Very few people know where Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey was on Thursday. Baker Mayfield, apparently, is not one of those people.
For the second consecutive day, McCaffrey was absent from the team’s practice in the lead-up to their Week 4 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals. The sixth-year veteran has gone down on the injury report with a thigh issue, one he sustained in this past Sunday’s 22-14 win over the New Orleans Saints.
As far as getting some answers to McCaffrey’s whereabouts, reporters swung and missed. Head coach Matt Rhule doesn’t speak on Thursdays, offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo declined comment and his quarterback, well, doesn’t seem so sure either.
“Nah,” Mayfield said when asked if he knows what’s up with McCaffrey. “He’s gone zero-dark thirty on us. Ya know? Just keeping us guessing.”
Mayfield, of course, was being a tad playful with his answer.
He wasn’t, though, playing around with what he prefaced that bit with. Mayfield believes, even without McCaffrey, that they have guys who’ll be ready to go if needed.
“We trust our guys to step up,” Mayfield said. “I mean, we have Chuba Hubbard and [D’Onta] Foreman back there and they’ve played a lot of ball. So expecting them to be able to take that place, to know the game plan, to execute. We trust those guys. Obviously, it changes a defense’s outlook on our offense—whether it’s bringing multiple guys to kinda take Christian away or loading up the box for the run game. So, we’ll see.”
That wait-and-see approach will likely continue throughout the weekend—as the Panthers and their fans brace for some potentially disheartening news.