4 burning questions the Panthers must answer ahead of Week 6

(Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images) Sam Darnold
(Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images) Sam Darnold /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey /

How should the Carolina Panthers handle Christian McCaffrey?

If there was any doubt about Christian McCaffrey‘s importance to the Carolina Panthers, watching the offense struggle without him over the last two games cements his status as the most indispensable player on the roster.

And therein lies the problem.

There is a chance McCaffrey returns to the fold in Week 6 against the Minnesota Vikings, although we won’t know for sure until the final injury report is revealed. This would be a major boost to the team and quarterback Sam Darnold, but how the Panthers handle the All-Pro’s workload moving forward is of critical importance.

Giving him 30 combined touches every game is clearly doing more harm than good. McCaffrey has played just six games in the last 21, which is simply unacceptable if Carolina harbors any real ambitions of playoff football in 2021.

Rookie back Chuba Hubbard showed promise en route to the first 100-yard rushing game of his career on Sunday. He’ll revert to understudy status when McCaffrey returns, but the Oklahoma State product has already proven a reliable weapon to call upon when needed.

McCaffrey will be the focal point, there’s no doubt about that. But taking him out of the firing line on occasions to preserve his fitness is the smart move at this juncture.