4 big Panthers storylines to watch at the Chargers in Week 3

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) Matt Rhule
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) Matt Rhule /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) Christian McCaffrey /

How will the Carolina Panthers cope without Christian McCaffrey?

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse for the Carolina Panthers, they will now be without their star player Christian McCaffrey at the Chargers and beyond.

The All-Pro running back has gone to the reserve/injured list with a high ankle sprain suffered at the Buccaneers when it looked possible that the Panthers might make a sensational comeback. This is a devastating blow for a roster that depends on McCaffrey not only to produce the goods on the field but also to inspire others around him when things aren’t exactly going to plan.

This will be the first time that Carolina won’t be able to call on McCaffrey’s exceptional talent since they selected him No. 8 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft. How ironic it is that this injury occurred just two games into his bumper contract extension, which is the risk teams take when paying their backs the going rate.

Offensive coordinator Joe Brady is confident Mike Davis can plug the gap. But replicating McCaffrey’s production is near impossible for mere mortals.

The veteran did show some promise in the passing game late on once the Panthers’ face of the franchise went off the field. And his performance during training camp saw Davis surge up the depth chart and ensure his $3 million in base salary for the 2020 season.

Don’t be surprised if Trenton Cannon and Reggie Bonnafon also get some touches. There is also the possibility of Pharoh Cooper, Curtis Samuel, and even Myles Hartsfield seeing time in the backfield should the right situation present itself.