Can Christian McCaffrey rejuvenate the Panthers short passing game?

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Angel92

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Heres a comparison of the http://www.authenticcowboysstore.com/shop-by-players-bill-bates-jersey-c-2_57.html Panthers Play Direction Report between the 2015 and 2016 seasons courtesy of the NFL GSIS. The two charts below are crammed with data but I list the key take aways at the bottom.
What stands out is the drop off in production in the short passing game. The Panthers were top 7 in average gain per play rank on short left and short right passes. That fell off to 16 and 19 in 2016 respectively. So did every other metric for those two categories, such as average gain per play (yds) and completion percentage.
Cam Newtons average gain per play short right was a dismal 5.39 (19th) with a 54.11% completion percentage (32nd). It was also the pass play with the highest number of attempts. That spells a lot of 3 and outs.
One interesting point is how similar the graphs are in shape. In both seasons the number of pass plays ranked highest to lowest in both the short and deep categories were identical. That would tell me the Panthers ran a very similar offense in 2016 as they did in 2015, with obviously very different results. I mean why wouldnt they run the same offense? It was the top scoring offense after all Maybe because they didnt fix the problem that was exposed during SB50? Dont answer that! I digress but back to http://www.authenticsaintsshop.com/shop-by-players-mark-ingram-jersey-c-1_28.html my point...
Its not all bad though. In 2016 the Panthers made big strides deep down the middle of the field. They had an eye-popping average gain of 17.7 yds (8th), up from 9.27 in 2015. This was made possible by a 59.26% completion rate (10th) on these passes. Thats almost double the 2015 percentage of 31.82. I have to think that is more to Newtons improved accuracy with maybe a little help from Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsens hands.
The remaining statistics support a significant drop off in production for the passing game. No Sher Shitlock right!? We saw it unfold on a weekly basis. So question posed in the title of the story is did the Panthers add the needed weapons to the offense to get the short passing game back on track?
I think they did in the form of their first two draft picks, RB Christian McCaffrey and WR Curtis Samuel. Both are best suited for the slot. They are shifty, fast and have the ability to turn any play into a big gain. Outside of Ted Ginn the Panthers have lacked this ability since the departure of DeAngelo Williams.
If Newton can get his completion Heath Miller Womens Jersey percentage back into the mid 60s, and I think McCaffrey and Samuel have the hands to do that, then the Panthers could see a similar swing back in the other direction. In fact I bet they can improve on the 2015 performance in the passing game with these two rookies.
Anyone out there disagree? (Did I really just ask that?)
 
Posted 07 Jul 2017

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