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Ron Rivera envisions 200 carries for Christian McCaffrey


attends SiriusXM at Super Bowl LII Radio Row at the Mall of America on February 2, 2018 in Bloomington, Minnesota.

Cindy Ord

As a rookie last season, Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey had 117 carries for 435 yards and two touchdowns. This year the Panthers see McCaffrey getting a bigger workload.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera told he wouldn’t be surprised if McCaffrey reached 200 carries this season. That matches what Rivera said in June, when he said he’s looking forward to seeing McCaffrey run between the tackles more, as he did in college.

McCaffrey is looking bigger and stronger this offseason, which might help him carry a bigger load. Although C.J. Anderson has arrived and will take over some of the running workload, McCaffrey is likely to be the starting running back.

The 22-year-old McCaffrey also caught 80 passes and returned 22 punts and three kickoffs last season, so if he keeps up that production in the passing game and on special teams, he could be looking at a 300-touch season in 2018. That’s what the Panthers envisioned when they drafted McCaffrey, and that’s what they want to see this season.