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Fired-up Friday: McCoy vs. Bradshaw

6/16/2011

Friday means time to argue here on the NFC East blog, and I've got a good one for ya today. We're going to talk running backs, but we're going to get real specific about it. This isn't going to be one of those all-encompassing polls that involve each team in the division. This is going to be a pointed, directed, all-out scrap between the fans of two particular dudes.

Today's debate is between LeSean McCoy of the Eagles and Ahmad Bradshaw of the Giants. I've written about both this week, which is what got me to thinking. They're both young, emerging stars and critical to the success of their teams. Each took a major step forward in 2010 and has a chance to elevate even higher in 2011. They already rank among the top running backs in the league and are positioned for a longtime rivalry as their teams play against each other twice per year.

So the question is not which one is better, or even which one you'd rather have for the rest of his career. Today's simple debate question is: "Who will have the better 2011 season -- McCoy or Bradshaw?"

I absolutely love both players and would be thrilled with either, but I'm picking McCoy, mainly because of the way I anticipate the Eagles using him. Philly works to get McCoy in open space, even if it means throwing him the ball. The Giants require Bradshaw to grind things out a bit more, putting him in a position where he might be more likely to wear down. And McCoy doesn't have a Brandon Jacobs to compete with for carries. I know that Bradshaw might not either, but I think, if the Giants got rid of Jacobs, they'd replace him with someone else who'd be a threat to siphon off Bradshaw carries.

I asked Scouts Inc.'s Matt Williamson this question, and he agreed.

"Bradshaw runs tougher and is more powerful for sure -- better in short yardage and between the tackles," Matt said. "But McCoy is the better receiver (not that Bradshaw is bad) and space player. McCoy is just just a perfect fit for Philly's offense, and he has quickly learned that not every run is going to be a TD -- instead he will take what is given to him, which is what NFL runners need to do to be successful. One note on Bradshaw, though -- he is fantastic in blitz pickup."

This is one of those cases in which each guy is very well suited for his team and situation. And surely, if Bradshaw were to get himself beaten up running between the tackles and picking up blitzes, he'd have an excellent excuse if he ended up posting the inferior stats. I like this debate because I can imagine it raging for a long time to come. But looking ahead to 2011, I'm picking LeSean McCoy to have a slightly better season than Ahmad Bradshaw.