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Panthers' Christian McCaffrey Defends Teddy Bridgewater: 'Hell of a Quarterback'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 11, 2021

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey runs with the ball during an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

Christian McCaffrey isn't paying attention to the people who say the Carolina Panthers should pick a quarterback with the No. 8 overall selection. 

The superstar running back told USA Today's Mackenzie Salmon that he doesn't pay attention to mock drafts and that he's fully behind incumbent quarterback Teddy Bridgewater:

"Whoever is on our roster that's who we're rolling with. Right now Teddy is our quarterback and I think Teddy can play and he's a hell of a quarterback, so for us that's really what we're rolling with right now. We don't make those decisions. I'm not in charge of draft boards or free agency, or anything like that. For me it's focusing on one day at a time, doing the best I can to perform for my teammates and coaches." 

The 28-year-old Bridgewater had an up-and-down season in 2020, throwing for 3,733 yards, 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions while completing 69.1 percent of his passes. The Panthers went just 4-11 in his 15 starts, however, a disappointing record. 

While Bridgewater didn't play poorly, he didn't exactly light the world on fire after signing a three-year, $63 million contract with the Panthers ahead of the 2020 campaign. 

"I try not to focus on it," McCaffrey said of all the potential quarterback moves this offseason, after players like Carson Wentz, Matthew Stafford and Jared Goff already changed addresses. "But I know it's fun for the fans. It's cool to see different guys get different opportunities. For me it's about focusing on my lane and being ready for Sundays."

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Granted, the Panthers were also in the first year of Matt Rhule's tenure as head coach and head into their first offseason with Scott Fitterer as the general manager. The team also had McCaffrey for just three games last season because of injuries. 

That kept one of the most dynamic offensive playmakers in the NFL off the field. McCaffrey, 24, rushed for 1,387 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2019, adding 116 catches for 1,005 yards and another four scores. 

The Panthers have a tough task in the NFC South, dealing with the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the perennial contending New Orleans Saints. But McCaffrey believes his Panthers are up for the challenge, whoever the quarterback ends up being.

"I think... we can be a threat in the [NFC] South," he said.

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