Carolina Panthers go all-in with new offense orchestrated by Norv Turner.
The Carolina Panthers have historically been a ground and pound style offense dating back to Fred Lane, Tim Biakabutuka, DeShaun Foster and Stephen Davis. Even before the dual threat of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, these predecessors set the example for a quality run game operating behind a solid offensive line.
Former general manager Dave Gettleman drafted running back Christian McCaffrey with the Panthers first pick in the 2017 NFL Draft but never got to see his full potential. Just as training camp was about to begin, Gettleman was relieved of his duties and Marty Hurney was awarded the position on an interim basis, eventually earning the full time role.
Following the 2017 season where McCaffrey and Stewart shared the position, the latter was released as Hurney and Carolina opted to move on from the veteran back. A change at offensive coordinator could have triggered the decision but the Panthers elected to eventually sign C.J. Anderson.
A power running back, expectations were that McCaffrey and Anderson would compliment one another in the backfield. A nice combination of power and speed, the two were expected to receive a similar amount of carries as the season approached. An early injury to reserve Fozzy Whittaker even further solidified the need for an experienced back in the huddle and on the field.
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Then Turner elected to put all of his eggs in one basket, carried by McCaffrey. The Panthers second year back is on pace to shatter the franchise record for total yards from scrimmage, contributing in both the passing and run games for a revitalized offense under Turner.
The recent release of Anderson, even further solidifies a change in strategy and focus for the offense. While Turner appreciates a power run game and contributions from a fullback, Carolina has determined that McCaffrey is the back of the future and their shift in offensive focus continued with the recent signing of Travaris Cadet.
The move from a grinding ground game to dynamic playmaker is a significant shift in offensive strategy but one that has already been paying dividends. As McCaffrey continues to develop and quarterback Cam Newton consistently gets the ball in the hands of his other offensive weapons, expect to see the former Stanford product’s contributions continually increase.
Gone are the days of slow developing plays, grinding drives, and clock consuming possessions on offense and the release of Anderson substantiates that determination.