Progress report and grades for Panthers offense through Week 4

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Mike Davis
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Mike Davis /
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Carolina Panthers
(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey /

Carolina Panthers RBs

  • Grade: A

Losing Christian McCaffrey seemed like a blow that the Carolina Panthers might not recover from. But it is hard to deny that the offense has looked just as good in his absence.

No, the Panthers are not better off without McCaffrey. He will remain the focal point of their gameplan once he is fit enough to return, but this period without the former first-round pick means that he might not be tasked with shouldering so much of the workload going forward.

McCaffrey was playing at a supremely high level before a high ankle sprain forced him to miss the first games of his pro career. He put up 223 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns through two weeks. But it would be foolish for Carolina to rush him back into the fold until the injury has fully healed.

This is down in no small part to the contribution of Mike Davis, who has been nothing short of exceptional over the last two encounters. He has provided a fierce running presence between the tackles and backed this up by becoming a dependable presence in the passing game.

Davis was one of the stars of training camp in Carolina and brought this momentum onto the field. There is nothing to suggest he cannot feature heavily once McCaffrey does return, which will give the Panthers a one-two punch in the backfield that can become a real asset.

There might also be a part to play for Reggie Bonnafon, who showed off his tremendous skill set against the Cardinals. But the Panthers cannot call him up from the practice squad again without making him a permanent addition to the 53-man roster.