Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy has had a brilliant, historic season. But he will not win the league's rushing title. McCoy was announced among the inactive players for Sunday's season finale against the Washington Redskins, his sprained ankle apparently hurting too badly to allow him to play.
McCoy will finish his 2011 season with 1,309 rushing yards and 17 rushing touchdowns, as well as 48 catches for 315 yards and three receiving touchdowns. He leads Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton by three rushing touchdowns for the league league, but he trails Jacksonville running back Maurice Jones-Drew in rushing yards. Jones-Drew has 1,437, and it would have been a stretch for McCoy to catch him anyway, especially on a bum ankle.
My question is: Whose decision was this? Eagles coach Andy Reid said during the week that he planned to play his starters in this game, and indicated that McCoy would be ready to go. If the decision to bench McCoy in a meaningless game to make sure he doesn't injure himself more seriously was made above Reid, that could portend an interesting next couple of weeks as Reid's future as Eagles coach is determined. As I've said all along, I expect Reid to return to coach the Eagles in 2012. But if there was a tug-of-war this week over McCoy's status for the game and Reid lost it, that's enough to make you wonder.
Please understand: This is only speculation on my part. It's entirely possible McCoy just wasn't healthy enough to go, or that Reid changed his stance as the week went along. But given the way this season has gone, and the fact that a loss today would give Reid his third losing season in 13 years as Eagles head coach, it's worth wondering about.
Cornerback Asante Samuel is also inactive for the game because of a hamstring injury, which is no surprise. It's possible this means Samuel has played his final game as an Eagle, since they could move on this offseason with Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie as starting corners and address other needs by replacing Samuel.
For the Redskins, right tackle Jammal Brown is inactive, missing yet another game with his hip injury. But rookie running back Roy Helu is active after missing last week's game with toe and knee problems. It'll be interesting to see how the carries get split between him and fellow rookie Evan Royster, who had 132 rush yards on 19 carries last week in Helu's place.