Panthers: The current running back situation is dire

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Christian McCaffrey
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Christian McCaffrey /

The Panthers’ running back situation isn’t as promising as once hoped.

The offensive coordinator of the Carolina Panthers, Mike Shula, received one mission from Head Coach Ron Rivera during the 2017 season: create an offensive scheme that channeled through Cam Newton’s arm opposed to his legs. Without a doubt, Shula miserably failed. Due to Shula’s incompetence, Rivera decided to boot Shula and to hire offensive guru Norv Turner.

The Panthers now boast an offensive coordinator capable of designing a game plan to keep Newton in the pocket by using the two incredible gadget players of Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel. However, the Panthers still need a final offensive piece: a power back.

Problems with the Panthers’ Current Running Back Situation

There are two harsh realities that the fans of the Panthers must come to grips with:  McCaffrey is NOT a back made for short yardage situations and that Jonathan Stewart should be cut.

Christian McCaffrey’s Problem

To face facts, Christian McCaffrey is not the largest of backs. If the Panthers were on the 1 yard line, it was 4th down, and there were 0:02 left on the clock in the fourth quarter, the odds are stacked against the smaller McCaffrey being able to bully his way into the end zone. The more likely option is that Cam Newton fakes a hand off to McCaffrey before taking the ball into the end zone himself. While the Panthers get six points, Cam Newton’s body is exposed yet again.

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Jonathan Stewart’s Problem

Logically, Jonathan Stewart should be cut this off season. As a Panthers fan, this is a tough pill to swallow. Consider these ESPN statistics. Stewart recorded a disappointing six touchdowns last season, and three of those came in a single game. Additionally, he is about to become 31 years old. The time has come for Panthers faithful to say goodbye to Stewart.

What Now?

Assuming that Stewart will be cut, the Panthers could go several routes to fill his role. Free agency, a trade, or the draft would be the best options. The best route is the draft as the Panthers have two third-round draft picks. Using the one of those picks on the biggest, meanest running back available would dramatically help in short yardage situations. Who should that running back be? That’s a conversation for draft experts.

Next: Samuel faces uphill battle in 2018