5 key observations from practice Day 8 at Panthers training camp

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey /

Carolina Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey hitting his stride

The Carolina Panthers are being rightfully cautious with Christian McCaffrey, which is understandable in the circumstances. His unavailability for 13 games last season really hurt the team in crucial moments and if the same happens again in 2021, it would be nothing short of a disaster.

McCaffrey’s carries and targets are being kept to a minimum. After all, the Panthers and everyone else across the league knows exactly what the running back can do on the big stage.

That being said, it was hard not to be impressed by McCaffrey’s production on Thursday. It started by demonstrating his exceptional explosiveness on a 50-yard touchdown run and continued throughout the session.

The former first-round pick also provided Sam Darnold with a nice security blanket, which the quarterback is utilizing every chance he gets. This is going to aid the player an untold amount when competitive action gets underway, with the addition of Dan Arnold from the Arizona Cardinals something else working in his favor.

Don’t expect to see McCaffrey on the field too much during the preseason. Carolina can ill afford their face of the franchise running into further complications and it also gives them a chance to see what fourth-round pick Chuba Hubbard can do before Week 1.