"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.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014, 8:25pm
Foster has caught 24 passes on those routes for 166 yards, which ranks 13th in the league among running backs. Foster also has two receiving touchdowns, more than all running backs except Ahmad Bradshaw, Forte and Marshawn Lynch.
Darren Sproles injured his knee in the team’s Week 6 win over the Giants and wound up being listed as questionable for last week’s game after spending the bye week rehabbing the injury. The team ultimately decided not to play him, however.
Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Sproles said things would be different against the Texans. Sproles practiced on Tuesday and said afterward that he will be in the lineup when the game kicks off in Houston.
With Chris Polk active, the team decided to rest Sproles another week. Polk had three carries and a catch while spelling LeSean McCoy against Arizona - his first offensive touches of the season. Sproles had seven carries in each of his last two games, but hasn't recorded a catch since Week 4.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014, 1:46pm
According to Redskins beat writers from CSN Washington, HC Jay Gruden seems to be losing his patience with the stagnant running game.
“Where do you want me to start?” he said Monday, asked what’s wrong with the ground attack.
But after saying Alfred Morris has missed some cutback opportunities in addition to numerous other systemic breakdowns, Gruden also gave Morris a vote of confidence, saying, “We still like Alfred. We still feel like he’s going to carry us to where we need to go.”
So it doesn’t sound to me like making a change is even in the discussion.
The normally consistent Morris has been anything but this year. It's a similar situation where LeSean McCoy is struggling but Darren Sproles has fewer carries but a higher yards per carry average. The same can be said for Roy Helu and Morris in Washington. Helu's carries are far and few between, but he's performing better behind a bad offensive line. The schedule does ease for the short term so we'll see if the team can get some momentum in the running game. The possible return of Robert Griffin III at QB could also help.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014, 12:46pm
There’s been chatter around Baltimore as to who the Ravens’ top running back is in their strong rushing game. On Sunday in Tampa Bay, Forsett took another step in proving he’s the guy.
Forsett and the now healthy Pierce split the carries – Forsett got 14 and Pierce had 15. But Forsett took his for 111 yards (7.9 yard average), and Pierce totaled 32 yards (2.1 average) and a touchdown on his attempts.
Forsett got his fourth straight start, and kick-started the Ravens offense with a 52-yard jaunt on their second play of the game.
Forsett, who still leads the NFL in average yards per carry (6.4), hadn’t logged a 100-yard game since 2009, his second year in the league when he was with the Seattle Seahawks. Forsett is fifth in the NFL with 408 rushing yards, trailing only Dallas' DeMarco Murray, Pittsburgh's Le'Veon Bell, Houston's Arian Foster and Philadelphia's LeSean McCoy. It didn't appear Forsett would step up to the lead role and keep it with the younger Pierce and rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro as part of the running attack. For now, Forsett is taking advantage of his opportunities despite splitting carries with Pierce.
Still a team source told NJ.com that Sproles' injury "does not look good.'' Asked how bad it was, the source responded, "it's not good.''
Sproles catches a break with the Eagles on the bye next week. His status for Arizona, Oct. 26 and beyond won't be determined until the team comes back from the bye to practice, Oct. 21.
Other reports said Sproles was joking with teammates in the locker room. Sproles did walk off the field and to the locker room under his own power but it looks like owners will have to wait and see how long he could be out. He was scheduled for an MRI Monday. The Eagles have a bye in Week 7 before coming back to play the Cardinals in Week 8. The Birds will likely bring in another RB with Chris Polk (hamstring) inactive for Week 6. LeSean McCoy will see plenty of touches if Sproles is out any length of time.
Saturday, October 11, 2014, 8:10am
Eagles RB LeSean McCoy was ready.
It was late, the game was on the line, and he wanted the ball. But his number wasn't called, and he seethed.
"Yeah, I was hot. I mean, who wouldn't want the ball?" McCoy said. "I wasn't [angry], but I thought I was getting it."
While the running back's reaction may seem like a reversal from statements he made this past week, the pivotal moment in question wasn't the Eagles' late-game decision to go with Darren Sproles over McCoy against the Rams last Sunday.
It happened a week earlier against the 49ers. The Eagles, trailing by five points, drove down the field. A McCoy 5-yard carry on second down put them 11/2 yards from the goal line. During the two-minute warning, McCoy said he was told he would get the ball.
That's been back-to-back games the Eagles haven't gone with their stud RB in key situations. Last week a lot was made over the Eagles taking out McCoy for Sproles later in the game to kill the clock. Sproles busted off a long run for a first down and never came out of the game after that. The issue with McCoy has been dancing around and looking for room that often isn't there behind a banged up line. He seems to refuse to take what little is there and will try to make more. While Sproles, on the other hand, is taking what's there. McCoy is going to get his carries and still finished with 24 and four catches, but the team isn't afraid to use Sproles at just about any time in the game.
Eagles beat writer Phil Sheridan says that instability of the team's offensive line is to blame for LeSean McCoy's struggles: The unit that started the same five guys in all 17 games in 2013 will start the same five guys twice in a row for the first time this season Sunday night. And that five will not include starting center Jason Kelce and left guard Evan Mathis, who will be out for another month or so. With the line in flux, LeSean McCoy has looked totally ordinary and Foles has not resembled his 2013 self.
The good news is that the unit should get healthier as the season wears on, which makes McCoy an attractive "buy low" candidate if the price is right. He does have two matchups with a leaky Cowboys defense in Week 13 and Week 15. On the flip side, he also faces the Seahawks in Week 14.
Tuesday, October 7, 2014, 9:12pm
"They called me out. Duce pulled me out," McCoy said. "For the most part, if I'm tired, I come out. Then Sproles has his different packages, he has his plays to come in, but the majority of the time, it's just how I'm feeling.
"That was kind of the first time - well, every once in a while, Duce might pull me out and let Sproles get in. One thing about Duce, I trust his judgment. If he feels like I'm tired . . . He pulled me out for a reason. I didn't argue it, because I trust him. He's been with me here since Day 1. It worked out."
McCoy originally said he took himself out of the game but then changed his story. As McCoy noted, Sproles popped a 25-yarder his first play after replacing McCoy, the Eagles' longest offensive gain of the day, helping boost his total to 51 yards on just seven carries, 7.3 yards per carry. McCoy gained 81 yards on 24 carries, 3.4 yards per carry, which wasn't great but certainly was better than the 39 yards on 29 carries he'd managed over the 2 previous weeks.
Last season's starting right tackle for the Eagles, Lane Johnson, finally returns this weekend after serving a four game suspension. That is big news for RB LeSean McCoy, as Johnson was one of the best running blocking lineman on the team last season when the running back lead the league in rushing. It also allows the Eagles to be more balanced in their approach, as they can run behind both Johnson and left tackle Jason Peters now, instead of running just to the left, which they have done more of this season.
Johnson being back not only helps the Eagles at tackle, but also at guard, as it allows veteran Todd Herremans to move back to his natural position at right guard. Herremans had been playing some tackle with Johnson suspended and other players injured, but now he gets the chance to move back inside. That gives McCoy his entire right side of the line back.
"I am so used to those guys," McCoy said, "and I know how well they block."
Johnson was a good run blocker in 2013, though he struggled in pass protection. Still, his return is a good boost for an offensive line that has been decimated by injury. The Rams are #10 in RB aFPA, though they have yielded 5.1 YPC and four rushing touchdowns in three games. We're not expecting a monster game from McCoy, but he should fare better than he did in the last two weeks.
Playing behind a patch-work offensive line, Eagles QB Nick Foles has taken plenty of hits these past two weeks, and it is now a common occurrence for him to be seen stretching out his left shoulder between plays and on the sideline.
When asked on Tuesday if the shoulder was bothering him, or affecting his accuracy, Foles wouldn't go into detail on how much his shoulder was actually bothering him.
"You get hit a couple times, there is definitely some soreness," Foles said. "You are going to get hit, you are going to have soreness, but I feel good.
"It's a shield. It takes a beating. You gotta be able to put it up when someone is coming in, and you are delivering a ball. I can't throw a football very well with my left arm, but you have to have it to defend defenders and deliver the ball."
It hasn't helped Foles that RB LeSean McCoy has been non-existent the past two weeks. He's had to throw more and is taking a beating as a result. The good news is Lane Johnson, the team's RT, returned this week from suspension and will start, but could be rusty. Foles was clear that the soreness he is experiencing is "not at all" responsible for his decline in play, a decline that has been a steep one from last season.
"I think it's different how they're playing us this year," Kelly told reporters. "We've seen different looks in terms of the three games we've played this year compared to last year. I think LeSean's doing everything possible. Again, if that's how you're going to do it, and we're going to end up with 30-whatever points a game and continue to be productive on the offensive side of the ball, it's ultimately that. But also you're down four linemen that you had that were running in front of him last year, too. So I think sometimes when we're running the play, there is a lot better push at the point of attack, and that doesn't have anything to do with the running back from that standpoint. It's kind of what it is right now."
The offensive line will be without Evan Mathis and Jason Kelce for the next month and a half, but Lane Johnson will soon return from suspension. He faces the 49ers this week and the Cardinals in Week 8, but otherwise his upcoming schedule looks pretty soft. He also faces the Cowboys twice (Week 13 and Week 15) down the stretch.
Tuesday, September 23, 2014, 1:57pm
Current offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur was the quarterback coach for the Eagles back when Andy Reid was head coach.
That was a time when, as former running back Dorsey Levens once put it, the Eagles ran the ball "just give the wide receivers a rest.''
After stops in St. Louis, as offensive coordinator, and Cleveland, as head coach, Shurmur is back with the Eagles as Chip Kelly's offensive coordinator where the running game has become a staple of the offense.
Even when it's not working.
"We believe in the running game,'' Shurmur said before Tuesday's practice. "We're going to run the football.''
LeSean McCoy has struggled this year, but especially last week where he averaged 1.1 yard a carry against the Redskins. Even the Eagles passing attack isn't opening up holes. The line is really banged up, too, with Lane Johnson suspended and Evan Mathis and now Jason Kelce expected to miss several weeks.
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