Predicting 49ers’ 2nd-half MVP (and why will it be Christian McCaffrey)

Christian McCaffrey #23 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Christian McCaffrey #23 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

Christian McCaffrey wasted no time fitting in with the San Francisco 49ers, and the presence of the talented running back can take the offense to new heights.

The San Francisco 49ers made a splash before the trade deadline when they sent a raft of draft picks to the Carolina Panthers for All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey, in a clear statement that the team was pushing the chips into the middle of the table to make the Super Bowl.

Fans could be forgiven for sensing some deja vu from last season, as an underwhelming 4-4 start to the season while being riddled with injuries is tinged with a sense of optimism for a run starting right now.

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Part of the optimism is simply because of McCaffrey, as head coach Kyle Shanahan schemed a masterclass for him in his second game for the 49ers (and his first game with the offense fully opened to him).

With McCaffrey as the new and shiniest toy in the Niners’ offense, the talented running back is poised to be the MVP for the post-bye run toward the playoffs.

Why Christian McCaffrey will be 49ers’ 2nd-half MVP:

With McCaffrey fitting in like a glove for San Francisco’s offense, Shanahan has had an extra week to find out how to get McCaffrey together with returning running back Elijah Mitchell.

Mitchell is very talented, and the idea of him and McCaffrey forming a potent tandem at the position gives the offense a fresh dynamic it’s been lacking even at its best under the Shanahan era.

With McCaffrey a receiving threat and Mitchell able to take a lot of the carries that could otherwise wear them down, Shanahan can scheme a much fresher McCaffrey into the offense.

The 49ers get the easiest test for this they could have hoped for when they face the Los Angeles Chargers after their bye week. The Chargers are exceptionally bad against the rush this year, ranking dead last in terms of yards per carry.

This is music to the Niners’ ears, who are at their best on offense when they’re able to trample the offense on the ground and open up the passing game.

McCaffrey (and Mitchell) figure to have huge games as they get to work on the Bolts defense.

And as the weeks roll on, Shanahan will have more time to integrate more designed plays for McCaffrey in the offense. We already know he can throw, run and catch the ball.

And as that rolls on, teams are going to find it harder and harder to stop him. If they clamp down too hard, the 49ers will simply use one of their other offensive stars.

In short, there’s no shortage of ways that Shanahan can utilize McCaffrey to his fullest, something that wasn’t necessarily done at Carolina and little that teams can do to stop him.

McCaffrey looks set to take the second half of the season by storm, if his body holds up there’s little that teams can do to stop them.

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