The Carolina Panthers may have a unique problem….
Thursday, Tim Weaver of PanthersWire.com brought up an interesting discussion point that I think is worth having. He raised the question as to whether C.J. Anderson or Christian McCaffrey should start for the Carolina Panthers. Before I make my case for McCaffrey, here was his for Anderson.
"Anderson and McCaffrey both had to work with below-average offensive lines last year. Anderson was more efficient though, averaging a respectable 4.1 yards per carry, while McCaffrey only averaged 3.7. Anderson’s superior lower-body strength and overall power makes him a better option in short-yardage situations, too. He’s also a better pass blocker than McCaffrey (or any other running back in the NFL, for that matter).Another reason the Panthers may want to use Anderson as the primary option over McCaffrey: they might only have him for one season. After Denver let him walk, Anderson sought out a prove-it deal and that’s exactly what he got with Carolina, signing a one-year contract worth just $1.7 million.Even if the Panthers see McCaffrey as more valuable in the long run, they could hold off promoting him another year and let Anderson run wild while they have him at a good price."
Let me start off by saying that I respect his opinion. To his credit, he makes some really great points. The fact that the former Denver Bronco is on a one-year deal is certainly a fair point. The Carolina Panthers would be wise to use him while they have him. Even still, I would start McCaffrey in a heartbeat.
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The problem I have with Anderson starting over McCaffrey is that it is truly important for the latter to have a strong second year. Statistically, he fared better in the passing game as a receiver than in the running game, but there is no doubt that overall, he was an offensive weapon. The Carolina Panthers and their fans saw him do some really great things, and pushing him back to a secondary role would not be ideal. If anything that would limit his growth on the field.
McCaffrey brings more to the table in terms of his skillset too. The two major things he has over Anderson are youthful legs and speed. Especially in an offense that is predicted to be wide open, that would serve the Carolina Panthers better in the long run. He can get out into open space a bit quicker and his ability to find that space and make plays is extremely beneficial to the offense. Anderson can do that too, but he doesn’t have the same amount of elusiveness as the former Stanford star.
McCaffrey is till the better option to start in 2018. Although the question posed was a fair one, it would not be fair for CMC to take on a more limited role. I get that C.J. Anderson is one a one-year deal. If anything, that just makes whatever he can provide the Carolina Panthers an added bonus.