No. 1 on the list? The iPad, because football is the “love of my life” and McCaffrey likes being able to watch film anytime, anywhere with the portable device.
Now the question is whether the Panthers can live without McCaffrey, who suffered an ankle injury early in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 31-17 loss at Tampa Bay and did not return. He’s expected to be out for “multiple weeks.”
Davis, 27, was signed by general manager Marty Hurney in November after being cut by Chicago. He had only two rushes for 2 yards last season as the former staff under coach Ron Rivera liked Reggie Bonnafon as the backup to McCaffrey, who played almost 94% of the snaps.
New coach Rhule has been high on Davis, though, saying the 2015 fourth-round pick out of South Carolina had one of the best training camps of anybody. As recently as last week, after McCaffrey played 97% of the snaps in the opener, Rhule said he wanted to get Davis more playing time.
That might be a given with McCaffrey set to miss a game for the first time since being selected with the eighth pick of the 2017 draft.
Davis is capable. He has 10 career starts, including six for Seattle in 2017, when he rushed for 240 yards on 68 carries and caught 15 passes for 131 yards.
His most productive NFL season came the next year when, primarily as a backup, he rushed for 514 yards and four touchdowns and caught 34 passes for 214 yards and a touchdown.
What Davis isn’t is McCaffrey, who last season became the third player in NFL history to record 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in the same season. McCaffrey is arguably the best dual-threat back in the league. He’s also an accomplished blocker and a team captain, one who sets the tone for the offense.
There’s a reason the Panthers gave McCaffrey a four-year, $64 million extension that made him the highest-paid running back in the league with an average of $16 million a year.
“It’s always tough when you don’t have one of your best players on the field,” quarterback Teddy Bridgewater said. “Mike Davis did a great job coming out of the backfield and catching the ball for us. … It was good just to see Mike make some plays, but whenever one of your best players isn’t out there, it’s unfortunate.”
Davis caught all eight of his targets for 74 yards, and ran only one time, for 1 yard. Without a threat in the running game, more pressure will come at Bridgewater, who was pressured into four turnovers by the Bucs.
“We know he is a good player,” Rhule said of Davis. “I thought he caught the ball and turned up and made some good plays. It looked like he blocked well. He missed one on the one sack, but he was a threat coming out of the backfield.
“We will wait to see what happens with Christian. I’m really hopeful he is out there, but Mike is a good player and we know we can count on him.”