It was nothing short of a phenomenal season for Carolina Panthers star running back Christian McCaffrey that included setting numerous NFL records along the way. His production helped further demonstrate that is among the best talents in the league regardless of position. McCaffrey was the driving force of the Panthers’ offense but proved not to be enough as they fell well short of the playoffs. Following the regular-season finale loss to the New Orleans aired his true feelings concerning his impressive campaign.
Christian McCaffrey’s 2019 season
Building off his breakout second season, McCaffrey took a tremendous leap forward in 2019 by putting forth his best campaign.
The 23-year-old was an absolute force out of the backfield as racked up several NFL records along the way. That saw him become just the third player to record at least 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in the same campaign, joining Roger Craig and Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk. McCaffrey also joined New Orleans Saints star wide receiver Michael Thomas as the only players to haul in 300 receptions in their first three seasons.
His 2,392 total scrimmage yards were not only a franchise record but also the third-highest single-season total in NFL history. McCaffrey filled it up every week with his production regardless of the outcome. However, there is something that he values much more than his performance on the field.
Christian McCaffrey holds 1 thing above his production
McCaffrey’s stellar 2019 season has put him on the map firmly in the conversation as arguably the best running back in the league. There were no more productive offensive skilled position players in the league.
Following the regular-season finale loss to the Saints, McCaffrey had a chance to take in the 2019 season in totality. He was quite appreciative of his performance, but nothing compares to winning games for him, according to David Newton of ESPN.
“At the end of the day, I think we learned as a Panthers organization, as a team … that the most important stat is winning,” McCaffrey said after the Panthers lost to the Saints 42-10 to finish the season 5-11. “We didn’t get that done this year. The individual statistics — obviously they’re great and cool and will be stuff you can look back on when you’re done and be proud of yourself.
“But we would love to get this thing fixed and fixed quick.”
That has been the mental approach that McCaffrey has displayed on numerous occasions throughout the season. He was quite somber after losses despite him putting up a strong outing. McCaffrey’s approach has always remained on the bigger picture, with the team’s success above his own.
That shifts greater importance on the Panthers, making the right moves over the offseason to push the team back in the right direction.
Panthers headed into crucial offseason
Carolina is going into another offseason after failing to secure a playoff berth with a chance to compete for the Super Bowl. The organization has some crucial questions to answer that begin at some prominent spots in the franchise.
The front office must find its next head coach after parting ways with Ron Rivera at the tail end of the regular season. That should see them conduct a thorough search to bring in a coach that will take the team to the next level in 2020 and beyond.
The Panthers also must decide whether star quarterback Cam Newton is still the long-term answer under center. Newton has moved through two injury-plagued seasons while he’s entering the final year of his five-year, $103.8 million deal. Once the franchise can get these two situations sorted out, then they can begin moving towards being a factor in the NFC playoff picture next season.