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RB Christian McCaffrey - Carolina Panthers

5-11, 202Born: 6-7-1996College: StanfordDrafted: Round 1, pick 8

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News you need to know

General News (Wed Jan 24): "had an unbelievable rookie year and did a lot more than that a lot of people would be asked to do and handled (it) all," offensive coordinator Norv Turner said.

Week 21: bye week

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Recent Stats and Projections

17 at ATL 52 6 14 0 8 5 40 0 0 5.4
18 at NO 59 6 16 0 8 6 101 1 0 17.7

Recent Game Summaries

2017 Week 18 vs NO (6 / 16 / 0 rush, 8 / 6 / 101 / 1 rec)

Like backfield mate Jonathan Stewart, it was a difficult day for Christian McCaffrey. Nevertheless, after getting involved in the passing attack early and often with simple check downs and passes over the middle against the Saints' zone coverage, he broke a long one. Running a fantastic option route that left the defender for dead, McCaffrey scooted inside after a well-timed Newton pass, split a couple of defenders and scored on a 56-yard play. McCaffrey was later the target of an end zone pass to potentially win the game, but it was too far out in front for him.

2017 Week 17 vs ATL (6 / 14 / 0 rush, 8 / 5 / 40 / 0 rec)

The Christian McCaffrey Show came to a shuddering halt against the Falcons, as the offense struggled to establish anything. McCaffrey got into a rhythm early with some inside runs, but the Panthers moved away from the ground game early on and he got few opportunities as a runner as the game wore on. As a receiver, it wasn't his best day; he allowed a simple catch in the flat to get away from him, fumbling it out of bounds uncharacteristically. A clearly irate McCaffrey showed some life towards the end of the game, but mostly he was the recipient of dump-offs with the Falcons defending the lead.

2017 Week 16 vs TB (9 / 39 / 0 rush, 4 / 2 / 19 / 0 rec)

Christian McCaffrey did all he could to provide the offense with some life as the passing attack struggled. As a runner and receiver, the pint-sized pocket rocket was lively early with solid carries between the tackles, mostly out of the shotgun. On several occasions he seemed one ankle tackle away from breaking a long touchdown run. McCaffrey did an excellent job making something out of nothing on a toss play. He was also giving the Buccaneers fits as a receiver, running crisp routes and layering his routes to an extent that they had no idea when he would make his break. Lining up out wide on one snap, McCaffrey did an excellent job to commit the defensive back to the boundary, before cutting back underneath on a quick slant. It was yet another solid all-around display from the rookie, who shows no signs of hitting the proverbial rookie wall.

2017 Week 15 vs GB (12 / 63 / 0 rush, 7 / 6 / 73 / 1 rec)

It proved be a very productive day for Christian McCaffrey, who has grown into his rookie season bit by bit. The Panthers fed him the ball constantly on the opening drive, lining him up all over the field, peppering him with passes and giving him carries. He showed a penchant for pressing and cutting in the ground game, as his offensive line did a fantastic job blowing open holes. He used his elite quickness to bamboozle defenders on a series of third down conversions, including one where he was lined up as the Z receiver and won at the catch point against a defensive back. McCaffrey finished the opening drive with a touchdown catch after running a quick Texas route in the red zone. Cam Newton found him for an easy pitch and catch score. He got fewer touches later in the game, as Newton continued to spread the ball around - but he made his presence felt.

2017 Week 14 vs MIN (8 / 35 / 0 rush, 4 / 3 / 18 / 0 rec)

It was an uncharacteristically quiet outing for Christian McCaffrey when compared to recent games, but he played his part as usual. An early pass into the flat saw him draw a facemask penalty to keep a drive alive. A beautiful cut saw him make safety Harrison Smith miss the tackle in the flat before turning it up the field for a first down. As a runner, he showed good patience against a disciplined Vikings front, taking what was given. In the final stages, a high Cam Newton pass caromed off McCaffrey's outstretched hands on a simple route over the middle, resulting in an interception. The blame rests more on the quarterback, but the ball made contact with the rookie's hands.

2017 Week 13 vs NO (6 / 16 / 0 rush, 6 / 5 / 33 / 1 rec)

Yet again McCaffrey saw a strong share of snaps as Carolina fell behind early in New Orleans. McCaffrey struggled as a runner, a common occurrence this season, as he did not elude initial defenders on the interior or to the edge. McCaffrey has less than 25 rushing yards in 9-of-12 games this season and more than eight carries in only two contests. As a receiver, McCaffrey was active with six targets, but most of his production through the air came on a single catch. McCaffrey came wide open in the flat en route to an easy 21-yard touchdown. On his other five catches, McCaffrey logged only 12 yards. McCaffrey did show his explosiveness hurdling a defender late in the game after being stuffed on a shovel pass, screen, and well in front of the sticks on third-and-long among his other catches. Including this week, McCaffrey has shown less dynamic movement thus far in his rookie season to make the first defender miss, excel in the open field, or succeed in traditional running back concepts. The Vikings defense offers a tough test next week.

2017 Week 12 vs NYJ (7 / 62 / 0 rush, 5 / 2 / 35 / 0 rec)

Christian McCaffrey was once again a jack of all trades against the Jets, excelling as a runner and receiver. Unfortunately, at times it was the inaccuracy of Cam Newton that prevented McCaffrey from getting valuable opportunities. The diminutive back converted a key fourth down early with a quick out into the flat and looked good running the ball as he was mixed in from time to time. He was unfortunate to be tackled just short of the goal line on two occasions during the game. McCaffrey showed excellent patience at the line of scrimmage on his biggest run of the day, waiting for a crease before hitting it decisively. He weaved a few times in an attempt to make a defender miss, allowing the Jets to chase him down. Newton missed McCaffrey on a couple of occasions on simple passes that in both instances would have resulted in first downs.

2017 Week 10 vs MIA (5 / 23 / 1 rush, 7 / 3 / 27 / 1 rec)

While the yardage totals were not eye-popping for Christian McCaffrey, his impact was once again felt. The spry rookie showed off his incredible shiftiness in space on the Panthers' first third down, juking Kiko Alonso out of his shoes on a quick pass into the left flat. McCaffrey would repeat the feat on his rushing touchdown in the red zone. The Panthers ran a veer, with Cam Newton putting the ball into McCaffrey's belly as he came across the formation left to right. Newton pulled the ball after making the correct read, allowing McCaffrey to make a man miss and score. McCaffrey would add a second touchdown in the red zone, this time with an incredible catch near the pylon. Put in motion to the slot right, McCaffrey ran a quick out and continued to move with Newton, who had begun to roll right. Newton fired a pass low for McCaffrey to haul in, and the rookie had the presence of mind to put both knees down in bounds while making the grab.

2017 Week 9 vs ATL (15 / 66 / 1 rush, 6 / 5 / 28 / 0 rec)

In what was clearly Christian McCaffrey's breakout performance as a Panther, the rookie looked quick, shifty and borderline unstoppable at times. It was a case of Jonathan Stewart's loss being McCaffrey's gain, as it turned out. A pair of lost fumbles by the veteran saw the Panthers hand the backfield to McCaffrey for the remainder of the game, and the rookie grabbed his opportunity with both hands. On the ground, he regularly made tacklers miss and showed a willingness to stay patient and let his blocks develop before shooting through a gap. It was vintage McCaffrey from Stanford - only on an NFL field. His comfort level was obviously high, as he routinely made tacklers miss and consistently gained positive yardage. As a receiver he showed his polished route-running skills in key situations, making a huge catch on third down in the red zone. He would follow that up with a rushing touchdown on an option pitch, as Cam Newton faked the inside give to Stewart before a quick toss out to the rookie. McCaffrey was used all over the formation in a variety of ways - and Atlanta, quite frankly, didn't have an answer on this day.

2017 Week 8 vs TB (4 / 3 / 0 rush, 7 / 5 / 49 / 0 rec)

The elusive Christian McCaffrey thrived as a receiver against the Buccaneers, showing excellent quickness and burst as a route runner. As a runner, he had less success. An early carry on a jet sweep saw him tackled immediately, although it appeared he stopped his feet on the play and didn't trust his speed to reach the sideline. McCaffrey and Cam Newton showed great chemistry in the two-minute drill, as the shifty back routinely beat Tampa Bay defenders on underneath routes. McCaffrey's usage continues to indicate the Panthers view him more as a pass catching dual threat than a running back that happens to catch passes.

2017 Week 7 vs CHI (7 / 10 / 0 rush, 9 / 7 / 36 / 0 rec)

The most interesting note about Christian McCaffrey's day may have been his increased usage on first and second down, more obvious running situations. The Panthers made a concerted effort to get him touches all over the formation, but the deficit in the second half forced a rethink. Eventually McCaffrey was deployed in his usual 'satellite back' role and he thrived, bailing his quarterback out with a nice adjustment on a broken play. On another play, a high pass in the right flat was hauled in one-handed by McCaffrey, who gracefully sailed into the air and controlled it between his index finger and thumb. McCaffrey was left wanting on some pass protection snaps, missing blocks and in general forcing Newton into a quick throw.

2017 Week 6 vs PHI (4 / 8 / 0 rush, 14 / 10 / 56 / 1 rec)

The ground game continued a worrying trend as the offensive line failed to blow open holes against Philadelphia's front seven, forcing Christian McCaffrey to become a de facto receiver. Taking to it like a duck to water, the rookie got involved early with a series of quick screen passes designed to mitigate the Eagles pass rush. Cam Newton peppered McCaffrey with dump off passes, but he was unable to break away due to solid Eagles tackling. McCaffrey was unfortunate not to get into the end zone on a quick pass into the flat versus the blitz. A great hustle play by Nigel Bradham took down a lunging McCaffrey, who was ruled about two yards shy. However, McCaffrey was able to find pay dirt in the fourth quarter. Lined up in a two-receiver set on the left side of the formation from the Eagles 1-yard line, McCaffrey juked a defender out of his shoes with a quick inside-out cut, giving Newton an easy pitch and catch for the score. It looked like an option route and it was executed to perfection. McCaffrey was relied on in the final moments, converting a fourth down play after scooting down the sideline for a huge gain on the previous third-and-long situation. It was a solid game from the rookie, who seems to thrive when the Panthers are playing from behind.

2017 Week 5 vs DET (3 / 7 / 0 rush, 7 / 5 / 31 / 1 rec)

As it was against New England last week, the Carolina rushing attack struggled to establish itself. The Lions front seven played a big part in this, and Christian McCaffrey found little room to roam on the ground. On the plays he did touch the ball, however, he showed his usual shiftiness and soft hands. Featured often, it was usually Jonathan Stewart who got the bulk of the traditional running back workload. McCaffrey was unable to find much joy on screen passes, but the offense went to him more as the game progressed. McCaffrey finally scored his first professional touchdown on a well-designed play in the red zone. Cam Newton took the snap and had Stewart to his left ready to receive the pitch in an option look, but McCaffrey was sneaking across the line of scrimmage right to left. With the linebackers frozen and waiting for the option, Newton tossed it to McCaffrey on a shovel pass, and he had an easy walk-in score.

2017 Week 4 vs NE (6 / 16 / 0 rush, 6 / 4 / 33 / 0 rec)

It proved to be a quiet day statistically for Christian McCaffrey, but numbers do not do his impact justice in this game. The Panthers continued to motion the speedy back pre-snap and lined him up all over the formation, giving the Patriots defense more to think about. Fozzy Whittaker was able to get into the end zone on a well-designed screen pass, but McCaffrey's motion - and the fake screen to him - was what drew the Patriots defenders in. McCaffrey showed good maturity on his carries, taking what the defense gave him. If the Patriots did one thing well, it was sealing off running lanes quickly and forcing both he and Jonathan Stewart to bounce it outside. McCaffrey showed excellent leg drive and power on several touches, playing with a ferocity and attitude he hasn't shown in his first three professional outings. McCaffrey made a beautiful hands catch on a Texas route in the red zone, setting up the defender with a stabbed foot to the outside, before darting back inside. McCaffrey's impact - with and without the football - continues to be felt.

2017 Week 3 vs NO (4 / 16 / 0 rush, 11 / 9 / 101 / 0 rec)

If there was one bright spot for the Panthers' stagnant offense against the Saints, it came in the form of Christian McCaffrey. The rookie showed why the Panthers drafted him and thought of him so highly with a polished performance mostly as a weapon out of the backfield. The Stanford product was quick and twitchy throughout, showing excellent feel for finding space in zones and catching everything thrown his way. There was a clear emphasis to get him involved from the beginning of the game, with the first few plays featuring him heavily. The Panthers use the jet sweep motion effectively to get McCaffrey the ball in space and to set up a screen to him. As a runner, he did well to bounce off contact and find the hole and looked to finish runs aggressively. His biggest play came on a beautiful route down the left sideline; he made a catch over his head and, thinking he had not been touched down, continued to run downfield to the Saints five-yard line. The play was called back, but it was an explosive play for an offense that badly needed it. McCaffrey was unfortunate not to get into the end zone at one point. A red zone check down saw him juke past a pair of Saints before being tackled at the three-yard line. The undoubted engine of the offense, McCaffrey may be seeing more game scripts like this if the Panthers defense struggles.

2017 Week 2 vs BUF (8 / 10 / 0 rush, 5 / 4 / 34 / 0 rec)

The Bills may have struggled to contain the Panthers' passing attack at times, but their front seven handled things up front against the run. It meant tough sledding at times for Jonathan Stewart and Christian McCaffrey, who were often met in the backfield or for minimal gains. McCaffrey looked hesitant to hit the hole at times, stopping his feet and waiting for a crease that would never materialise. At times he and Stewart featured in the same backfield as they did in Week 1. A wildcat play with McCaffrey taking the snap and tossing the ball to Stewart was quickly snuffed out, however. It was in the passing game that McCaffrey excelled, consistently showing good footwork to make the first defender miss. McCaffrey made a terrific leaping catch over a covering defender in the second half, veering into the flat on a wheel route before attacking the football at its highest point and leaving the defender in no man's land. McCaffrey should have notched his first NFL touchdown were it not for a poor miss by Cam Newton in the red zone. The rookie's route in the flat saw him break wide open, but Newton was unable to complete the simple pass and threw it too high for the diminutive McCaffrey to haul in.

2017 Week 1 vs SF (13 / 47 / 0 rush, 7 / 5 / 38 / 0 rec)

Statistically, the big unveil of the eighth overall pick Christian McCaffrey may have left some disappointed. Dig deeper, however, and his debut had much more positives than negatives. The Panthers made it an emphasis to get the ball into McCaffrey's hands early and often, using him as a wildcat quarterback, in the slot, out wide and as a conventional back. Even when McCaffrey wasn't touching the ball, his presence was attracting defensive attention, opening up room for other players to prosper. He and Jonathan Stewart often shared the backfield at times, with a fake jet sweep to McCaffrey opening up a lane for Stewart to run through. At times McCaffrey tried to do too much and didn't trust his instincts. One play in particular saw him stutter and hesitate a little too much before making a cut upfield, allowing the pursuit to close and tackle him. He proved his worth as a pass catcher, giving Cam Newton an easy option on some dump off passes and turning them up the field for nice gains. As a runner, he and Stewart found it tough sledding against the 49ers front seven, but McCaffrey ripped off some nice game-killing first down runs at the end of the contest. The only blotch on his score card on what was otherwise a fine debut was his fumble. After being handed the football, McCaffrey was quickly stoned in the backfield. He managed to spin off the contact and ran laterally to get outside the pursuit. Despite having two hands on the ball, however, two 49ers defenders converged on him and the hit popped the ball loose. To his credit, he responded well to finish the game and looks to be a central figure if this game is anything to go by.


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