After placing All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey on injured reserve this week with a high ankle sprain, the Carolina Panthers will lean on a veteran backup — sixth-year pro Mike Davis.
The 0-2 Panthers enter their Week 3 matchup at the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, Sept. 27 (4:05 p.m. start), ranked ninth in the NFL in total offense at 407.5 yards per game. McCaffrey is a big part of that offense. McCaffrey leads the NFL in scoring with 24 points, and averages more than half of his team’s 23.5 points per game.
The 24-year-old McCaffrey is expected to miss at least three weeks, according to ProFootballRumors.com.
Davis, 27, will replace McCaffrey in the lineup. In last week’s loss at Tampa Bay, Davis caught eight passes for 74 yards with a long of 22.
Davis has a low center of gravity at 5-foot-9 and 221 pounds. His most productive season was for Seattle in 2018, when he rushed for 514 yards and four touchdowns while averaging 4.6 yards per carry.
Behind Davis is Trenton Cannon (5-11, 185), a third-year player who was picked up off waivers after being cut by the Jets in the preseason. Reggie Bonnafon, who was McCaffrey’s backup in 2019, has started the season on the practice squad and could be promoted to the active roster.
Bridgewater’s roleCarolina could use a breakout game for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who was signed to a three-year, $45 million contract with a $15 million signing bonus in the offseason, according to overthecap.com.
Bridgewater, 28, completed 78.6% of his passes (33-of-42) at Tampa Bay, and threw for 367 yards, but he turned the ball over three times and didn’t have a TD pass in the 31-17 loss.
DJ Moore, Carolina’s first-round pick in 2018, caught eight passes for 120 yards at Tampa Bay. In 33 career games, Moore has 2,137 yards and averages 13.9 yards per catch.
Moore, 23, stood out in his second year, catching 87 passes for 1,175 yards in 15 games.
Robby Anderson, 27, has been Bridgewater’s top target in 2020, catching 15 passes for 223 yards and one TD.
Defensive leadersRookie second round pick Jeremy Chinn leads Carolina with 15 total tackles. The 6-foot-3, 221-pound Chinn can play safety or outside linebacker. He has played 99% of Carolina’s defensive stats and 32% of the special teams snaps, according to profootballreference.com.
Carolina signed cornerback Rasul Douglas after he was cut by the Giants and the 25-year-old leads the team in pass breakups (two) and also has a tackle for loss among his eight tackles. Douglas has good size at 6-2 and 209 pounds. He has earned a starting job opposite Donte Jackson.