Last year during the Carolina Panthers training camp, there was a daily update on the slick moves then rookie running back Christian McCaffrey was putting on defenders. Social media (including mine) was all aflutter with videos of McCaffrey juking guys into oblivion. one quick step and he was gone. Excitement was high.
Unfortunately, those moves didn’t exactly translate during the regular season when the hitting was real. While McCaffrey proved to be an amazing threat in the passing game, the running game was never quite what we all thought it would be.
I have seen a change in CMC’s running style this year at Carolina Panthers training camp compared to last year. These days McCaffrey is running with more confidence. More confidence in his speed. More confidence in his ability. More confidence that he belongs.
No more juking. No more side stepping. That was rookie Christian McCaffrey. Now when CMC sees a hole, he hits it immediately and just keeps running. It appears he has learned his speed is enough to gain the needed yards, no side stepping required. And you know what? He is right. Although not as flashy, McCaffrey looks more like a starting NFL running back.
Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera has stated numerous times that McCaffrey is now the feature back of the Panthers. From witnessing McCaffrey first hand in training camp, I can report to you that he is not bluffing. When coach tells you CMC will get 25 carries a game, he isn’t bluffing.
At first I was a tad it concerned with this revelation. No more. What I have seen from McCaffrey this past week in camp tells me he is more than capable. So don’t worry about the lack of flashy CMC updates. It is all part of McCaffrey’s evolution.