4 encouraging signs for Panthers to take from the 2020 season

(Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports) Brian Burns
(Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports) Brian Burns /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey /

Production without Christian McCaffrey

It’s easy to forget that the Carolina Panthers played most of the 2020 season without their best player. Christian McCaffrey suffered more than his fair share of injury problems for the first time in his career and only ended up participating in three games throughout the campaign.

Things could have looked bleak for the Panthers.

But the production they managed to generate in McCaffrey’s absence was highly encouraging.

Full credit must go to the coaching staff and players for this. It would have been easy for their heads to drop without the All-Pro running back leading the charge. But they dug in their heels and produced the sort of numbers that might result in McCaffrey not carrying the load as much once he makes a full return to health next season.

The Panthers had four players – Mike Davis, D.J. Moore, Robby Anderson, and Curtis Samuel – achieve more than 1,000 yards from scrimmage in 2020. This is a remarkable feat in the circumstances and one that makes their 5-11 record even more frustrating.

Davis, in particular, was a real surprise. The veteran won the primary backup job in training camp and thrived when handed more responsibility when McCaffrey went down.

Carolina might not be able to match any big offers that come in for Davis and Samuel when free agency begins due to the tight salary-cap next season. So it is vital McCaffrey’s inability to stay on the field becomes a thing of the past next time around.