On Sunday, the Green Bay Packers return to Lambeau Field to take on the Carolina Panthers. Walker Clement of Cat Scratch Reader kindly volunteered to answer our questions about the Panthers and provide some insight into their strengths and weaknesses.
APC: Christian McCaffrey has put together the best eight-game stretch of his career, leading the league with 13 total touchdowns and 1,244 yards from scrimmage. Obviously, the Panthers use him in high volumes, but what functions specifically does he perform within the offense?
He’s everything for them, as shown by his presence on the field for 92% of the Panthers offensive snaps this season.. From a between the tackles runner to a wide receiver, McCaffrey literally performs every conceivable function on offense. He’s 0/1 passing this season, but he was 1/1 with a touchdown last season.
Even when he is not touching the ball--which he is doing at a historic rate--his very presence is used as decoy. The Panthers can line up 4 wide in 10 personnel and most defenses will still put eight men in the box and key off of McCaffrey. They do that because it has proven the smart way to defend the Panthers, regardless of the score or field position.
McCaffrey is also the magic for this team. Cam Newton used to be the transcendent talent that would put the team on his back and will them to victory when nothing else was working. Remember, Newton took an offense highlighted by Ted Ginn, Jr to the Super Bowl in 2015. He damn near did it again with less in 2017. McCaffrey has as close to that effect as possible for a non-quarterback.
We’d like to thank Walker. Be sure to check out the rest of our Q&A session with Cat Scratch Reader over the course of the week as well as our Q&A session over there. As always, keep your internet machines tuned to Acme Packing Company this Sunday for our comprehensive game-day coverage of Panthers versus Packers.