SPARTANBURG, S.C.  — The Carolina Panthers hope less means more for Christian McCaffrey in 2019.

Offensive coordinator Norv Turner wants to increase McCaffrey’s touches this season while reducing the number of plays he’s on the field after the running back racked up a franchise-record 1,965 yards from scrimmage.

“He told me he was going to give me the ball more and that’s music my ears. I got excited,” McCaffrey said.

The 23-year-old McCaffrey had 1,098 yards rushing on 219 carries and 867 yards receiving on 107 receptions in 2018 – the most ever in a single season by an NFL running back – and earned second-team All-Pro honors.

It came during a season where McCaffrey rarely left the field when the Panthers had the ball.

He played a ridiculous 91.3 percent of Carolina’s offensive snaps in 2018 despite playing only 10 snaps in a meaningless Week 17 game against the Saints.

That’s by far the most of any running back in the league. McCaffrey’s 965 offensive snaps outpaced the Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott (890), the Giants’ Saquon Barkley (853) and the Rams’ Todd Gurley (825).

But too often the Panthers felt McCaffrey was needlessly used as a decoy when he could have benefited from taking a few plays off and been fresher and even more explosive when he touched the football.

BROWNS: Coach Freddie Kitchens fired back at former offensive line coach Bob Wylie, who worked alongside him last season and said over the weekend that Kitchens received too much credit for Cleveland’s second-half turnaround.

“Bob doesn’t wear brown and orange anymore,” Kitchens said. “I had the opportunity to hire Bob. I did not want to.”

n Suspended Browns running back Kareem Hunt has promised to “lay low” following a recent argument outside a bar that led to police questioning and raised team concerns.

Hunt is barred by the NFL from Cleveland’s first eight games for two physical altercations while he played for the Kansas City Chiefs.

JETS-RAVENS TRADE: New York acquired offensive lineman Alex Lewis from the Baltimore Ravens for a conditional seventh-round pick in next year’s NFL draft.

TEXANS: J.J. Watt, Wisconsin native and childhood Packers fan, was in Green Bay for a Texans-Packers joint practice that he ultimately sat out. Players from both teams rode bikes with local kids to practice, a longtime Packers tradition.

And Watt’s enormous body ruined the bike he borrowed from a young Packers fan.

Watt replaced the bike for the child, and found a new one for himself, saying “that bike wasn’t equipped for a 290-pound man.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.