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McCaffrey offers blunt response to critics of his 49ers usage

McCaffrey offers blunt response to critics of his 49ers usage originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

As 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan tries to strike the right balance for Christian McCaffrey’s usage, the star running back recently made his opinion on the matter clear.

“I just respectfully say no,” McCaffrey told KNBR’s “Murph and Mac” show Tuesday when asked about the notion he’s being overused.

McCaffrey has been an absolute terror for defenses this season, with Shanahan admitting it’s difficult to take him out of games. Through four weeks of regular-season play, the All-Pro leads the NFL in carries (80) and rushing yards (459), and is tied for first place in rushing touchdowns (six) and rushing/receiving touchdowns (seven).

On Sunday alone, McCaffrey racked up four touchdowns and 177 all-purpose yards while on the field for 85 percent of the 49ers’ offensive plays in their 35-16 win over the Arizona Cardinals. The running back expected big things out of himself after having a full offseason to prepare with the 49ers, and so far, he’s making good on that assumption.

“I think last year he was so good at [the offensive scheme] too, but I do think he has gotten better,” Shanahan told reporters Monday. “I think he understands it better as a whole, not that he didn’t last year, but I think this stuff comes pretty natural to Christian, but he also works at it harder than any player I’ve been around.

“He doesn’t just figure out what he’s supposed to do, he understands the package of everybody. That’s why he picks things up fast, and that’s why he’s been interchangeable at all the spots we put him at.”

In Week 2 against the Los Angeles Rams, McCaffrey played every offensive snap — something Shanahan later said wasn’t his intention going into the game. Given McCaffrey’s injury history and how important the running back is to San Francisco’s Super Bowl aspirations, his coach has answered questions about his usage since.

But McCaffrey clearly has no qualms with how much he has played this season. His numbers in September helped him win NFC Offensive Player of the Month honors, and he told “Murph and Mac” his relationship with Shanahan is “great.”

“He’s looking for guys who want to produce and who want something out of their players, and so, for me, it’s all about doing that,” McCaffrey said.

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