Training Camp Q&A: Yes, Christian McCaffrey believes he's an elite back


On pass protection: "You know, it's definitely one of the main emphasis, especially at the running back position. You've got so many guys nowadays at the league that are so good at rushing the passer, so that's the firsts thing a lot of coaches look at and I know it's a main emphasis with Coach (Jake) Peetz, with Norv (Turner), with Coach (Ron) Rivera. It's something we strive to get better at every day."

On working on pass protection: "We do drills every day. Coach Peetz has an array of drills that are really good. Always working on our punch, working on sitting our hips. And I think the best thing is just doing one on one pass pro drills with the linebackers. That's one of the tougher drills you can do and having really good players on our defense helps too. So, just competing and going against those guys definitely helps."

On offseason weight goals: "Well, the goal is, I think, every offseason just to get as fast as you can, stay healthy. I'm at the point now where I'm at a weight that I like, so from here on it's just staying healthy and continuing to be explosive."

On adding muscle: (Laughs) "Why is that always the topic? I mean I just train pretty hard in the offseason. It was good to get a full offseason this year. You know, just working really hard. I'm still growing, I'm 23 years old. Came into the league, I was pretty young and underdeveloped. Always trying to get stronger, faster, do all the things you've got do to prepare your body to take a bunch of reps during the games."

On last year's workload: "I prepare so that I can be in the whole game. I felt great all last year, felt great all offseason, and I feel really good right now."

On working/preparing with Cam Newton: "It's been great. I wouldn't say it's different. Just a lot of the same stuff. Experience, there's nothing like it. And being able to continue to watch film with him, being able to continue to pick his brain on stuff and watch certain defenses has been awesome. That's something I love to do, and I know he does too. So, it's been a lot of fun."

On Cam Newton learning to trust the playmakers: "Yeah, I mean he's always been that way. I don't think he's changed at all, and we're not going to ask him to change. He's a heck of a competitor, he works his butt off, and he approaches everything very seriously as well. So, we just let him continue to be him."

On talking to Norv Turner about his comments on his touches: "Not at all, man. He told me he was going to give me the ball more. That's music to my ears, so I got excited."

On his relationship with Matt Paradis: "Yeah, it's been great. He's obviously been there, done that. He's a heck of a leader, very smart, great on the calls. When you lose a guy like Ryan (Kalil), it's always tough. He was one of the best guys, best football players I've ever been around in my life. So, Matt's done an unbelievable job carrying the load and coming in right away, getting all the calls right. Obviously, he's a heck of a player, so it's been a lot of fun getting to know him, getting to develop with him, and we're really excited he's here."

On balancing many touches and a long NFL career: "I think you've just got to do a great job taking care of your body and being smart with it. Our coaches do such a great job being smart with all of us. It's trusting my coaches and doing everything possible in the offseason and when we get done in times like this to just take care of my body."

On the toll of receptions and carries: "I don't really think about it. It is what it is. I want the ball however I can get it, and that's the way I've always been. We've got so many dynamic football players on this team that at the end of the day, my job is to play football and not be concerned about touches or... I just want to win. Whether I get 6 touches or 40 touches, if we win, I'm happy."

On Curtis Samuel: "Curtis' been great. And he's had a heck of a camp. Watching him improve is amazing. Obviously, he's got foot speed that's rare; not just in the league, I'd say in the world. Being able to watch him really use his skills well and learn and develop has been a lot of fun. So, I'm excited for him this year."

On the front seven rotating: "Yeah, I mean our front seven's stacked. It definitely is a lot of force to be reckoned with in practice. When you've got so many different names in the front seven that you're going against every day, I'm just excited that we don't have to go against them on Sundays because they really are a special group that play well together. a lot of high energy, obviously great football players. So, it will be fun to watch this year."

On Gerald McCoy: "Yeah, I think you go down that list and you've got so many leaders. You know, obviously, Gerald's been there done that. You look at a guy like Kawann Short too who's been in the league and had just as much success as anybody. You know Dontari Poe has been there, Mario Addison has had 10-sack seasons. You just go down the list. Obviously, we've got a great rookie in Brian (Burns), so I think when you look at the list, and you get Bruce Irvin too, who's won Super Bowls and obviously is a heck of a player, there's so much veteran leadership at every single position. And when you have that, it's fun because you know that guys know how to be. And for a defense, you need that."

On if he considers himself an elite back: "Yes."

On passing along veteran advice to young backs: "Well, they're great players and they're great learners too. They ask a lot of questions, they're attentive during meetings. They do such a good job during practice too. So for me, it's just whenever they have questions, I'll answer them or show them a little thing here and there. But the running back position is such an instinctive position, and those guys have great instincts, they've had a lot of success. You can't overcoach the position. So, a lot of it you just let them go out there and play, and if you see something specific, you'll let them know. But those guys do such a good job, and they're going to be really good football players."

View photos from the sixth day of practice at Panthers camp.

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