In 2011 Philadelphia Eagles starting running back LeSean McCoy put up some rather ridiculious numbers. McCoy carried the rock 273 times for 1,309 yards while boasting a 4.8 average per carry. Included with those numbers was McCoy’s eye-opening 20 touchdowns — 17 rushing while and 3 receiving.
Lately, the talk has been whether or not McCoy will be able to replicate his 2011 numbers, one that earned him a Pro Bowl berth and top consideration among those who take part in Fantasy League’s. While every Eagles fan will tell you they hope to see McCoy produce the same kind of numbers he did last season, the fact of the matter is it isn’t likely.
Chris McPherson of the Eagles official team site writes in his column “Three-And-Out: Running Back/Fullback” that Philly faithful should expect a decline in McCoy’s production. The obvious reason for such a decline is the Eagles will be without Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters. Peters provided excellent running lanes for McCoy last season at the initial point of attack as well as down the field. It will be interesting to see what kind of spark newcomer Demetress Bell can provide. But my guess is he won’t produce the same kind of protection as Peters did. McPherson also pointed out that QB Michael Vick had just one rushing TD and no receiver exceeded five TD’s.
The Eagles clearly missed their production from their star wide-outs DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. Jackson’s head wasn’t in the game as he dealt with a contract issue while Maclin encountered ailments during the offseason which didn’t allow him to stay in playing shape — and I’m sure weighed heavily on his mind throughout the season.
Now, Jackson has his new deal, one that he should feel is a very reasonable contract that the Eagles franchise has extended to him. Jeremy Maclin is a year removed from his ailment and is should be at full speed already. So with these two athletes back in the swing of things the Eagles should not have to rely so heavily on McCoy’s abilities — although they shouldn’t be ignored either. Now that everyone is back the Eagles need to keep a balanced attack on offense to keep opposing defenses on their toes.
Will Andy Reid continue to rely on McCoy? Not likely — because he won’t have to unlike 2011.
With all that being said, the fact that the Eagles do not have a proven backup to McCoy on the roster could mean he get his fair share of carries. Currently the Birds have the man who broke McCoy’s records at Pitt U — Dion Lewis, seventh-round pick Bryce Brown, and undrafted rookie Chris Polk. Polk is a very interesting player and packs a lot of punch. In my opinion the backup position will be between Lewis and Polk, however, I feel Lewis will get the nod as long as he can stay out of trouble.
Factoring all of the above in, the likelihood that McCoy can replicate his 2011 production is slim — not impossible — but his chances are minimal. However, a decline from 20 TD’s and over 1,600 all-purpose yards could still mean recording a double digit TD season and exceeding 1,000 yards. And as an Eagles fan I would be more than happy with that.
As great of a back McCoy is, there are still a few areas that he can look to improve before the start of the regular season. McPherson points out that McCoy needs to get better at pass protection, defense recognition and becoming a better north-south rusher. These are areas that can be taught, but McCoy’s overall football instincts are tremendous.
Remember, we’re talking about a decline in production and not a complete drop off.