It Won't Be So Shady For McCoy This Season
By Scott Daniels
An NFL roster consists of 53 active players. Each player is carefully analyzed, picked apart and scrutinized as if they were openly traded on the New York Stock Exchange. The truth is NFL players and stocks have a lot in common. NFL franchises are businesses that happen to operate in the sports world, and each player represents a portion of the business. As with all businesses, some people are more important than others, and the investment by the team, by virtue of a contract, represents the player’s importance within the organization.
Over the last few years, the Philadelphia Eagles have gone after some pretty large names and, in doing so, have doled out some sizeable, yet sometimes suspect, contracts. Acquiring Terrell Owens at the time was a monumental move that inspired the Eagles fan base. It also quieted their vibrant leader, Donovan McNabb, who was never shy about his desire to upgrade the talent at wide receiver.
Fast forward to Vince Young’s idiotic declaration that the 2011-12 Eagles resembled a “dream team” was a worse call than the Raiders giving $60 million to Jamarcus Russell (OK, maybe it wasn’t that bad). But the Eagles won eight games that year — far from a dream team.
That 2011 season did have one very bright light. It came by way of a shifty running back named LeSean McCoy, who at the time, was in his third season with the Eagles. Selected by the Eagles in the second round of the 2009 draft, McCoy mimicked a former Eagles great, Brian Westbrook. McCoy broke out in 2011 with 20 touchdowns to compliment his 1,309 rushing yards. McCoy solidified himself as a potent threat not only on the ground, but a dangerous weapon in the passing attack as well.
The best thing about McCoy is that he’s never once been the focal point of this Philadelphia Eagles team. In losses over the last few years, Andy Reid and Michael Vick assumed responsibility quicker than Metta World Peace after a flagrant. With the spotlight on Chip Kelly this season, McCoy is flying under the radar once again. And make no mistake about it: This is a very good thing.
When healthy, McCoy is ridiculously dangerous. With a mediocre line, he’s easily one of the top five running backs in the league. Last season, he ran behind a makeshift line that was dominated every week, yet McCoy still managed to elude the opposition and average over four yards a carry.
McCoy’s value also took a hit when Reid would abandon the run just about every time the Eagles were losing. McCoy is a magician catching passes out of the backfield, but if an NFL defense suspects it, there’s only so much a player can do without solid blocking.
This season could be McCoy’s finest ever since joining the Birds. It’s rumored that the quarterback position will not, in and of itself, dictate the success of the Eagles. If this is true, expect the Eagles to run a lot (think Steve Prefontaine).
In quick, no-huddle offenses, a running attack is the most proficient — less chance for a turnover, and easier yards to gain when the protection is there. Insert McCoy into a ground attack that focuses on spreading the field and you have the quintessential atomic bomb.
The fantasy world already knows of McCoy’s value, but let’s see if NFL defenses are prepared for what he’ll have to offer this season.