4 biggest challenges facing the Panthers at the Chargers in Week 3

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) Justin Herbert
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) Justin Herbert /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Christian McCaffrey /

Replicating Christian McCaffrey’s production

There is just no telling how the Carolina Panthers are going to look without Christian McCaffrey on the field. The running back hasn’t missed a competitive game since entering the league in 2017 and not having him carrying the load is a critical blow to the team’s fortunes.

McCaffrey logged more than 400 combined touches on his way to a historic 2019 campaign that saw him become the third back in NFL history to go over 1,000-yards rushing and receiving in the same year. The All-Pro has already accumulated 48 touches over two games this time out and his high ankle sprain leaves a gaping hole in their production.

One player on Carolina’s roster cannot replicate McCaffrey’s overall influence. Offensive coordinator Joe Brady needs to get creative to keep the pressure off the outstanding pass-catching weapons at his disposal and keep the Chargers defense honest, at the very least.

Mike Davis will get the start and he showed some nice qualities during their defeat at the Bucs. The veteran caught eight passes for 74 receiving yards late on and if he can continue this trend going forward, it is going to be a huge bonus.

Trenton Cannon and Reggie Bonnafon could also see an increase in playing time, with Myles Hartsfield and Curtis Samuel others who can slot into the backfield in certain situations.

The Chargers are giving up 123.5 yards-per-game on the ground this season. So if the right balance can be found there is an opportunity to do some damage.