Philadelphia Eagles: Frank Gore

PHILADELPHIA – Eagles running back LeSean McCoy, it must be noted, would not have to tackle Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson if the injured superstar were to play Sunday.

With that established, McCoy said he’ll be disappointed if Peterson’s foot injury keeps him sidelined when the Eagles visit the Metrodome.

“When we saw them on the schedule,” McCoy said, “my eyes got big. I thought it was a chance to go one-on-one with one of the best backs. You always want to compete against one of the elite guys in the NFL.”

McCoy certainly considers himself among them. He is pretty matter-of-fact when discussing his abilities and his place in the hierarchy. It is why he caused a stir early in the season by tweeting an insult about Denver’s Knowshon Moreno, whose crime was being taken ahead of McCoy in the 2009 draft.

“I definitely think I’m in the top five [backs],” McCoy said. “Top three.”

Asked to name the rest of that top five, McCoy mentioned Peterson, Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles, San Francisco’s Frank Gore and Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch.

“There’s a lot of different guys,” McCoy said. “I like to give you a couple guys to think about, some elite guys. Arian Foster is in there, too, even though he’s banged up.”

McCoy said he valued consistency, versatility and longevity, but there was something else that was harder to define in identifying a great back.

“What makes you special?” McCoy said. “Guys that have great offensive lines, they’ll get yards. But what else do you do special? Is he a shifty back? Will he run you over? Can he catch, can he run routes? Is he a mismatch for defenders? What makes that guy special? All those guys I named, I can give two, three, four, five attributes that make them a special back.”

McCoy spoke from a bully pulpit. He is leading the NFL with 1,305 rushing yards, ahead of Peterson, and in total yards from scrimmage, ahead of Charles. In the latest MVP Watch, Dan Graziano had McCoy third behind only quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. Charles, at No. 8, was the only other running back in Graziano’s top 10.

On Sunday, McCoy broke the Eagles’ 64-year-old franchise record for rushing yards in a game, topping Steve Van Buren 217 to 205. He is 207 yards away from Wilbert Montgomery’s 1979 record of 1,512 rushing yards in a season.

Eagles' McCoy at No. 38: Too low?

August, 27, 2013
The one certain thing about the NFL Rank project is that it invites debate. The placement of Eagles running back LeSean McCoy at No. 38 among offensive players is a perfect case in point.

McCoy is 25. He is one of the most explosive offensive players in the game, capable of breaking a long run at any time. The 63 experts polled by ESPN to formulate these rankings gave him a score of 7.67, ranking him two spots ahead of Ravens QB Joe Flacco. Beating out the reigning Super Bowl MVP looks good, but McCoy is behind the three offensive linemen who landed from 40 to 42, as well as 30-year-old Frank Gore and 34-year-old Reggie Wayne.

It's hard to believe the average NFL coach or general manager wouldn't jump at McCoy ahead of some of those guys.

But McCoy bears the mark of being part of the Eagles' 4-12 debacle of a 2012 season. He played in only 12 games, rushing for 840 yards and only two touchdowns. A concussion sustained in the closing minutes of a 31-6 loss in Washington cost McCoy four games.

That said, McCoy appears poised for a monster season in new coach Chip Kelly's offense. Kelly will emphasize the run much more than Andy Reid ever did, and McCoy should be the beneficiary.