Rivera concedes it's 'tough' to sit Christian McCaffrey

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The Carolina Panthers talked all offseason about curtailing Christian McCaffrey's snaps this season.

Yeah. Well, that's not happening.

If the release of Cameron Artis-Payne during final cuts didn't underscore that CMC will be an every-snap player once again, his usage in Week 1 certainly highlighted the fact in bold.

In Sunday's 30-27 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, McCaffrey played 100 percent of the Panthers' 67 snaps. In 2018 he played 91.3 percent of the team's snaps, by far the most by a running back.

After an offseason of discussing giving McCaffrey a few more breathers, coach Ron Rivera gave up on that plan for at least one week.

"It's tough to take him out," Rivera said of McCaffrey's workload, via the team's official website. "The young man doesn't want to come out. We have to think about certain things, but when he's playing the way he is you've got to keep the rhythm going."

Not only does CMC want to play every snap, and proven he can play every snap, the Panthers need him to play nearly every snap.

Sunday, McCaffrey led Carolina in both rushing and receiving, taking 19 carries for 128 yards and two TDs and 10 receptions for 81 yards. McCaffrey is just the second player in NFL history to catch 10-plus passes in a game in which he gained at least 125 yards and two TDs on the ground. The first was LaDainian Tomlinson, who ran for 220 yards and three TDs and caught 11 passes for the Chargers in an overtime win over the Broncos in 2002.

It marked McCaffrey's third career game with 100-plus rush yards and 10-plus receptions (most since 1950). He's the only player since 1950 with multiple such games in his career -- only 11 others have accomplished this once in their career.

Without CMC on the field, the Panthers' offense would be as timid as a kitten.

After the loss, tight end Greg Olsen was blunt: "Offensively as a group, outside of Christian, we have a lot of work to do."

#Truth.

The talk about working McCaffrey less sounded like an odd pipedream in the spring and looks even more so in early September. With Reggie Bonnafon and rookie Jordan Scarlett the only other backs on the roster -- neither saw an offensive snap Sunday -- CMC will continue to be the workhorse's workhorse in Carolina.

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