Christian McCaffrey will have an even bigger role in the Panthers' offense this season.

McCaffrey Youth Jordan Weal Jersey , the team's first-round draft pick in 2017, carried the ball 117 times for 435 yards and established a franchise rookie record with 80 receptions. He finished the season with seven touchdowns.

While McCaffrey led the Panthers in receptions, he'll be counted on to carry the ball more after the team parted ways with its all-time leading rusher Jonathan Stewart. Panthers two-time NFL Coach of the Year Ron Rivera believes McCaffrey is up to the task, saying he can be a running back who carries the ball 200 times this season.

McCaffrey's durability has been questioned at times because his body build is more akin to a scat back than a power back.

He averaged just 3.7 yards per carry in 2017.

"Yeah, why not?" Rivera said of the prospect of a 200-carry season. "Everybody forgets that when he was (at Stanford) he carried the ball between the tackles more than anybody and touched the ball more than anybody. I don't see why not."

McCaffrey is all for it.

"Obviously anybody on the team wants the ball as much as possible," McCaffrey said. "That is football. You should want to compete. But we are here to win football games, so whatever that means and whatever that takes we're going to do."

McCaffrey, the son of three-time Super Bowl champion wide receiver Ed McCaffrey Matt Calvert Jersey , likes what he's seen so far from new offensive coordinator Norv Turner, who has taken over for Mike Shula.

He feels "a lot more comfortable" in his second year with the Panthers, even though he's learning a new offensive scheme. But he wouldn't discuss what will be different about his workload this year or in what different ways he will be used under Turner for competitive reasons.

"However they want to use me, that is where I will be," McCaffrey said. "I think we have a lot of great talent and a lot of different weapons."

He won't be carrying the entire load in the backfield, of course.

The Panthers added depth at running back signing 2017 1,000-yard rusher C.J. Anderson, who played in Denver and helped the Broncos beat Carolina in the Super Bowl in 2015. Carolina is also expecting some added help from Cameron Artis-Payne and Kenjon Barner.

And don't forget Jeff Skinner Jersey , it was quarterback Cam Newton who led the team with 754 yards rushing and six touchdowns last season.

The 21-year-old McCaffrey enters the season with a new perspective after a "traumatic experience" earlier this summer.

McCaffrey, his brothers and some friends were in Colorado when they saw an elderly man fall off a cliff while hiking with his 13-year-old grandson. McCaffrey called 911 and one of his friends administered chest compressions.

McCaffrey said paramedics arrived at the scene in about 11 minutes. The 72-year-old Dan Smoker Sr. survived the fall and McCaffrey has developed a friendship with him and his family. He even plans to invite the Smokers to a Panthers home game this season.

"When you see something like that, you have a better appreciation for life and take every moment in," McCaffrey said. "We had a decompression moment after that. You look at life and realize it can be gone in any split second."

Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones is skipping OTAs, while he waits for a new contract.

And he’s likely to miss the rest of them, as well.

According to聽D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Falcons coach Dan Quinn said he didn’t expect his star wide receiver back with the team until their mandatory minicamp in June.

鈥淚 know the topic of Mr. Julio Jones is on a number of people鈥檚 mind,鈥?Quinn said. 鈥淚 want to let you know that Julio and I speak regularly. I was fully aware that he wasn鈥檛 going to be here for the start of the offseason program and I was also aware that he wasn鈥檛 going to be here this past Monday.鈥?/p>

Mr. Jones is going to be able to buy a lot of top hats when he eventually gets his new deal Tyler Johnson Jersey , as the receiver market has exploded this offseason and he’s better than any of the guys who have benefitted from it lately.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank said yesterday that things were “fine” and that it was just “a process we have to go through.”

Jones has three years left on his previous five-year, $71.2 million deal, and is the eight-highest-paid receiver in the league.

鈥淚 think like at this time of year as business grows around the NFL, I think that鈥檚 pretty common for a lot of players, to discuss that and wonder where that鈥檚 at,鈥?Quinn said. 鈥淭hat鈥檚 something that he and I discussed together, but as far like anything past that, unless you guys have spoken to Julio Colton Sissons Jersey , individually or specifically, I think past that, it would be a lot of speculation.鈥?/p>

He’s not the only one lining up at the window, as deals for wideouts including Odell Beckham Jr., DeAndre Hopkins and A.J. Green are on the horizon. And given Jones’ production and conditioning over the years, they’re not overly concerned at the moment, with Quinn noting that quarterback Matt Ryan and Julio Jones have gotten together to work out in Atlanta and Alabama this offseason.

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