Eagles-Titans Notes: McCoy Breaks Loose

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Philadelphia Eagles                                                                                   (photo courtesy of USA Today)

LeSean McCoy sized up the lectern quizzically and began fidgeting with the microphone as his postgame press conference began.

“Damn this feels big, tall,” said McCoy as he tried to settle in behind the podium, which is generally reserved for quarterbacks and players that have a big game.

“You haven’t been there in a while,” a reporter cracked, drawing laughs.

“He ain’t lying, though,” said McCoy, taking the jab in stride.

It’s been tough sledding for the reigning rushing champ this season. He had been held to under 100 yards in eight of the Eagles’ 10 games coming in while averaging 3.7 yards per carry. His frustration boiled over some this week when he was asked if he is still the same player that he was a year ago.

“Am I the same player? That’s for y’all to figure out,” he said. “Are you crazy?”

McCoy looked like his old self against a poor Tennessee run defense, popping off for 130 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries (6.2 average) in the Eagles’ 43-24 win over the Titans Sunday. He broke off a 53-yarder early in the second quarter – by far his longest run of the season – and had the familiar bounce and slash in his step when he got out in space.

“Obviously you guys and everybody is going to make their own opinions and write what they want, and I’m fine with that. As long as the guys in the locker room, they know what’s up,” said McCoy. “We’re a team. We come to play. It’s nobody’s fault. It’s a whole. So if the running game is not going, I’ll take the blame or whatever. It doesn’t really matter as long as we win games, and that’s what we’ve been doing this year.”

Tennessee came in ranked 31st against the run, allowing 143.5 yards per game (the Eagles put up 164 on them). Dallas’ rush defense is 11th in the NFL (109.0 average per game).

“I actually have to give them a lot of credit. They’ve been playing well,” said McCoy of the Cowboys. “They’re a good team. We have to go in this week really focused. It’s a short week, it’s a big game, Thanksgiving is coming up and it’s a division game at that. I think you add all those things up together, man, it’s a must-win type of game.”

Sanchez On Turnovers

Mark Sanchez finished 30-of-43 for 307 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions Sunday. The good news is that he improved to 2-1 as a starter. The bad news is that he has thrown six interceptions and turned the ball over eight times total in less than four games.

His first interception came late in the first quarter as a result of miscommunication between the QB and wide receiver Riley Cooper, who took the blame in the locker room afterwards.

“The second one, there’s no excuse for it,” said Sanchez. “[Zach] Ertz made a great play. Ertz and Jordan [Matthews] are both open and I’m throwing to Ertz and just air-mailed it, I just physically missed the throw. You can’t have those late in the year.

“Some of those throws are throws that I’ve made a million times. That’s the most frustrating thing. I’m sure it’s like a golfer who has made that easy four-foot putt all the time and then one day it lips out. That’s not cool. That’s not fun. We’ll get it right because I know those guys are going to be open again and it’s my job to put it on them.”

The Eagles now have 27 turnovers on the season and are minus-8 in turnover differential, yet still sport an 8-3 record.

“For anybody to be successful, we have to take care of the football no matter what,” said Sanchez. “We can’t be on the wrong page, we can’t miss a ball to Ertz downfield. We’ll take the win and be happy about that but we have to move on and get better.”

Barwin and Co.

The pass rush got back on track after a quiet afternoon in Green Bay last week. Connor Barwin and Trent Cole each had a pair of sacks and the Eagles registered five takedowns and four quarterback hits on rookie Zach Mettenberger in all.

Barwin has already established a career-high in sacks (12.5) with five games to play.

Billy [Davis] moves me around. I think it keeps tackles on their heels,” said Barwin. “As a group defensively we’ve really grown so much, the back end. I think that’s why everybody up front is getting sacks.”

The Eagles have 38 sacks through 11 games (3.5 per game) after having a total of 37 all of last year.

“I think it’s the group that is rushing better,” said Davis. “When you run the same stunts with guys for a while, you get to know each other. The guys do a great job planning their stunts and how they’re going to do it together during the week, and I think they’re just growing together as a group.”