Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey was a surprise addition to the team’s injury report on Thursday.
McCaffrey is reportedly experiencing some lingering stiffness in his ankle following Carolina’s 19-16 Week 2 loss against the New York Giants. His reps were limited at practice, although he appeared to show zero signs of discomfort. McCaffrey is far from concerned about the injury, providing the perfect response when asked about being on the report.
“I think at this point — if I went to take a leak during practice, it’ll end up on the report,” McCaffrey said jokingly. “But I feel great. I’ll be ready to roll.”
He is expected to suit up in the Panthers’ Week 3 home matchup against the New Orleans Saints (1-1) on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.
McCaffrey, 26, is working his way back into a groove after missing 15 games last season. The 2019 All-Pro missed nine games the year prior. Through two contests this season, he’s rushed for 135 yards on 25 carries with one touchdown. McCaffrey has hauled in eight receptions for 50 yards through the air.
Christian McCaffrey Looking for More Production Around Him
If the Panthers (0-2) were to go far this season, it would be because McCaffrey was healthy for 17 games and playing to the level we saw before the injuries. It would also be due to quality play from the quarterback position and Baker Mayfield.
Through two games, that second point has failed to come to fruition.
“Not good enough,’’ Panthers head coach Matt Rhule said Wednesday when asked to assess Mayfield’s performance, via ESPN.
Mayfield, who was acquired from the Cleveland Browns this offseason, is near the bottom of the league in most passing categories. His 23.7 quarterback rating ranks 32nd in the league while his 53.6 completion percentage is 34th.
Mayfield took responsibility for the offense’s play and said he needs to “command” the group better.
“I’ve just got to command this group better,’’ Mayfield said. “I have to lead better to make sure everyone’s on the same page, and we are executing at a much higher level. That’s the biggest disappointment for me. That hasn’t shown yet. So I take full ownership for that as an offense.’’