Panthers depth chart focus: Running back balance can thrive in 2022

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

Although the health of Christian McCaffrey could determine the Carolina Panthers’ fate, the running back room has the balance to thrive in 2022.

Considering that the Carolina Panthers ran the football on 41.14 percent of their plays in 2021, the production was extremely disappointing overall. Of course, this all hinged on one major factor that played a significant role in the team once again failing to meet modest expectations in the second year of Matt Rhule’s reign.

Things looked incredibly promising over the first two games of the season. Carolina had real purpose and looked like they could make some noise with Christian McCaffrey seemingly back to his best and carrying a heavy workload once again.

However, it didn’t take long for things to unravel.

McCaffrey got hurt early in the Panthers‘ game at the Houston Texans in Week 3 and was seldom seen after that. He featured in just seven games – taking his tally to 10 appearances in two seasons – which is a far cry from the iron man image he portrayed over the first three years of his professional career.

The Panthers were clearly too reliant on McCaffrey. Something that isn’t exactly new based on the extraordinary amount of touches he’s accumulated with little stability at the quarterback position.

In the end, Carolina finished with 108.4 rushing yards per game on average and 4.0 yards per attempt. We took a deep dive into whether the Panthers have enough to shift the narrative within the running back room in 2022 in our latest depth chart focus.