It was a full-speed Friday for Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey.
As the Panthers aim to handle their star back with care, they’ve implemented a practice plan of off-days intermixed with practicing sans constraints.
CMC is appreciative of the approach as he enters the season looking to avoid the injury bug that has infected each of his last two campaigns.
“I think those days off are important,” McCaffrey said. “You’ve got to make sure on those days off that you’re doing everything to get ready for the next day. That’s the purpose of it. So it’s an off-day, but you’re still working. You’re doing a lot of stuff with the trainers, you’re doing stuff with the strength coaches — strength stuff, flexibility stuff, to get ready for that next day. But I feel great.”
McCaffrey played in 48 consecutive games to begin his NFL career, culminating in an All-Pro 2019 campaign when he became just the second player all time to tally 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in the same season. Since then, CMC’s been hobbled to the tune of playing in only 10 of a possible 27 games over the last two seasons.
Hamstring and ankle injuries cut McCaffrey’s 2021 campaign to seven games and the Panthers’ practice plan has been put into play since he returned from the ankle ailment.
“I think the plan for him is a really good one,” head coach Matt Rhule said, via the team website’s Augusta Stone.
Rhule has previously stated it was unlikely McCaffrey would go three straight practices once pads were put on. So far, so good.
“Ya, I feel great. One day at a time for us,” said McCaffrey, navigating through his clichés as impressively as he does opposing defenses. “We’re working hard, recovering hard, meeting hard; just doing everything — taking it one day at a time.”
Handle with care has been the approach so far with McCaffrey, and the Panthers — and fantasy football owners aplenty — are hoping it pays off with a healthy regular season.