Panthers to limit McCaffrey's snaps, not touches in '19

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  • By Logan Reardon NFL.com
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The Panthers are looking to limit their star running back in 2019, but not in a way that should concern fantasy owners.

Christian McCaffrey was on the field for a league-leading 91.3 percent of the Panthers' offensive snaps last season. In 2019, Carolina hopes to have him on the field less, but maintain his touches.

"The goal is to cut down on his plays, but we're not gonna take away his touches," head coach Ron Rivera said Wednesday, via The Athletic. "We want the ball in Christian's hands. When he's on the field, there's no reason for him to be a decoy or be a swing guy. So why not figure out the best thing? And that's what (offensive coordinator) Norv (Turner) wants to do."

While McCaffrey was on the field more than any other running back (965 snaps), he was third in touches (326) behind Ezekiel Elliott (381) and Saquon Barkley (352).

The 2017 first-rounder has noticeably put on extra pounds of muscle, even if he says he's only put on a few extra. Part of the reason for bulking up is the amount of snaps he played in 2018.

"I prepare so I can be in the whole game," McCaffrey said. "I felt great all last year. I felt great all offseason, and I feel really good right now.

"...The goal every offseason is just to get as fast as you can, stay healthy. I'm at the point now where I'm at the weight that I like," he said. "So from here on, it's just about staying healthy and continuing to be explosive."

The Panthers hope to help him accomplish those goals by limiting his time on the field, even if he still gets a similar amount of touches.

"He constantly tells me, 'Coach, if we play 1,000 plays, I want to play 1,000 plays.' He does not want to leave the field," Rivera said. "But for his own well-being as a football player, we have to be smart. We have to be judicious as to when he's gonna be out there."

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