Christian McCaffrey could make a big impact after the bye week

(Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey
(Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey /
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Christian McCaffrey
(Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey /

How much has Christian McCaffrey been missed?

Every team in the NFL is going to miss a player of Christian McCaffrey’s caliber. He has been one of the league’s best running backs from the moment he stepped onto the field out of Stanford and although Mike Davis has played well overall in his absence, it’s just not the same.

McCaffrey does so much for the Carolina Panthers, with or without the ball. His rare ability to make plays consistently alters defensive gameplans and frees up space for others to work in, something that was seen prominently during their narrow loss at the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs earlier this season.

Not having that doesn’t seem to have slowed the offense down any, at least early on. However, not having McCaffrey in close games down the stretch is where the Panthers have missed him the most.

Given that Carolina doesn’t have much in the way of expectations on their shoulders this season, it’s allowed them to be ultra-cautious with their face of the franchise. Had they been in the playoff picture then things might have been different, but Rhule stated in his Wednesday presser that when McCaffrey is ready, he’ll be out there.

"“He got out there, he moved around, he’s making progress. So as soon as he’s ready to play, we’ll play him. As soon as he’s full-go, we’ll put him out there, and (as soon as) he feels confident, and the medical people feel confident, we’ll put him out there.”"

This puts the notion of possibly sitting McCaffrey for the season to rest. The player is simply too competitive for that and he is sure to be chomping at the bit to make a difference down the stretch.