As the Bills implement a new offense, questions remain regarding whether running back LeSean McCoy will be able to adjust his running style to the one-cut approach that coordinator Rick Dennison employs. There’s no question about McCoy’s level of excitement regarding the new air attack in Buffalo.
“The running backs getting the ball in the passing game,” McCoy told reporters on Thursday. “That’s something I’ve been a part of, but it’s been a while since I’ve actually got the ball a lot in the air — we do a lot of that. [Rick Dennison is] big on that, you look at all the successful running backs that’s been in his offense, from Arian Foster who I’m a big fan of, he did it on the ground and in the air.”
Dennison's offenses in Denver didn't feature the running back in a big way over the last two seasons, but while he was the OC in Houston, Arian Foster averaged 3.1 receptions per game from 2011 to 2013. That's a 50-catch pace, which happens to be how many receptions McCoy had last year under offensive coordinators Greg Roman and Anthony Lynn. In other words, we're not expecting a sea change in McCoy's involvement in the passing game. (McCoy does have big upside as a receiver -- he caught 78 passes in his second season in Philly.)
Over the past two seasons, he has gained 844 yards on 148 carries (5.7 YPC) and found the end zone 12 times (11 rush, 1 rec). In fact, among running backs with at least eight rush attempts inside the opponent's 5-yard line over the past two seasons, Gillislee is tied with LeVeon Bell for the highest touchdown conversion rate (70.0%) in the league. Gillislee's arrival takes a lot of the wind out of Rex Burkhead's sails. Burkhead was probably going to see most of the goal line work, but given Gillislee's talents in that are, he'll probably handle those duties. Double digit touchdowns are possible if Gillislee holds down that role for the entire year. It's going to be tough to predict the Patriots' backfield on a weekly basis. In Buffalo, this cements LeSean McCoy's status as a top 5 fantasy back since he's now likely to see an increase in goal line attempts. Jonathan Williams likely serves as his primary back up, though the Bills may address the position in the draft.
It’s still unclear why running back LeSean McCoy was the lone member of the Bills to not show up for the first day of the team’s offseason program. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, however, McCoy didn’t stay away due to his contract.
The Bills, despite a potentially significant change to the rushing philosophy under offensive coordinator Rick Dennison, have made it clear they want McCoy. And McCoy apparently isn’t trying to send them a message. The workouts are voluntary and he risks losing $250,000 worth of workout bonuses if he doesn't meet the threshold specified in his contract.
Reports said McCoy wanted to get back in the game but there was no reason for that. McCoy had a great fantasy year and should be a top back next summer when drafts come around.
Friday, December 30, 2016, 6:42pm
Friday, December 23, 2016, 5:51pm
Thursday, December 22, 2016, 6:27pm
Wednesday, December 21, 2016, 6:42pm
Thursday, December 1, 2016, 6:10pm
Bills RB Mike Gillislee (hamstring) took limited practice reps again Thursday. It appears that Gillislee may be able to return this week. It may put a slight dent in LeSean McCoy’s touches as the Bills try to keep him healthy.
Wednesday, November 30, 2016, 6:36pm
Bills RB Mike Gillislee (hamstring) took limited practice reps Wednesday. It appears that Gillislee may be able to return this week. It may put a slight dent in LeSean McCoy’s touches as the Bills try to keep him healthy.
Friday, November 25, 2016, 6:43pm
Bills RB Mike Gillislee (hamstring, out) missed practice again Friday and is out for Week 12. With Gillislee out, LeSean McCoy should see a big workload against the Jaguars. Jonathan Williams and Reggie Bush are the backups.
Friday, November 25, 2016, 6:43pm
Bills RB LeSean McCoy (thumb, questionable) took limited practice reps all week and is questionable for Week 12. McCoy had surgery this week but is expected to play. With Mike Gillislee out, McCoy figures to see a big workload.
Wednesday, November 23, 2016, 8:58pm
Bills RB LeSean McCoy (thumb) took limited practice reps Wednesday. McCoy had surgery this week but is expected to play. He may yield a few touches to Mike Gillislee, but we’re expecting a near-normal workload at this point.
The Bills didn’t waste any time getting LeSean McCoy’s dislocated left thumb properly back in place. The feature back underwent a surgical procedure on Sunday night and will have a chance to play on Sunday against Jacksonville.
“We’ll see how he progresses through the week,” said head coach Rex Ryan. “It would be big for us (to have him play) obviously. I think right now he’s playing as well as any back in the league. That would be nice if he actually is going to play. That would be great for us.”
McCoy got off to a fast start this past Sunday against Cincinnati averaging more than six and a half yards a carry with a touchdown, but dislocated his thumb late in the first half and didn’t return when the medical staff couldn’t pop his thumb joint back in.
Ryan would not put a percentage on McCoy’s chances of playing Sunday against the Jaguars, but admitted he was more encouraged.
This is certainly good news but also worth monitoring this week. McCoy was poised for a pretty nice day before leaving with a dislocated thumb and never returning in Week 11.
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