Eagles Wake-Up Call: ‘We’re Hot Right Now’

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As far as LeSean McCoy is concerned, it all makes sense.

The way he sees it is pretty simple: The Eagles are talented, they put in the work all season long, they stayed healthy, and now they are in position to make some noise in the postseason.

“We’re made for the playoffs,” McCoy said. “Everybody’s so excited for us to be here, but we should be here. Everybody’s so excited about us being division champs, but I think we should be. We prepared hard each game. We have so much talent on this team. And the way we prepare, we prepare to be the champs of this division. And we prepare to win this game. The Saints are a good team for sure. They have a very explosive offense and a solid defense, but I think the guys in this locker room, the coaches we have, we can get the job done.”

McCoy is coming off one of the great all-around seasons for a running back in recent memory. Consider this: There have only been five running backs ever who have rushed for 1,600 yards, averaged 5.0 YPC, caught 50 balls and accumulated 500 receiving yards in a season. They are LaDainian Tomlinson (2003 and 2006), Tiki Barber (2005), Priest Holmes (2002), Chris Johnson (2009) and now McCoy.

But he’s never been on a team that won a playoff game. McCoy was on the roster in 2009-2010 when the Eagles lost to the Cowboys, 34-14. And he was the feature back in 2011 when the Eagles fell to the Packers, 21-16.

McCoy is hoping for a different result this time around.

“As a team, we’re playing for each other and we’re rolling,” he said. “I think we’re hot right now. I think we’re real hot. Even if the games are close or not, blowouts, we’re winning. We’re getting the job done. The ball’s falling in our court where other times it didn’t. I think it’s a lot of playing hard, preparing hard, and it is a little luck sometimes. But that’s the way it is right now. We’re rolling.”

The Eagles won seven of eight to close out the regular season, and McCoy took the rushing title with 1,607 yards. He excelled in a couple specific areas. For example, McCoy seemed to get stronger as games went on. He averaged 6.0 YPC in the fourth quarter, fifth-best in the NFL.

“The more touches, the more plays you get running the ball, the [more] comfortable you get,” he said. “The different looks you see, you see how defenses they adjust to certain plays that you’re running, and you feel ‘em out. So the play that might be successful to the left late in the game might be more successful to the right. And defenses are smart. They try to adjust to whatever you’re doing. It’s a reaction. We run right, they chase us right. So it’s just different things – the way you fit into a run, just getting more comfortable I think as the game goes on. The fourth quarter I kind of can really take over.”

The other area that stood out was big-play runs. McCoy had 47 carries of 10+ yards, tops in the league and six more than any other back, per STATS, Inc.

“Just the one-on-one opportunities, I think I’m getting the best of those guys on one-on-one opportunities,” he said. “And that’s not easy. It’s not easy because you’ve gotta get there, and the guys up front are getting me there. And Coach [Chip] Kelly, just the designs he has, the plays, using different decoys just to get the matchups. That’s all you can ask for is just the matchups. And I just think guys that we have on offense with the matchups, we’re making the most of it.”

WHAT YOU MISSED

Good All-22 look from T-Mac at the potential Mychal KendricksJimmy Graham matchup.

And here’s an All-22 look at a new run play the Eagles added last week – a sweep from an unbalanced line.

Some are already picking the Saints. Here’s what they’re saying.

McManus takes a look at the Drew Brees-Foles connection.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Reuben Frank of CSNPhilly.com talked to Michael Vick about potentially returning to the Eagles as a backup next season:

“Yeah, if it doesn’t work out, if all else fails, absolutely,” he said. “You can never rule that out.

“It all depends what happens, where I’m at in my career. Never rule it out. But I’m not thinking of that right now. I’m not thinking about the future. I’m just thinking about doing whatever I can to help this team win a Super Bowl.”

Mike Tanier of SportsOnEarth.com writes about Nick Foles in his playoff preview:

Foles reminds me of Trent Green. This season — one of the best in history according to the efficiency rating stat, which goes a little weak-kneed at the sight of a low interception rate — felt a lot like Green’s 4,000-yard, 24 touchdown, 12 interception Chiefs seasons, though the numbers look a little different. The Dick Vermeil-Al Saunders offense stretched defenders horizontally and vertically, then froze them with play action, leaving Green to spread the ball around and take measured shots downfield. The window dressing is very different in Chip Kelly’s scheme, but some of the core principles are the same. One big difference: Green was 33 years old when he worked his ball-handling magic.

COMING UP

We’ll talk to the players down at the NovaCare Complex and continue to get you ready for Saturday night.

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