Jaguars must gameplan for stopping Christian McCaffrey
The Jacksonville Jaguars are well aware of what Christian McCaffrey can do to hurt their defense.
Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash didn’t mince words. Christian McCaffrey poses a tough challenge for his defense on Sunday, For four other NFL teams, the same has held true and the third-year running back has carved them up as well, running and catching the football.
This weekend, McCaffrey offers a unique opportunity for the Jaguars, trying to stop the run while stuffing the passing game along the way.
"“It’s a very unique challenge. We were talking earlier in the week, if he’s not the best, he’s one of the best players we’ve played against all year. I think [Panthers Offensive Coordinator] Coach [Norv] Turner does a really nice job of figuring out different ways to try to get miss-matches with him on linebackers,” Wash said on Thursday when he met with the media inside TIAA Bank Field.“You see safeties try to cover him, so he is something that obviously we have to know where he’s at, at all times on the field, and try to do some different things to try to take care of him, but he’s playing like an MVP candidate right now.”"
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McCaffrey’s dual-threat offense is a nightmare for anyone, but it might especially be tough given the Jaguars will play without cornerback Jalen Ramsey for the second week in a row. And since the Panthers will once again play without quarterback Cam Newton who is still dealing with a Lisfranc injury.
McCaffrey leads the NFL in rushing with 411 yards. Dalvin Cook of Minnesota is a yard behind at 410. And Leonard Fournette is a close third in the league with 404 yards on the ground. If you like a solid running attack and potential defensive matchups, this could be the one to watch. Whichever running back is able to find room to run should have the edge.
But it’s McCaffrey’s ability to catch to football downfield that should keep Wash and his staff up and night this week.
"“I’m not sure what we’re going to do yet. We have a lot of time before Sunday. We’ll figure it out as we go through the week.,” Wash added.“He can do everything. They’ve limited some personnel groupings and stuff as they’ve gone the last couple weeks, but I think he does a lot of his damage when he can get to the outside, bounce and use his athletic ability in space. He makes a lot of people miss, so for us once again, tackling in space and trying to get him covered in the pass game is going to be the issue for us this week.”"
Jaguars coach Doug Marrone was also impressed with what McCaffrey has done so far this season, and said the defense would need to concentrate on stopping him if the team had a chance to win on Sunday.
"“So he’s a very, very talented player, really can do a lot of things,” Marrone said on Wednesday. “They’re going to find ways to get him the football. We understand that and we just have to make sure that we have a lot of people around him, because he’s very difficult to bring down if there’s space one-on-one, and you can see that on the film. He’s a really good football player. He leads the league in rushing and leads the league in all-purpose yards, also.”"