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Friday night in Las Vegas.

    • 370 posts
    August 9, 2018 1:09 pm IST
    Christian McCaffrey will have an even bigger role in the Panthers‘ offense this season.

    McCaffrey [url=]Cheap Baker Mayfield Jersey[/url] , 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 [url=]Chris Iannetta Colorado Rockies Jersey[/url] , 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 [url=]Josh Tomlin Cleveland Indians Jersey[/url] , 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.”

    Throwing out a blowout loss in the second-round series opener, the San Jose Sharks believe they’re getting closer to playing the way they want.

    With that mindset, a breakthrough in Game 4 against the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday night would change things dramatically.

    After splitting the first two games in Las Vegas, the Golden Knights regained the series lead with a 4-3 win in overtime on Monday at SAP Center. Center William Karlsson scored 8:17 into the extra session to complete his third straight multipoint contest.

    But Sharks coach Peter DeBoer likes how the team has played — especially after a 7-0 loss last Thursday.

    “I think we’re getting better every game,” he said Tuesday. “Game 1 [url=]Korey Toomer Color Rush Jersey[/url] , you throw it out, but I thought the last two games, we’re starting to really play well. We’re getting a feel for what we need to do.”

    What San Jose needs to do is continue to get more pucks past Marc-Andre Fleury. He finished with 39 saves Monday, but none bigger than a glove grab of Logan Couture’s shot from the slot early in overtime.

    The three-time Stanley Cup winner is 6-1 with a 1.23 goals-against average and three shutouts during this postseason.

    “He’s not going anywhere,” DeBoer noted. “We’re not the first team he’s done it to, so you’ve got to stick with it, but the good news is we’re getting better. We’re starting to put some pucks in the net.”

    Since being blanked, San Jose scored seven goals in its last two games. So has Vegas.

    “They’re a really good team [url=]Tracy Walker Color Rush Jersey[/url] , too,” DeBoer said. “They’ve got some high-end guys who are really opportunistic. When they get chances, they stick them in the net.”

    That includes Karlsson, winger Reilly Smith and center Jonathan Marchessault, who have combined for seven goals and 19 assists during these playoffs.

    Karlsson scored all nine of his postseason points — four goals and five assists — in a five-game streak, while Smith (goal, eight assists) has collected all of his points in a six-game run.

    San Jose is aware that to have a better chance of tying the series, better discipline is needed. Trailing 1-0 in the second period Monday [url=]Leighton Vander Esch Color Rush Jersey[/url] , the Golden Knights beat Martin Jones (1-2 with a 4.07 GAA in the series) with two straight power-play goals.

    Vegas is 5-for-18 with the man advantage in this series after going 1-for-12 in a four-game sweep of the Los Angeles Kings in the first round.

    How would Sharks captain Joe Pavelski combat that special teams success?

    “It’s staying out of the box a little bit and the simple penalties — the pucks over the glass, too many men,” he said. “I expect the guys will be ready. They’ll be ready to try and even this series out and it’s an important game for us, for sure.”

    Fleury also preached the need to remain calm.

    “It’s about staying disciplined during the game and having a full 60-minute effort so that we can play the way we want to play,” he said.

    Game 5 is scheduled for Friday night in Las Vegas.


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