Panthers offseason roster review: Special Teams
Christian McCaffrey, Damiere Byrd
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Punt returner Kaelin Clay is back in Buffalo after generating the second most returns for Carolina last year. When it wasn’t Clay back to receive, the Panthers turned to rookie running back Christian McCaffrey, who had experience returning kicks in college.
This offseason, Carolina let running back Jonathan Stewart walk, leaving McCaffrey as the main option in the backfield with Cameron Artis-Payne and Whittaker. As the primary back, even with the addition of another via the NFL Draft, McCaffrey’s role in the return game would be expected to diminish except in critical situations.
Some refer to special teams as one-third of the game combined with offense and defense. While not everyone agrees with this sentiment there is no denying that their impact on the eventual outcome can be pivotal. Whether through kicking, punting or on a return, not only does momentum often hinge on a single play but with points on the line, ensuring their production is solid remains critical.
Next: Offseason Roster Review - Defense
Hurney and Rivera need to find solid options in all return capacities, instead of the revolving door approach from a season ago.