Eagles McCoy Loves Running Behind Smaller, Faster Offensive Line
LeSean McCoy has plenty of reasons to smile, as he leads the league with 107.7 yards per game on the ground.
Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy is on pace for the best rushing season in team history, and it’s not just a coincidence that it’s coinciding with the Eagles’ overhaul of their offensive line under new position coach Howard Mudd. McCoy is averaging a league-best 107.7 yards per game and leads qualified running backs with 5.6 yards per carry. Last night, McCoy’s abilities were on display as the Eagles throttled the Cowboys, 34-7.
When asked if the slimmer, quicker offensive line suited his style, Shady’s eyes lit up.
“It does, definitely, because they come around and block so fast,” said McCoy, who had just run for a career high 185 yards against the league’s top-ranked rushing defense in front of a national, prime time television audience. “When I jump outside, they’re right there with me, so I think it compliments both of us and it’s [good] for me, because I’m blessed to have those guys, man.”
Since his lineman are better equipped to get out in space and McCoy loves to cut back against the grain or bounce runs to the outside, their styles feed off of each other perfectly. Last night was the first time the Eagles had their true starters in action all the way across the line, with Jason Peters back from a hamstring strain at left tackle.
From there across it was Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Danny Watkins and Todd Herremans leading the way for McCoy. Those might not have been the projected starters going into training camp, but Mudd likes smaller, more athletic lineman. That forms a great combination with McCoy’s skill set.
“There are not a lot of guys who can stop, and then with speed go sideways and stop on a dime,” said head coach Andy Reid. “I mean, he’s going full speed, boom-boom, he puts it down, and makes his cut sideways and is able to generate speed from that point. And he has good vision on top of that.”
McCoy has a good head on his shoulders, too. He’s quick to throw credit towards his offensive lineman, and also realizes that sharing the field with such a talented group at the skill positions helps him out as well.
“I have the talent around me, I think it’s different for me because I have so much weapons around me, it makes it a lot easier for me,” McCoy said. “So I think each player on this team don’t get enough credit because the guy next to him is so much better than other teams.”
Perhaps the scariest thing for opponents is McCoy’s age. The former Pitt running back is just 23, in his third NFL season. McCoy already has 2,471 career rushing yards and 19 touchdowns. By comparison, former Eagles great Brian Westbrook was 23 during his rookie season and had just 193 yards and hadn’t yet scored a touchdown at that point. After three seasons, Westbrook had 1,618 yards and 10 touchdowns.
McCoy looks like he may double those numbers through three years and shatter Westbrook’s career marks. With an extra inch in height and a few extra pounds, McCoy seems more durable.
Now McCoy gets to continue to develop chemistry with an offensive line that’s seen four different starting combinations through seven this season. As well as the unit did yesterday, with the Eagles running for 239 yards against a Cowboys team that had been allowing just 69.7 per game, they believe there is room for growth as they jell together.
“Even though we played well, there’s still going to be plenty of things that we’re going to see on tape that we’re going to be able to collect, learn from and get better week by week,” said Mathis.
McCoy agrees, and relishes each game as a chance to continue proving himself.
“I think each player, man, has a fight in them, they want to be considered one of the best players in this league,” said McCoy. “I feel like every game is like an opportunity to prove myself as a guy that’s kind of underrated, so I just want to go out and kind of prove myself. I think I’ve got the offensive lineman to do it.”
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