A year after becoming just the third player in NFL history to record 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in the same season, Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey couldn’t stay on the field.
Three separate injuries limited McCaffrey to just three games in 2020, with the running back missing the last seven contests.
As McCaffrey returns in 2021, Carolina offensive coordinator Joe Brady said Thursday that the mindset in McCaffrey’s usage has not changed.
“You can obviously feel the difference when Christian is out on the football field. You see the production of it,” Brady said, via video from David Newton of ESPN. “But I told Christian, I don’t need Christian to be anything more than Christian McCaffrey. I think that’s important for him to know, that he doesn’t have anything to prove to me, to prove to anybody else — he just needs to be Christian McCaffrey.
“When he’s coming out here, the work ethic that he’s putting into it, it’s impressive. Every day, there’s examples that he’s putting on tape that I want everybody to be like, ‘Hey, we’ve got to play like this.'”
Though McCaffrey didn’t play much in Brady’s first year as offensive coordinator, the running back still finished second on the club with six total touchdowns. McCaffrey tallied 374 yards from scrimmage in 2020.