Thursday, November 7, 2013
McCoy: Winning, not yardage, matters
By Phil Sheridan
PHILADELPHIA – The questions for Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy are the same. The tone after a 49-20 blowout win is very different from the tone after two consecutive games without an offensive touchdown.
McCoy rushed for only 44 yards Sunday in Oakland, fewer than he did in ugly losses to the Cowboys (55 yards) and Giants (48).
“The biggest thing is winning,” McCoy said Wednesday. “I still lead the NFL in rushing, so I can’t be that pissed.”
It’s true. In the Eagles’ first three games, McCoy put up two of the three biggest yardage totals of the season – 184 at Washington, 158 against Kansas City. He got far enough ahead of the pack that, even after a relatively quiet few weeks, no one has caught up to McCoy and his 777 rushing yards.
The pack is getting close. Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch is at 726 yards. Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles is one yard back at 725. Adrian Peterson has 711.
As for the Pack, Green Bay rookie Eddie Lacy is eighth overall with 596 yards. But while McCoy jumped out to a big lead and has slowed down, Lacy has the most rushing yards in the NFL over the past month.
The Eagles really haven’t followed the NFL formula, using the passing game to get out to a lead and the running game to kill time. In Oakland, they got a big lead and just kept throwing.
“We scored almost every chance we had,” McCoy said. “We were making plays up and down the field.”
“When you’re throwing the ball like that, you’re probably not going to run the ball as much,” center Jason Kelce said. “I think Chip [Kelly] and the offensive staff are really good at taking what the defense gives you. That’s kind of what this whole offense is predicated on.”
Nick Foles’ record-tying passing splurge was made possible, at least in part, by the Raiders’ focus on McCoy. Oakland seldom blitzed, allowing Foles time to find open receivers romping through the secondary.
“They tried to stop the run so much, they left things open,” McCoy said.
Against Dallas and the Giants, the Eagles were unable to exploit those opportunities in the passing game. Foles had a terrible performance against the Cowboys. Michael Vick struggled early, then was forced to leave the Giants game.
It won’t always look as easy as it did against the Raiders’ gravity-challenged secondary, but that was how the offense is designed to respond to teams stacking up against the run. And that, in turn, could get McCoy rolling again.
“I feel comfortable going into this week that we can run the ball a little more,” McCoy said. “We threw the ball so well last game, a team will have to play us honest. When they try to stop the run, guys are making plays [in the pass game]. From now on, we’ll probably see more honest defensive looks.”