Leading by example is key for Christian McCaffrey in 2021

Dean Jones
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Christian McCaffrey
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Christian McCaffrey /

Leading by example is key for Christian McCaffrey if the Carolina Panthers want to take a giant leap forward during the 2021 season.

Having someone with the talent Christian McCaffrey brings to the table is a highly advantageous component for the Carolina Panthers. The running back seems to be finally over the injury problems behind a lost 2020 campaign from the player, which might be all this talented roster needs to enter the playoff discussion.

McCaffrey has already done so much for the Panthers. His production prior to the previous campaign was nothing short of phenomenal and if he can get back to the form of old in 2021, a second All-Pro selection is a realistic proposition.

There has been plenty of player turnover in Carolina over the last couple of seasons.

This was to be expected when Matt Rhule took over and general manager Scott Fitterer joined the decision-making process this offseason from the Seattle Seahawks. The duo developed a strong working relationship quickly, with a clear intent on getting young, dynamic individuals with the right character traits into the organization to potentially get the Panthers trending in the right direction once again.

This has led to McCaffrey becoming one of the more experienced and longest-serving players despite entering his fifth season. While he’s long been considered the focal point and new face of the franchise, the former Stanford star now needs to assist more from a leadership standpoint.

Christian McCaffrey is keen to lead and learn this season.

It’s something McCaffrey is sure to relish.

The player commands respect for the way he goes about his business on the field. If this can rub off on other members of the roster, the sky is the limit for this group.

McCaffrey is planning to not only mentor younger guys on the team, but also learn as much as he can from them, too.

"“And I’m always learning too. There’s a lot of young talented guys on this team. Just the other day, (undrafted rookie) Spencer Brown made a move that I’ll definitely try to put in my arsenal. Not that I’ve never seen it, but when you see it live, I mean those guys are here for a reason too. As a vet, I’m always learning and picking stuff up from those guys as well.”"

This is the right attitude to have.

Something that is normally associated with McCaffrey since arriving to the Panthers as a first-round pick back in 2017.

There is an abundance of weapons in the passing game for new quarterback Sam Darnold to call upon. However, he and the Panthers would be wise to lean on McCaffrey heavily without compromising his durability at any stage.

The introduction of fourth-round pick Chuba Hubbard comes with some enticing upside that could take off some of the load. But it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that everything good will go through McCaffrey next season.

Leading by example might be a small part of McCaffrey’s overall influence.

However, it is extremely important considering how young this group is heading into the season.

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Carolina has the best dual-threat running back in the league, which is a solid foundation from which to build a potential contender. Providing there are no further complications on the health front, expect the McCaffrey to put up the sort of numbers we are accustomed to seeing from the player and almost take for granted at this juncture.