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CHARLOTTE Ramon Humber Jersey , N.C. (AP) — Cam Newton is welcoming the idea of sharing the spotlight in Carolina.

Newton has been the focal point of the Panthers’ offense for the past seven seasons, but that’s about to change — at least to some degree.

Sure, Newton will still be running the show and remain a dual-threat QB, but coach Ron Rivera has made it clear Christian McCaffrey will play a much larger role this season, saying that it would be “ideal” to get the second-year running back 25 to 30 touches per game.

That’s a lot.

McCaffrey averaged less than half that amount of touches as a rookie and still managed 1,086 yards from scrimmage and seven total touchdowns, so there’s potential for him to have a big season.

Most of McCaffrey’s production came as a receiver in 2017, where he set a franchise rookie record with 80 receptions and five TD catches. But after releasing all-time leading rusher Jonathan Stewart, the Panthers are eager to feature McCaffrey more in the running game — similar to how new Panthers offensive coordinator Norv Turner used LaDainian Tomlinson in San Diego.

“I could see Christian, especially if he continues to develop the way we think he can, being a very integral part of what we want to do,” Rivera said.

And it’s all part of the overall design to take some of the pressure off Newton, who led the team in rushing as well as passing last season.

One of the reasons Turner was brought in was to find new and creative ways to get McCaffrey the ball Odell Beckham Jr Jersey , particularly in open space where he’s difficult to tackle because of his speed and shiftiness.

McCaffrey has been featured extensively in the preseason, touching the ball 10 times for 51 yards on Carolina’s opening 16-play drive against the New England Patriots in the third preseason game.

Here are some other things to know about the Panthers:

CAM AND NORV

As for Newton, all eyes will be on how well he adapts to Turner’s offense.

Newton worked in a similar scheme with Turner understudy Rob Chudzinski early in his career, so there is some familiarity there.

But while Newton said he’s “extremely comfortable” with Turner, players say this system is more intricate than what former offensive coordinator Mike Shula ran.

Under Turner, Newton will be asked to look past his first and second options more often and take what the defense gives him, relying heavily on McCaffrey and new speedy receivers Jarius Wright, Torrey Smith and rookie D.J. Moore to make plays.

“That has to be my mentality,” Newton said. “We have a lot of guys who can take 2 yards and turn it into 20 yards, or more. But it starts with me and I have to trust those guys and get the ball to them.”

SPREADING IT AROUND

Rivera also wants to see Newton get back to doing the things that earned him the league MVP honor in 2015 and helped the Panthers reach the Super Bowl — spreading the ball around to his several different receivers.

He certainly has the options to do that with the additions at wide receiver and tight end Greg Olsen.

“Norv gets guys a lot of different guys in a lot of different places,” Wright said. “There are some quick throws here and there and he basically gives the quarterback places to go with the ball.”

REPLACING DAVIS

It is Shaq Thompson time in Carolina.

Thompson has been groomed for the past three seasons to take over for Thomas Davis at weakside linebacker. With Davis suspended four games to open the season for testing positive for a banned substance, Thompson gets his shot.

“Thomas is the leader of our room, he’s the leader of this team Cornellius Carradine Jersey ,” middle linebacker Luke Kuechly said. “We are going to miss having him around. Shaq will do an excellent job, but when Thomas gets back, he’s going to be hungry and he’s going to be fresh.”

ACTION JACKSON

The Panthers will be counting on second-round pick Donte Jackson to step in and start right away at cornerback.

Jackson is not big, but he was one of the fastest players in college football last season. He still struggles at times taking the correct angle on tackles, but the Panthers love his swagger and playmaking ability.

O-LINE INJURIES

Three starters on the offensive line went down with knee injuries during the preseason leaving the Panthers in a potentially precarious situation. Rivera said he’s not sure if 2017 All-Pro second-team right tackle Daryl Williams, left tackle Matt Kalil or left guard Amini Silatolu will be back on the field for Carolina’s Sept. 9 regular-season opener against Dallas.

Lonnie Walker IV has simple goals for his rookie season in the NBA.

Walker wants to work hard, do whatever Gregg Popovich asks of him, win and learn about the world outside of basketball.

The 6-foot-4 shooting guard out of Miami found the perfect landing spot with San Antonio and its veteran coach. The Spurs took Walker with the 18th overall pick in the NBA Draft on Thursday night.

”I feel like it’s just God’s message to put me in the right place with the right team,” Walker. ”It’s just time to work, time to prove everyone wrong and I know I’m in the right place at the right time to become something special.”

Walker was projected as a possible lottery selection, which is why the Spurs never worked out the 19-year-old from Reading, Pennsylvania.

”We had him ranked significantly higher,” San Antonio general manager R.C. Buford said. ”So Justin Coleman Jersey , to see the opportunity to have Lonnie available in the draft, that was exciting.”

San Antonio’s staff did interview Walker, discovering he was a good fit for a franchise that prides itself on defense and unselfishness. Walker was forced to play point guard when injuries hit Miami. He averaged 11.5 points in his lone season with the Hurricanes while shooting 35 percent on 3-pointers.

”If Coach Popovich needs me to dive on the floor strictly, then I’ll strictly dive on the floor. I’m going to do whatever it takes for us to get that win sooner rather than later, hopefully receive that championship,” he said.

The Spurs drafted Chimeze Metu, a 6-foot-11 center from USC, with the 49th overall pick in the second round. The native of Nigeria averaged 15.7 points and 7.4 rebounds as a junior for the Trojans.

”We added length and athleticism with both of our picks,” Buford said.

With uncertainty surrounding the future of Kawhi Leonard, who reportedly requested a trade, the Spurs opted to draft the athletic Walker and Metu. Walker will have to battle a crowded backcourt that includes Dejounte Murray, Danny Green, Patty Mills Vonn Bell Jersey , Bryn Forbes and Brandon Paul.

”I’m ready to get after it right now,” Walker said. ”If they wanted me to work out and practice right now, I’d do it. I’m ready to compete, and at the end of the of the day, I want to be the best. I’m addicted to being the best. I’m obsessed with being the next great. It’s time to be a dog, and it’s just that simple I’ve got something to prove.”

The Spurs are hoping Walker can team with Murray to form a young, athletic backcourt to help counter the tandems of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson in Golden State and Chris Paul and James Harden in Houston.

The Spurs remain optimistic they can persuade Leonard to remain, but the superstar forward reportedly wants to leave the only franchise he has played for. Leonard played in only nine games last season while battling a right leg injury. His absence along with injuries to Tony Parker, Rudy Gay, Pau Gasol, Kyle Anderson led to San Antonio’s worst season in two decades.

The Spurs finished seventh in the Western Conference at 47-35, snapping a streak of 18 consecutive seasons with 50 victories. San Antonio battled until the season’s final week to extend its streak of consecutive playoff appearances to 21 straight.

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