When the Panthers selected Christian McCaffrey with the No. 8 overall pick in this year’s draft, coach Ron Rivera envisioned all the ways the former Valor Christian star could help one of the league’s most versatile quarterbacks.

“He’s going to take a lot of pressure off of (Cam Newton),” Rivera said. “I think doing some of the things that we want to do in terms of the matchups we can create with him – moving him around and watching how the defenses will react to him — it’s going to be a big thing that will really help our quarterback and help the rest of our offense.”

Rivera is steadily seeing those visions come to life. In scoring two touchdowns in a 45-21 victory over the Dolphins on Monday night, McCaffrey furthered emerged as the offensive weapon, particularly near the goal line, that has helped Newton inch closer toward his 2015 MVP form following a forgettable performance last season.

After failing to reach the end zone in his first four NFL games, McCaffrey has five combined touchdowns in his last six games. All five of McCaffrey’s touchdowns — two rushing, three receiving — have come on gains of six yards or less. While his huge returns and long runs at Stanford produced highlights worthy of a Heisman Trophy finalist, an ability to find cracks in a crowd deep in the red zone has defined an impressive rookie debut.

Take McCaffrey’s touchdown run in the second quarter Monday night that gave the Panthers a 10-0 lead. With the ball spotted at Miami’s 4-yard line, McCaffrey was lined up to Newton’s left in the shotgun formation. As Newton took a high snap, he sprinted for a couple steps to the right with McCaffrey on a read-option play. Once Newton let go of the ball, …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Sports

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