There is no question McCaffrey plays an important role in the Panthers offense. The rookie has been on the field for 69 percent of the Panthers O snaps this season, a percentage beaten only by Cam Newton (98), Ed Dickson (91) and Devin Funchess (78) among skill position players, per Next Gen Stats.
McCaffrey’s availability in the quick-passing game has helped Newton get the ball out this season and avoid hits. The rookie insists he’s comfortable in his role and not pressing to earn highlight-reel big plays.
We have had a lot of big plays, a lot of great plays, McCaffrey said. Sometimes a 1-yard gain on third-and-1 is a big play. People take that for granted. It might not be a 7-yard touchdown, but you’ve got to play winning football.
The Bengals looked different in their two wins before their bye, on the watch of new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. That shouldn’t be enough to overtake the Steelers in Heinz Field, except the Steelers have been on a rollercoaster the last two weeks, a wretched loss to the Jaguars followed by ending the Chiefs’ undefeated run. If the mood Ben Roethlisberger is in is positive, that should be good enough.
I said, ‘Tay, the one thing you haven’t done is talk to me,’ said Roethlisberger, who added he plans to talk to Bryant on Wednesday. ‘Come talk to me. How can I help you? Let’s figure out a way, a gameplan, that me, as a quarterback, I can talk to you, I can help you.’ … Let’s figure out this thing together, because he really is a good teammate.
Bryant said if the Steelers don’t trade him and the issue isn’t resolved, then he’ll just play next year out until his contract is fulfilled.
I feel like it’s going to come down to whether we make changes or not, whether they try to include me more or not, Bryant said. If they don’t try to include me more and continue to do the same thing, then I want out, period.