Eagles Wake-Up Call: Can McCoy Finish Strong?

mccoy_400102613The last time LeSean McCoy took the field, Redskins defenders were constantly greeting him as soon as he got his hands on the football.

By our count, he had to either break a tackle or avoid a defender behind the line of scrimmage on 12 of 20 carries.

“Just different schemes they had to kind of take me out the game,” McCoy said. “On some of those plays, they wanted Nick [Foles] to keep the ball so they were just slanting, and I was just seeing it and reacting to it. But we have something for that. It’s all about how you want to play us.”


On five occasions vs. Washington, McCoy was dropped for a loss. On the season, he's been stuffed at or behind the line of scrimmage 24 times. That's third-most in the league, according to STATS, Inc.

With Foles at quarterback, the Eagles still use plenty of zone-read looks. On some of them, Foles is asked to read a defender and make a decision on whether to hand the ball off or keep it. On others, it's a straight handoff with a backside defender unblocked. That means McCoy being oftentimes being asked to make something out of nothing.

"Teams on the back end of a lot of the zone reads and a lot of the times when there’s a guy unhatted backside, teams are gonna defend that a little bit differently as opposed to Mike [Vick] or Nick," said center Jason Kelce. "So when Nick’s in there, obviously a little bit less of a running threat. That’s why you saw some of those down the stretch where he’d keep it. We got some good gains out of them, but you see those guys kind of collapse. So really what they’re trying to do front-side is just wall it up and wait for that backside player to kind of chase down the running back."

Added McCoy: "When you say my numbers may be down with Nick, it’s probably because they’d rather take me out and deal with Nick running. I would do it if I was a defensive coordinator so it’s understandable. But the biggest thing is when you do that, there’s so many other things that we pull out of our arsenal to use and we have been using. And that’s why we’ve been winning. So maybe Nick might not be the most flashy running quarterback there is, but he’s making plays and he’s winning games."

While much of the conversation offensively has centered around Foles, the run game is still the foundation of what the Eagles do offensively. Teams continue to move a safety in the box and play man coverage with a single high safety on the outside.

It's up to Chip Kelly and the coaching staff to continue to find ways to get McCoy going. And they also may need to monitor his workload. Per Pro Football Focus, McCoy has played 609 snaps, third-most of any running back. And his 213 carries are second to only Adrian Peterson. McCoy is on pace for 310 carries. His current career-high in that category is 273 in 2011.

"I feel fine," McCoy said. "I definitely think there’ll be a difference in getting that many carries. But I don’t feel it at all. And plus I’m not the type of back that takes really those big hits.

"I don’t really take that many beatings. You can’t really get a direct shot at me. Other guys might take two or three shots a tackle, or you add up a game, it might be 10, 15. They get 25 carries, maybe 15 of them touches they’re getting smashed or blown up. Where guys only get as many shots one-on-one with me to really hit me, so I think it’s different. Certain backs, you look at the way they get tackled or the way they get hit are a lot different from other backs. So I don’t see myself really with the high carries being 310 really being a big 310 load, if that makes sense.”

Sunday's game against Arizona matches strength vs. strength. McCoy is the league's leading rusher (1,009) and is averaging 4.7 YPC. According to Football Outsiders, the Eagles are still the best rushing team in the NFL, while the Cardinals are fourth at defending the run. Arizona's top priority will likely be to bottle up McCoy, but don't be surprised if Kelly and his staff add a few wrinkles to get the ground game going.

WHAT YOU MISSED

Kelly responded to Bruce Arians' comments, saying the Eagles run a "See-Coast Offense" and adding that he doesn't care what others think.

T-Mac takes a look at how the Eagles might try to slow Larry Fitzgerald.

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING

Reuben Frank of CSNPhilly.com with a good story on Eagles cornerback Roc Carmichael:

But he sees football not only as a game he plays on Sundays but also as a means to support the causes he believes in.

“Being in this position -- and we work our whole life to get in this position -- it hands you opportunities,” he said. “Which lane do you want to get in? Do you want to be the club guy, going out at night? Who do you want to be? Do you want to be the guy who helps people, who helps kids? For myself, I stuck to what I saw growing up, and that was helping.”

David Fleming of ESPN.com nominates Riley Cooper as one of his Turkeys of the Year:

If you need an explanation for this one, my search is over: You're the Turkey of the Year.

COMING UP

We'll have plenty to get you ready for Eagles-Cardinals as you pound through leftovers.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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  • PhilliePhanCT .

    The chip wagon does an excellent job breaking down the Birds run game with the read/zone option. You can read it here, complete with gifs
    http://chipwagon.typepad.com/eagles/2013/11/the-chip-kelly-offense-part-1-the-read-option.html

  • GEAGLE

    Sports science FTW

  • GEAGLE

    Dallas stinks…so mad they won that game. Why didn’t the great 100mil dollar romo throw 7TDs against a “horrible” defense?
    ..
    Who does Dallas play next week? If we take care of business, eventually that team will break and implode

    • G_WallyHunter

      Really hoping, Sean Lee coming back doesn’t help one bit

      • GEAGLE

        Yesterday was November,.,,next time Dallas takes the field it will be December..in other words! Dallas imploding in 3…2…1…lol

    • Justin

      They travel to Chicago for a Monday night game.

      • GEAGLE

        Thanks…let’s go Chi town lol

  • theycallmerob

    So maybe Nick might not be the most flashy running quarterback there is, but he’s making plays and he’s winning games.

    Well said Shady

    • GEAGLE

      Just wait til Nick gets another offseason under his belt, Ertz develops and we add an explosive big body possession WR, making Desean #2….that’s when the rainmaker will really take off…

      I’m a defensive guy, and it’s rare you will ever see me looking to add offensive players, but FOles is too good to waste by not giving him serious weapons…

      In his 10th game he is killin it with Desean,Celek and Riley friggin Cooper….get him a big body talent and this offense will be scary. We need our Fitgerald,Megatron, AJ green….wth would FOles be doing this year it’s a weapon like that? Scary

      • Justin

        Hel,, I’d settle for a Hakeem Nicks (who isn’t injured all the time) or a Dez Bryant (who doesn’t throw tantrums every 2 minutes).

        • GEAGLE

          If we get FOles a Dez Bryant type I expect big things

    • A Roy

      I would have expected McCoy to be one of the last 2-3 players on the Foles bandwagon. The fact he says that is actually quite meaningful in terms of how the locker room thinks right now.

      • GEAGLE

        Agreed…Shady should be the LAST player to back Nick….but winning takes precedent in our locker room

      • Pennguino

        I would have thought the same until I saw Shady beating on Nick’s shoulder pads in the Dallas game trying to pump him up or get him out of the funk.

  • Adam

    Man, Bruce Arians comments are still grinding my gears. Where does this dude get off? I would love nothing more than for Nick and Chip to run up the score and show them what this college offense is really capable off.

    • GEAGLE

      You and me both….hopefully our Oline is just as pissed…

      • G_WallyHunter

        Led by Kelce, that mountain man.

        • GEAGLE

          Yeah Olinemen are protective by nature and this line adores it’s coach and I’m sure they don’t like seeing people take shots trying to belittle Chip…if our Oline comes out committed to beating the crap out of the cardinals front 7, we should be able to control this game..

          Our Dline will come out hungry, smell weakness in the cardinals Oline and lick their chops at an opportunity to have a huge impact on this game, roughing up Carson and taking their RBs out of the game…..

          Both teams boast nasty front 7′s, but I’m banking on our Oline handling their front 7 better than the cardinals Oline handles ours. We are going to feast on Carson’s antiquated 7 step drops..

          Win the line of scrimmage. Win the turnover margin….and we win this game.
          ..
          I really want to play Seatle and the Colts…I want to see FOles out duel both young QBs….I. Just don’t want to see Seatle in Seatle

          • Dominik

            “Win the line of scrimmage. Win the turnover margin….and we win this game.”

            You’ll win pretty much every game with that formula. ;)

            But yeah, you’re right, of course. Still don’t like the match-up, tough. Our D-Line (+ the OLBs) will win or lose this game for us. If they pressure Palmer, their offense won’t be clicking. If their offense won’t be clicking, Foles, DJax and McCoy should get enough offense going to win it.

            Don’t expect a shoot-out.

      • Token

        They will have to play GREAT the next two weeks. Two really tough teams up front. Nick will have to be decisive and get the ball out.

        • GEAGLE

          Who is after Zona? Detroit? fairly and Suh scare me with how they matchup against Herremans and Kelce…get the ball out quick is Right!! Although, if like to think Shady can do some damage against the wide 9…Detroit is an interesting game because Grover Quinn is one of the few players left who allows his team to play Dime defense. We struggled with KC’s dime, but Quinn isn’t exactly Berry…

          Bush stylistically is a different back from what we have been facing. Calvin is Calvin….we gotta keep Nick healthy against that dirty defense. be interesting to see what Nick can do in a shoot out game

          • BlindChow

            Detroit shut McCoy down last year. We kept running sweeps over and over, despite the huge holes up the middle created by the wide-9 formation.

          • Adam

            It’s nice to not have to fear being out coached this year.

          • GEAGLE

            Even nicer not to know which play we are about to run

    • G_WallyHunter

      I love CK’s responses yesterday, really made Arians look like an idiot while taking the higher road lol, he kinda took polite jabs.

      I don’t think either of these coaches had any intent in their comments, media just takes it and runs with it, hoping the players do too (Eagles, of course)

      CK didn’t take jabs as much as he just discredited Arians with more knowledge, then said he didn’t give a blank what he thought haha, love it

      • GEAGLE

        I dunno, don’t see how else I could interpret Arians comments other than taking a shot at our “college” coach…..it really pissed me off to the point that I want this win more than ii wanted any division games this year…I want to put a physical BEATDOWN on this team..partly because I want FOles to continue to outshine Andrew Luck

        • G_WallyHunter

          I agree, he did take a shot, but just seemed as he was giving his honest passionate opinion on the offense in general, not at CK.
          hope ur right, hope they do lay a beating. At least Chip made Arians look like an idiot by simply stating it isn’t an offense LOL

          • BlindChow

            He sounded like the old scouts in Moneyball who railed at the idea that their job could be done any differently than the way they’ve always done it.

          • G_WallyHunter

            Pretty much, very ignorant of Arians, and Chip pointed it out politely

          • GEAGLE

            He did make him look pretty silly, although he does a good enough job of looking stupid with those “Trendy” black glasses….I just find it dumb for his antiquated 4wide, 5 step, 7step offense to be talking trash about college, when in TODAYS NFL, college has a major impact on NFL game

    • nicksaenz1

      I agree with you, but the guy went to two SBs and won a ring as OC. He may not be right, hope he’s not, but he has a little more clout than others when saying such things.

  • GEAGLE

    The great Andy is in danger of losing his 3rd game In a row….