Eagles Wake-Up Call: McCoy’s State Of Mind
The numbers don’t seem to add up.
LeSean McCoy is averaging 2.9 YPC through three games. He has one run of 20+ yards and has only found the end zone once.
Yet somehow, the Eagles are undefeated, one of three teams in the NFL sitting at 3-0 going into this weekend.
“It’s hard to really say because when you watch a team on tape and you see other teams run the ball on them, they may play a different style defense to that team than they do to us,” said McCoy, when asked why the Eagles can’t seem to get the ground game going. “The first thing you look at to try and stop us is the run, which was obvious Sunday. So I really can’t call it, just gotta keep fighting and getting at it, and hopefully that passing game opens some things up. And now that’s a threat where people can back off a little bit.”
McCoy received a lot of attention last year, but he still managed 1,607 yards on the ground and averaged 5.1 YPC.
The first three games this year have been a different story. On Sunday against Washington, McCoy carried 19 times for 22 yards.
“I played OK,” he said. “I haven’t had that much opportunity like I would want, or like I’m used to. But there’s definitely a difference. Just the attention. The attention this year is so much more. But just keep working, keep working at it. We’ll be alright.”
Of course, the biggest factor is not McCoy or even the way defenses are playing the Eagles. It’s the banged-up offensive line.
Jason Kelce and Evan Mathis will be out for awhile. Lane Johnson still has one game left on his suspension. Allen Barbre was sidelined for the year in the opener. And Matt Tobin has been out with an ankle injury. That’s five of the Eagles’ top seven linemen who have missed time.
“I don’t see anything in terms of how LeSean has approached things,” said Chip Kelly. “There are a lot of times that there wasn’t a lot of movement on Sunday, and that’s kind of what we’re dealing with.”
Asked about the effect of not playing behind the same five guys, McCoy said: “Any back will tell you that because you get so used to each player on the line, how they block. I was blessed last year to have ‘em for the whole season. Something like a quarterback to his wide receivers. He knows each of them so well. The good to the bad, just the rhythm. But that’s something that we can’t dwell on.
“Everybody’s talking about the run game’s not doing well, this and that, but we’re winning games. And if teams want to come in and try to stop the run, if they want to get 34 points scored on ‘em and Nick’s playing at a high level and we’re making plays, that’s how y’all lose.”
Under Kelly, one thing McCoy knows is that he’ll continue to get the ball even if things aren’t working.
On Sunday, the Eagles ran a play-fake in the first half. The linebackers got sucked in, and Jordan Matthews ran free for his first NFL touchdown. In other words, it’s in Kelly’s nature to mix the run in regardless of the situation.
“He’s gonna let me get my touches,” McCoy said. “That’s his thing. Even if it’s not going well, I guess to keep the defense honest. They’re stacking the box, I guess to run enough to keep ‘em like that.
“It can get a little frustrating because you want to go out there and make plays, do what you’re used to. And that’s the reason why the defense is playing like that. So it’s kind of like a respect thing. But still you really want to go out there and dominate.
“On the other end, it’s like, we’re making plays. You see on the play-fakes how they’re all stepping up, how guys are getting past ‘em. So even though you want to go out there and play your best and put the stats up and do all the great things in the run, but we’re winning games. And that’s what’s important. Last year, I jumped out real early, and we lost, what, 1-3? So you get the mixed emotions where now we’re 3-0, looking good and everybody’s playing well. It could be worse. We could be losing games with no yards.”
McCoy will give it another shot in Week 4 against the 49ers, but with three backups starting on the offensive line and Todd Herremans being forced to move over to right tackle, getting back on track will once again be difficult.
WHAT YOU MISSED
The NFL ruled that Chris Baker’s hit on Nick Foles was legal.
And Kelly is confused by the league’s ruling.
We use the All-22 to take a look at what went wrong for the Eagles’ defense Sunday.
Our other All-22 piece breaks down the Jeremy Maclin jailbreak screen that picked up 50 yards.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Mike Sielski of the Inquirer says Jason Peters is too valuable to be throwing punches:
No single punch has done more for an athlete’s esteem in Philadelphia since 1971, since Joe Frazier landed the most famous left hook in boxing history and sent Muhammad Ali to the Madison Square Garden canvas. But no matter how many standing ovations Peters gets at Lincoln Financial Field from now until the end of his Eagles career, no matter how much solidarity the incident showed among Peters and Foles and their teammates, nothing should obscure this hard truth: Peters never should have done what he did. He never should have thrown that punch and compelled the officiating crew to eject him from the Eagles’ 37-34 victory.
Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz thinks the Eagles have the best combination possible on the offensive line this week:
As to the right side of the line, I think the key was getting Andrew Gardner off the field. He struggled on Sunday. You put Dennis Kelly at RG and that frees up Herremans to slide outside to RT. Kelly played RG this spring and summer. He played some there in 2012. While he doesn’t have a ton of experience, he’s more comfortable there than at LG. Herremans has played RT for a full season so moving out there isn’t a huge deal for him. There is some adjustment, but he should play better than Gardner did on Sunday.
One of the benefits to this group is that they should do a good job of run blocking. Tobin and Peters give the Eagles a good pair of run blockers on the left side. Herremans is athletic enough to make the reach blocks that the Eagles need out of an OT. Kelly has some good moments in the run game, but must get more consistent.
We’ll hear from Kelly this afternoon and have notes from practice.