Anderson has not been much of a factor for the Panthers.
I don’t like making judgments on players. After all, I’m the one sitting at a desk while they are getting tackled by players of immense size and strength. However, when a certain player is not living up to expectations, one that was thought to be an asset to the team upon signing, a judgment may be warranted. Such is the case with running back C. J. Anderson. So far, he has not lived up to the hype for the Panthers.
Anderson has 24 carries for 104 yards on the year. Averaging 4.3 yards per carry, that is a statistic that works in his favor. Even still, he is third on the team in rushing. Ahead of him are quarterback Cam Newton and running back Christian McCaffrey. Those two are no slouches by any means. If anything, they are freak athletes. Even still, it is not ideal for a quarterback to have more rushing yards than a running back, no matter the latter’s placement on the depth chart.
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He has not had many chances to make things work. Take for example Thursday. In that game, he saw just five offensive snaps and nine special-teams snaps. To this point in the season, he is a far cry from where he was last year. He rushed for over 1,000 yards in 2017. That is especially impressive when you consider the amount of running backs the Broncos had on the roster. Jamaal Charles, De‘Angelo Henderson, and Devonte Booker were all in the backfield, and it gave the Broncos many options to choose from. Even if he did not find the end zone, Anderson did a nice job of getting the Broncos there.
I was really excited when I heard that the Panthers signed Anderson. I envisioned him becoming a key part of the backfield, forming a potent 1-2 tandem with Christian McCaffrey. McCaffrey would be the main back, the elusive back. Anderson would be the power back, used to punch the ball in the end zone. Especially with the way Norv Turner utilizes his running backs in the passing game, I thought Anderson could carve out a nice niche for himself. Furthermore, he could give McCaffrey a break when needed.
Instead, it has been pretty much the opposite. McCaffrey has taken the bulk of the snaps. That is not surprising, given the fact that this is something the Panthers had in mind heading into the season. What is surprising is how quiet Anderson has been to this point. Maybe we will see him utilized more in the second half of the season. Maybe what we are seeing is what we are going to get for the rest of the year. I certainly hope not for Anderson’s sake. I still think he has a little bit left in the tank. With how explosive he is once he gets into the open field, he is certainly still a threat.
To this point in the season, he has not lived up to the hype. Who knows if he will end up doing so? Right now it looks as though he is on the outside looking in. All he can do now is make the most of the opportunities he’s given when on the field, and hope for the best.