Duce Chooses McCoy Over Westbrook

LeSean McCoy alone running with football

The question came from about 20 feet away, a parting whaddyathink after a 15-minute conversation with Duce Staley about star running back LeSean McCoy.

So who’s better: B-West or Shady?


Staley turned and started walking back to a pair of reporters. "Right now? McCoy," he said.

"Right now if I had to go back and get Brian Westbrook at the peak of his career and get LeSean McCoy at the peak of his career...if you were playing fantasy football, who would you pick?"

Sure, Staley has invested a lot of time and energy into McCoy, serving as his coach and mentor. But he was also teammates with Westbrook, and saw his impact on the game first-hand.

"When I look at [McCoy] and then look back at my career, I'm like, 'Whoa, I wish I could have done that,' " said Staley. "Brian had similar moves, but not as quick and not as sudden. McCoy is able to make a move that is followed up by another move that is followed up by another move.

"His ability to make people miss in small areas is the best in the league. McCoy is a guy -- and I tell him this all the time -- who can make you miss in a phone booth. You look at explosion, you look at how quick he is from when he touches a ball in a five-yard space, there is no one better than him doing that."

Birds 24/7 caught up with Westbrook later that afternoon, and asked if he ever compares himself and McCoy side-by-side.

"Nah," he said. "When I look at LeSean I have no doubt that he is a special, special player. Some of the things he is able to do on the football field instinctively is just special. He is able to make people miss -- I'm talking about two, three guys in the backfield -- and it appears sometimes that he doesn't even see them. I'm amazed how he even sees some of the guys that he's making miss.

"The things that they ask him to do are a little bit different than what Andy Reid asked me to do...Andy asked me to do a lot more [in the passing game] than they ask LeSean to do. He continues to develop into a pretty good blocker, and that's something he has worked on over the years. But as far as a running back, I see the talent and I appreciate the talent he has. He is a special runner."

Statistically, McCoy posted 3,389 yards and 30 touchdowns on the ground through his first four seasons compared to 2,235 yards and 13 TDs for Westbrook. In the passing game, Westbrook racked up over 1,700 receiving yards and 14 scores, while McCoy had just under 1,500 yards and eight touchdowns.

Westbrook and McCoy have long enjoyed a student-teacher relationship. One way in which their careers are mirroring one another is the way they both broke out in Year 5. Westbrook had close to 2,000 all-purpose yards and 11 scores in his fifth season. McCoy, meanwhile, has had a monster start to his 2013 campaign, posting 871 total yards through six games.

McCoy has Staley's backing and may be on track for a better overall career. But the level of respect for the teacher is still there.

"If I want to be even close to Brian," said McCoy, "there's stuff I still have to learn how to do."

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  • DirtyWaters

    I love that Duce and B-West are here to mentor the kid. Now please cancel his Twitter account.

  • ftotheyu

    I know we talk a lot about the busts the Eagles have had over the years when it comes to drafting (especially in the first round), but I have to give credit where credit is due. McCoy is a heck of a draft pick in the 2nd round, especially when you consider that Knowshon Moreno, Chris Wells, and Donald Brown were all drafted ahead of him and out of those three only Moreno ever amounted to anything beyond mediocre.

    • BleedGreenJames

      You’re right. It’s pretty depressing though to think our last great draft pick was in 2009.

      Doing a great job, Howie. (‘-’)b

      • jubjub43

        Eh? Roseman only had real decision making power in the last two drafts….cox, kendricks, johnson, boykin, ertz, bryce brown…thats a great haul.

        • ztom6

          Foles and Curry belong on that list as well.

    • Always Hopeful

      Ha, ha, ha…I was on the Moreno bus back then. Just happen to see him more on TV :-)

      Shady’s that guy whom you hold your breath when he gets the ball. As DIrtyWaters said above, love the connection that Duce and Westbrook have with him. It’s like a true Eagles family.

  • Shark

    At least BWest and Duce were smart.

  • RaiderDebo

    My goodness. Just watched the whole Tampa game. Nick Foles’ stat line may be the most misleading in NFL history! Cooper and McCoy deserve medals of honor for the YAC they put up. Honestly, Glennon was the more impressive of the two QBs if you’re looking for impressive throws. It’s very clear what Chip saw during all the minicamp practices, training camp practices and the preseason. Nick Foles isn’t in the same universe as Mike Vick as a passer. Unfortunately for the Vick haters/losers, you’re going to find that out on Sunday.

    • Gary

      This article is about Duce Staley, LeSean McCoy and Brian Westbrook.

      • Justin

        Ignore him, he’s a troll.

        • RaiderDebo

          I’ll be the 1st to admit I’m a troll. It’s been pretty tough to follow my Raiders the last two years and I’m a huge Vick fan. Wish we had him. I just don’t get why some of you guys don’t appreciate what he is. Hell, you should all be worshipping the ground he walks on for the the 2010 comeback against the Giants alone. He’s been money against the division as your starter, and that could mean the playoff this year. Foles has done a great job as the backup, but I’d think you guys would be anxious to get Mike back out there.

    • mrparabolic

      My goodness. Just read your whole post. Your comment may be the lamest troll in Internet history! You deserve a smack in the face for the crap you put up. Honestly, throw your keyboard out the window.

    • theycallmerob

      Good thing you’re a pro scout!

    • UKEagle99

      Smack yourself in the face with your keyboard for 5 mins and then click “share”. I’ll read that with pleasure.

  • 1972

    McCoys durability makes him better in my opinion. B west was a much better receiver and Swiss army knife.
    But I would definitely take McCoy because of the workload

    • John

      The thing BWest has on Shady is his ability to finish long plays. Shady always seems to lose gas when he gets near the endzone when defenders are still around. How many times have we seen Shady go down inside the 5 and the offense eventually settling for a FG.

      And the screen that shady had on the first play against TB, he could’ve scored if he cut it upfield where the WR were in perfect position to block the remaining defender. Have no idea why he decided to run all the way to the opposite sideline. B.West pointed that out.

      • 1972

        He has way too many touchdows for you to say he always runs out of gas. I could say westbrook always missed big games: Carolina championship game
        and he was on one leg and ineffective in the Arizona championship game.
        The year shady had 20 tds he didn’t run out of gas.
        He didn’t run out of gas on his skins td or his chiefs td so I don’t see where your getting that from.

  • Andy

    Very fair and reasoned response from Westbrook. It’s refreshing to hear an ex-player open his mouth and not stick his foot in by diminishing current players relative to themselves out of ego. And he’s right. Westbrook was a much better blocker and asked to be a receiver much more than Shady. Shady is definitely a better pure runner as far as elusiveness, but sadly for running backs his longevity has yet to be established. And as for breaking out in Year 5, didn’t McCoy score 15 rushing TDs in his third season?

  • JoeKnowsNada

    B-West or McCoy? Both!! We tend to forget that B-West could return punts for TDs. They don’t ask McCoy to do that, not sure if he could. I liked the “Swiss Army Knife” comment. B-West could do well just about anything you asked of him, on the O side of the ball. And that’s after two-three major knee operations, early in his career (pre-NFL). B-West was a much better blocker, much sooner, I think, than Shady has been, although McCoy is catching up in that department. B-West DID get hurt, later on, but that’s what happens when your coach runs you “1,000 times” in one particular season! You break down, next year. Just like Doc Halliday for the Phils.

    I love that Duce and B-West are here, and that McCoy apparently has no issue with being coached up by them, and is profiting handsomely from their advice.

    McCoy has better feet and quicker read-react than B-West, and is a player that one willingly goes to the stadium and pays money just to watch. TV just doesn’t do him justice. Those jump-steps are incredible. The DEE is so unsure, sometimes, about where Shady is gong to go, that they either over-run him, or give him 6 inches more room than is prudent, and Bang, he’s gone.

    So, Cap’n Andy’s legacy (RB) – McCoy, and a (starting) O-line that can run Chip Kelly’s style of offense without much difficulty. And, Duce as RB coach. Works for me!

  • Bdawkbdawk

    Between the tackles I want McCoy. Out in the flat, I’ll take Westbrook all day.

  • JofreyRice

    McCoy’s far better as a pure RB; it’s really not even close.

    Even though the #’s are closer than I would have imagined, the receiving ability–types of routes, ability to line up anywhere, and route running all have to go to Westbrook, as well as pass-protection. Westbrook was like a poor man’s Marshall Faulk. I still maintain he was the main reason the Eagles finally got over the hump in the NFCCG.

  • Johnny_P

    You could argue both ways: Westbrook was in the league at a time when running backs were a featured part of most offenses. Westbrook in a sense was in the mold of a Marshall Faulk (ability to run and catch passes out of the backfield) and you can argue that he was the best player to do that during the early part of the 2000′s (after Faulk’s decline). Shady on the other hand is just a human highlight reel. I haven’t seen a more dynamic running back since, dare I say, the great Barry Sanders. Shady has great anticipation, he holds onto the ball, and makes something out nothing regularly. Is anybody else tired of fantasy football being incorporated in serious football articles? I’m over it.