It is time for the Carolina Panthers to unleash Curtis Samuel

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Curtis Samuel
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Curtis Samuel /

Now is the time for the Carolina Panthers to unleash Curtis Samuel after star running back Christian McCaffrey went down with an ankle injury.

The Carolina Panthers were dealt a substantial blow in the form of an ankle injury to their star running back Christian McCaffrey. The new face of the franchise is set to miss between four and six weeks after going off in the second half at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and this has only heightened concerns about their chances going forward.

Losing your best player is the worst-case scenario that plenty of NFL teams suffered during an incredible Week 2 in terms of long-term injuries to influential individuals. The Carolina Panthers will just have to get on with it with little expectations on their shoulders. But they would be smart not to rush McCaffrey back in fear of it flaring up again at some stage.

Offensive coordinator Joe Brady needs to get creative in his pursuit of filling the void left by McCaffrey. One expects Mike Davis to come in and start, with the likes of Trenton Cannon and Reggie Bonnafon also candidates for carries.

However, there is one player who might just benefit the most.

The Carolina Panthers need to make the most of Curtis Samuel.

Curtis Samuel‘s start to the 2020 season has been disappointing, to put it mildly. There was real hope that the wide receiver could take another giant leap forward after a promising campaign last time out. But things will need to improve significantly for the former second-round pick to achieve his goals.

The Panthers have used Samuel sparingly during their first two games. He has been targeted just ten times, collecting seven receptions for 51 receiving yards.

Perhaps what is more surprising is the fact that Samuel has just one carry coming out of the backfield. The former Ohio State Buckeye has the potential to be a dual-threat weapon. But it appears that Carolina doesn’t quite know what to do with the player if the first fortnight of action is any indication.

Maybe the presence of Robby Anderson has something to do with Samuel’s lack of involvement. The free-agent signing has hit the ground running for the Panthers and this hasn’t exactly aided the No. 3 option’s cause.

There might be some more opportunities for Samuel to make his presence felt with McCaffrey on the sidelines. Getting the ball in his hands in whatever shape or form is only going to benefit the Panthers. So using him as a specialist back warrants significant consideration.

Samuel has already proven just how elusive he can be. His form in 2019 clearly depicted that and resulted in a yards-per-carry average of 6.8.

However, there just appears to be something amiss from a scheme perspective regarding Brady and Samuel. So getting back to basics with the player in terms of finding the easiest ways to give him the ball might be the smart way to go.

There is a lot riding on this season for Samuel, which is the last on his rookie deal. The Panthers opted not to trade him during the 2020 NFL Draft and could lose the player for nothing if he decides to take his chances elsewhere next spring.

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A poor start to the campaign will only increase Samuel’s frustrations. But given that Carolina will be without McCaffrey for over a month, now is the time for the player to be unleashed.