McCoy is still a fantasy RB1, though he carries more risk since the Buffalo offense could struggle to score points. OC Greg Roman didn't use Frank Gore much in the passing game while in San Francisco, but Gore recently said that was more about Colin Kaepernick and what he was seeing than it was about Roman's offense. It remains to be seen how much McCoy will be used as a receiver, but given Roman's history, we're betting that he's an afterthought in the passing game.
While Bills running backs coach Anthony Lynn would like to see LeSean McCoy’s workload stay the same, he’d prefer if Fred Jackson’s was scaled back. Jackson played 548 snaps last season, a number Lynn said he’d like to see cut in half.
“I think he wore down a little bit at the end of the season,” Lynn said. “If we could take half of that off his plate, I think you’re going to see a fresher Fred Jackson and a more explosive Fred Jackson.”
We currently have Jackson projected to touch the ball 114 times after he racked up 207 touches in 14 games last season, so Lynn's expectations mostly jibe with our projections. As for McCoy, he's going to have a tough time matching the 340 touches he had in 2014 due to the potency and pace of the Philadelphia offense compared to the Buffalo offense. We do have McCoy projected to see 329 touches since OC Greg Roman and HC Rex Ryan both love to run the ball. Just don't expect McCoy's receptions to increase; Roman barely used the very capable Frank Gore in a pass-catching role while calling plays in San Francisco the last few seasons.
Philly.com's Zach Berman on the Eagles' new running backs:
Don’t expect Murray to near that carry total this season. He will no doubt be the featured running back, but coach Chip Kelly wants carries to be shared. That’s where Ryan Mathews comes in.
Mathews appeared at first to be the consolation prize to missing out on Gore, but the Eagles still signed him. The former first-round pick is a talented rusher who has twice topped 1,000 yards, but injuries have also been an ongoing issue. He had a career-low 330 yards last season while playing on six games. I wouldn't count on him carrying the ball more than 220 times like he did in his 1,000-yard season (unless Murray gets injured), but he can find a sweet spot in the mid-100s.
We currently project Mathews for 132 carries for 561 yards, which jibes with the numbers that Berman had in mind. We project Murray for 285 carries (for 1,279 yards), which is a far cry from the 392 totes he saw last season. Berman went on to say that the team "needs to get" Darren Sproles more involved, but that may be tough since the team replaced LeSean McCoy with two new running backs.
In an interview on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, Bills QB E.J. Manuel said his commitment to the quarterback position has reached a point of singular fixation, and attributes it to the adversity he faced last season when he was benched after just four starts.
“I think what I went through that’s just what made me grow up. That was true adversity in my playing career,” Manuel said. “As far as the competitive edge I have now, it’s crazy. It’s almost an obsession now as far as mastering this position and mastering this offense and mainly the fundamentals and mechanics of the game. Why not spend all my time doing that? There’s really nothing else to do right now. The main thing is just being all in and investing in yourself.”
Manuel insists his throwing accuracy is much improved after working for four months this offseason with former NFL QB Steve DeBerg. He credits DeBerg with eliminating the wind up in his throwing motion that compromised his accuracy. His throwing motion is much more compact now and he feels his accuracy is much improved.
The team acquired Matt Cassel in the offseason and he's likely to start unless Manuel is able to make big strides. There are a lot of weapons in Buffalo, but under new OC Greg Roman the team is likely to utilize a run-heavy approach (with LeSean McCoy and Fred Jackson) and rely on its defense to win games.
Harvin will have a chance to rehab his image if he can behave and produce in Buffalo. He'll play third fiddle to LeSean McCoy and Sammy Watkins in the Bills' offense, so he'll have WR3/WR4 value provided new OC Greg Roman figures out how to use him. Roman's track record of underutilizing talent (like Vernon Davis) isn't very encouraging.
Murray will get $42 million over five years, including $21 million in guaranteed money, per reports.
Although the Cowboys said they wanted Murray to return, they never came close to meeting his contract demands, citing the diminished value of the running back and the decline in production as they get older.
Murray had a career year in his fourth season, racking up 2,261 total yards and 13 touchdowns on 449 touches. He should get plenty of work in Philadelphia, though the signing of Ryan Mathews and the presence of Darren Sproles indicate that he won’t approach 450 touches in 2015. LeSean McCoy averaged 353 touches over the past two seasons, so that’s probably Murray’s best-case scenario if everyone stays healthy. He’ll hold low-end RB1 value, though the presence of Mathews and Sproles may make that a stretch.
Update: It's five-year, $40 million deal that includes $26.5 million guaranteed.
It's said to be a five-year, $40 million contract that includes $26.5 million guaranteed. This looks like a system downgrade for McCoy, who ran much better later in the season once his offensive line started to get healthy. In Buffalo, new HC Rex Ryan and new OC Greg Roman (formerly of San Francisco) both have a history of running ball control, run-first teams, but the Bills have serious quarterback issues. Free agent C.J. Spiller isn't likely to re-sign and the acquisition of McCoy has to be a downgrade for Fred Jackson. As for McCoy, he's still a fantasy RB1, though he carries more risk since the Buffalo offense could struggle to score points. Given the way the Eagles like to run the ball, whoever emerges as the starter in Philadelphia will carry early round value.
Nothing can be finalized until next week, but if the trade does indeed go through, it's a blockbuster. This looks like a system downgrade for McCoy, who ran much better later in the season once his offensive line started to get healthy. In Buffalo, new HC Rex Ryan and new OC Greg Roman (formerly of San Francisco) both have a history of running ball control, run-first teams, but the Bills have serious quarterback issues. Free agent C.J. Spiller isn't likely to re-sign and the acquisition of McCoy has to be a downgrade for Fred Jackson. As for McCoy, he's still a fantasy RB1, though he carries more risk since the Buffalo offense could struggle to score points. Given the way the Eagles like to run the ball, whoever emerges as the starter in Philadelphia will carry early round value.
Especially catching the football. He worked hard in that department, getting maximum use out of the Jugs machine, but now it’s a mental game.
“I feel like I have a different set of hands,’’ Williams said of his 18 receptions, good for 130 yards after not catching a pass his senior year at Boston College. “I feel like I have a better grasp on how the catching mechanism is supposed to work.’’
Now comes Step 2.
“It’s not really anything physical, it’s mental,’’ Williams said. “You come into the league and it’s like, ‘I was catching passes from college quarterbacks, but now this is Eli Manning, a two-time Super Bowl MVP, who is throwing balls to Odell Beckham who has something crazy going on with his hands. He can catch them with one hand and I couldn’t even begin to think of how to accomplish that. It’s definitely a mental game, just having confidence that you are capable of it. Once you have that then you can really start working on actually catching the ball.’’
The story added that Williams is an intelligent player and is going to pick the brains of veteran running backs like Frank Gore and LeSean McCoy this offseason, along with his continuing dialogue with Giants’ veteran back Rashad Jennings. Any improvement in the pass-catching game could give Williams the edge to a more significant role next year. Jennings is approaching old age in terms of RBs (will be 30 in March) and was banged up in 2014.
Monday, December 29, 2014, 12:47pm
Traded to the Eagles last offseason by the New Orleans Saints, Darren Sproles was supposed to create a dynamic backfield with Pro Bowl running back LeSean McCoy. Together, the two were supposed to be a nightmare for opposing defenses.
A vision that never came to fruition.
"I feel we could have done more," Sproles said of playing with McCoy, "but I don't know."
"Have us on the field the same time more," Sproles said of what he would like to see next season. "Have me do more routes out of the backfield."
Sproles was on the field for 344 total snaps in his first season with the Eagles. Of those 344 snaps, Sproles shared a backfield with McCoy only 38 times. The two were successful during their limited time together, as the offense averaged 6.5 yards per play this season with both McCoy and Sproles on the field, the story said. Sproles had double-digit touches the team's first two games but then the touches got less and less as the weeks went on. He did miss a game because of a knee injury. Sproles didn't catch a ball in three games this year and in two of those he wasn't even targeted.
McCoy initially feared it was something serious, based on the way he went down. Other players knelt around him, hoping it wasn't. McCoy eventually arose and limped off the field on his own power. He wanted to go back into the game, but the clock was winding down by that point.
The Eagles' Pro Bowl running back avoided a scare. The question now is whether that was his final carry with the team.
That question might seem absurd considering that McCoy, 26, rushed for 99 yards on Sunday to finish with 1,319 yards this season. It was the second-highest rushing total of his career, with both seasons coming under Chip Kelly. He was named to his third Pro Bowl in six seasons last week.
But McCoy is due to be paid $9.75 million with a salary-cap number of $11.95 million in 2015. That's a hefty price for a running back, and McCoy admitted that his future goes through his mind sometimes - especially after the Eagles jettisoned DeSean Jackson last offseason.
McCoy said he wants to stay and seems open to restructuring his contract after a down year. HC Chip Kelly came out Sunday and said he wants Shady back in the fold for 2015, so a departure seems unlikely at this point.
Monday, December 8, 2014, 8:33am
The usually jovial McCoy, who even finds a way to crack a smile after losses, appeared lost in his own thoughts, and disinterested in the questions being asked. At the time, although odd, it was easy to explain away as disappointment over his 50-yard performance in his team's 24-14 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
"Just didn't focus today," McCoy explained. "Wasn't there."
Later, he would explain further why his head was elsewhere both during his post game media session, and during the team's loss.
“I really wanted to play great in his name today," McCoy explained to Birds 24/7". "I didn’t."
Who did McCoy want to play great for? That would be McCoy's cousin, who the running back tragically lost due to an automobile accident late last week. The death was the reason McCoy missed practice on Friday, which at the time was explained only as personal reasons by the team.
It's hard to tell if that really had an affect on McCoy's play in Week 14. He lost a very key fumble on the opening possession of the second half. But it was a tough matchup coming in and McCoy has been up and down much of this season. McCoy's potential for Week 15 looks much brighter - a home, prime time matchup against Dallas.
Friday, December 5, 2014, 6:38pm
Eagles RB LeSean McCoy (not injury related) missed practice Friday. He missed practice due to personal reasons. He’s fully expected to play on Sunday.
"Am I the same player? That's for you to figure out," McCoy said before leaving the podium. "That's crazy. Am I the same player? Yeah, I'm the same player.''
That assessment isn't showing up in the box score, but it was backed up by center Jason Kelce on Friday.
"I think LeSean is the same running back as he was last year," Kelce said on 94WIP. "I don’t think he’s changed one bit."
As to why McCoy's average per carry has dropped from 5.1 to 3.7, Kelce said the blame falls on the offensive line.
“Every running back is going to miss a few [holes],” Kelce said. “LeSean isn’t missing anymore [holes] than he did last year...I think the biggest thing is that we haven’t given him the amount of opportunities and the holes that he was given last year."
McCoy has been hounded by local media as to whether or not he's lost a step after a down season from 2013. He's also none-to-pleased to answer the question. Those who follow the team, for the most part, don't think McCoy has lost anything. The general feeling teams are trying to take away McCoy and make the Eagles beat them with the pass, something Nick Foles has struggled to do this season and Mark Sanchez wasn't great last week against Green Bay. Owners keep waiting for McCoy to bust out but that may not happen if defenses continue to play McCoy the way they apparently have.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014, 9:35am
Something still is wrong with the Eagles' running game, 2 weeks into the return of Evan Mathis from an MCL injury and 3 weeks since Jason Kelce returned from abdominal surgery.
LeSean McCoy gained 155 yards on 25 carries when the Eagles won at Green Bay last November. Sunday, he slogged to 88 on 23. Same defense, except Clay Matthews had two healthy hands this time and was playing inside most of the time Sunday. Same offensive line, except for Matt Tobin replacing Todd Herremans.
"It was just a combination," HC Chip Kelly said yesterday, asked what he saw hindering the run game when he reviewed film of Sunday's 53-20 loss to the Packers, who came in ranked 30th in the NFL against the run. "There were times where it was blocked up pretty good and we hit a couple in there, and then there were some other times where we're just slipping off of blocks. We're not sustaining blocks or hitting it the right way."
Asked what McCoy can do better, Kelly said he couldn't specify one thing, but did think McCoy was patient, something that hasn't always been the case with the RB this season. Darren Sproles is averaging 6.8 yards per carry in very limited work behind the same line, but Kelly spoke enigmatically of "the rotation" and asserted that "LeSean is our guy." Asked why Sproles gets so few touches, Kelly said: "Yeah, I just don't think we're running the ball well overall." McCoy continues to get his 20-plus carries and while the yards have been OK as of late, he has just one TD in his last five games and just two overall. Sproles has just been getting a handful of touches since seeing double-digit touches very early in the season.
- Page 1