff and runs inside zone against what's left of the defensive box. If he crashes, Newton pulls the ball and gives it to Samuel. The Panthers get an option wrinkle and a playmaker in space without risking a hit on their quarterback.

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The Panthers already have concepts similar to this one in their playbook. Against the Chiefs, they ran a wacky end-around to Ted Ginn Jr. that started as an outside-zone handoff to Stewart. That play got stuffed, in part because there was too much going on (the Newton-to-Stewart-to-Ginn exchange, mainly).

The sweep shown above can easily be integrated into a sequence, with a conventional handoff and some play-action passes from the same formation. That makes plays like this one hard to game-plan for—and makes the threat of them almost as dangerous as the plays themselves.

Christian McCaffrey impacts the Panthers by being the offensive match-up nightmare he is. With elite potential both as a crisp route-runner and a talented runningback allows him to be one of the most dangerous weapons in the NFL.

The Panthers have the potential to be deadly with a guy like Christian McCaffrey on the team. It's now up to Mike Shula to draw up plenty of plays that will take the league by storm.

Conclusion

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Christian McCaffrey is a special player. His skillset as a runningback is similar in style to LeSean McCoy, and his vision to Le'Veon Bell. With his ability to read defenses and elude defenders, McCaffrey should have no trouble transitioning to an NFL offense like the Panthers.

His versatility allows him to be used all over the field. Whether it be runningback, wide-receiver, or in the punt return game, McCaffrey is a weapon that the Panthers can't wait to get on the field.

With his experience in a variety of pro-style offenses and formations at Stanford, McCaffrey should have no trouble transitioning to the Panthers power-based zone scheme. Whether he runs from shotgun or I-formation, McCaffrey will succeed. 

Wherever McCaffrey is on the field, he creates mismatch opportunities due to the "unknown" aspect of what he is going to do. Defenses will have to scramble and guess whether McCaffrey's running, leaking out, or running a route, and that's no easy task.

The Panthers brought in McCaffrey to add a spark in their offense. Cam Newton has never had a guy who is both reliable and quick in the passing game until CMC came along. Now able to add plenty of option flairs and short options, expect Cam Newton's accuracy to seemingly get "better" as he doesn't have to be the play-maker all the time.

Christian McCaffrey is a special athlete. His impact on the Panthers will be immediate. Cam Newton will no longer have to be the guy doing everything. Christian McCaffrey takes a huge load off of Cam's back, and allows our offense to shine.

Expect great things from the kid this upcoming season.

**If you want to dig deeper, I made a 50+ GIF thread of McCaffrey on twitter. Click the twitter link below and look at the replies to see CMC's film and my comments**

 

 

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TL;DR - CMC is really good and will do really good things for the Panthers in 2017.

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Thanks for consolidating these perspectives into one piece. An interesting read and one I hope that proves itself out in the coming years!

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love the part about the 43 times.

 

One thing I haven't seen anyone mention yet is that while we don't want Cam to be our running back, the addition of CMC and Curtis is going to spread the field waaaaaaaaaaaaaay more than we've ever been able to before, and that means when Cam does take off, called or otherwise, he's going to be even more effective running, and that should scare the crap out of the rest of the NFC south.

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17 minutes ago, Captain Morgan said:

love the part about the 43 times.

 

One thing I haven't seen anyone mention yet is that while we don't want Cam to be our running back, the addition of CMC and Curtis is going to spread the field waaaaaaaaaaaaaay more than we've ever been able to before, and that means when Cam does take off, called or otherwise, he's going to be even more effective running, and that should scare the crap out of the rest of the NFC south.

Teams can't go 5 man in the box against us due to Cam, and going 6 in the box creates a mismatch opportunity for CMC.

It's a pick your poison event. Only we have playmakers all over the field.

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42 minutes ago, UpstatePanther said:

fml is it august yet?!

three weeks from today is start of training camp.  I can survive once tc starts, but the next 3 weeks are gonna suck.  

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7 minutes ago, Captain Morgan said:

three weeks from today is start of training camp.  I can survive once tc starts, but the next 3 weeks are gonna suck.  

im just filling my life with work, side hustles, time with family/gf, and video games. its working so far. 

but by the end of 3 weeks i might have to break out Madden 15 on my One, idk. lol

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1 hour ago, UpstatePanther said:

im just filling my life with work, side hustles, time with family/gf, and video games. its working so far. 

but by the end of 3 weeks i might have to break out Madden 15 on my One, idk. lol

Man. So much time between now and training camp. Seems so far away.

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At this point, the Panthers have no excuses. This team has potential to be the best one under Cam Newton yet. The defense's floor is top 5, and could be battling for one of the top 3. This offense has potential to be one of the hardest to gameplan against.

The Panthers cannot mess this up.

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9 hours ago, Saca312 said:

At this point, the Panthers have no excuses. This team has potential to be the best one under Cam Newton yet. The defense's floor is top 5, and could be battling for one of the top 3. This offense has potential to be one of the hardest to gameplan against.

The Panthers cannot mess this up.

This year is going to be so much fun. It seems that everyone has been working very hard to improve. Actually feels more like a mission.  I predict they will not mess this up. There is too much planning, too much hard work, and some very nice talent and great leadership on this team.  Not to mention high character guys that we can be proud of on and off the field. 

By the way Saca...thanks for your usual awesome research and write ups!!!

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