SANTA CLARA — When it comes to running back stiff-arms, Christian McCaffrey gives Tennessee Titans star Derrick Henry the crown for creating the standard.
"He set the tone since he came into the league with the stiff-arm,” the 49ers running back said of Henry on Thursday. “So if we could get close to him we’d be in good company.”
McCaffrey, in his own right, has handed out punishing hits with the ball in his hands. Case and point was when the All-Pro delivered a blow to Los Angeles Rams cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon in Week 2.
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Needless to say that while McCaffrey recently has been the topic of conversation in regards to being targeted by opposing defenses, he enjoys dishing out his own violent hits.
“It’s a good feeling,” McCaffrey said. “I’ve been on the other side of different things like that where they might get under your chin first. And it’s just a rough position to be in, so whenever it’s in your favor, it’s a good feeling.”
McCaffrey leads the NFL in carries (99), yards rushing (510), rushing touchdowns (7), total yards from scrimmage (678) and total touchdowns (8) through five games this season. Part of his success is his aggressive style of play.
San Francisco 49ers
“I think at an early age maybe, you learn how to stiff-arm, where to stiff-arm,” McCaffrey said. “Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. It’s a good move. I think everyone has watched Derrick Henry and what he’s done. You can tell it’s deliberate the way he does it. I try to take some things from him.”
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McCaffrey and the 49ers' offense arguably face their toughest defensive opponent yet in the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. Look for the 49ers to come out of the gate, ready to set the tone, maybe with a stiff-arm or two.