LeSean McCoy and the NFL's 5 Most Underused Players
LeSean McCoy is a severely underutilized piece of the Philadelphia Eagle's offensive puzzle. That may largely be due to the Eagles' offensive line struggles, but the fact remains that he is not being given the ball nearly enough.
And he is not alone.
Across the NFL there are five players that are being underused by their respective NFL teams and deserve more of a chance to shine.
Curious as to who?
Let's start with two players from the AFC North division...
5. Josh Cribbs
Josh Cribbs has amassed an impressive 962 kick return yards this season for the Cleveland Browns, but did you know he is also a receiver?
Cribbs has just six catches for 54 yards on the season and has been targeted a mere eight times. How is this possible with all of the turmoil the Browns have gone through at the WR position?
Cribbs needs to be utilized in the slot and allowed to make plays in open space. He is too versatile a weapon not to insert frequently into the offensive game plan.
Get Cribbs the ball on reverses, screen passes, quick slants and anything else that allows him to make the type of dangerous plays he so often executes as a returner.
Cleveland has one of the most versatile players in all of football and refuses to let him play to his full potential.
Yes, he is a tremendous kick returner, but he could be so much more than that.
4. Ray Rice
In Week 9 Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron finally figured out what the rest of the world has known all along: the Ravens offense should revolve around Ray Rice.
In that contest against the Browns, Rice was given the ball 25 times, only the second game all season where he crossed the 20 carry threshold.
How can Baltimore possibly avoid handing the ball to Rice when he is averaging 4.7 yards per carry?
Hopefully Week 9 was the beginning of a renaissance for Cameron as he continues to put Rice in position to succeed.
Far too often this year the Ravens attack has become pass-happy and excluded one of the best RBs in the entire league.
This should go without saying, but good things will happen when Rice gets the ball.
3. Tony Scheffler
Tony Scheffler has never had more than 49 catches in a season and that is a shame because he averages 12.6 yards per catch when he actually does get the ball.
The Detroit Lions have a plethora of wide receivers and tight ends capable of catching the ball and giving Matthew Stafford multiple options to throw to. However, that does not mean that Scheffler is not underused within the offense.
Many would argue he has a much more reliable set of hands than No. 1 TE Brandon Pettigrew. Scheffler has ideal size at 6'5", 255 pounds and succeeds as both a blocker and a pass catcher.
If Detroit or another organization ever allows Scheffler a true chance to shine they will undoubtedly be rewarded with a tremendously talented player that can elevate an offensive attack.
2. Jared Cook
At 6'5", 248 pounds, Tennessee Titans tight end Jared Cook presents a difficult matchup for whoever has the unfortunate task of lining up across from him.
Luckily for opposing defenses, Cook has been on the sidelines for more than 50 percent of Tennessee's offensive snaps in four of the Titans first eight games.
Yet, somehow, he is third on the team with 30 catches for 379 yards and two touchdowns. Cook is averaging 13.3 yards per catch and frequently makes plays over the middle of the field.
Why is he not being used more often?
The Titans offense has gone through dry spells quite often this season and it would seem that giving more chances to Cook could remedy some of those issues.
1. LeSean McCoy
LeSean McCoy has not been given 20 carries in a game since September. That is a clear and glaring problem for the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Eagles offense is in complete disarray and instead of turning to their All-Pro RB for stability and balance, Philadelphia has increasingly kept the ball in the hands of QB Michael Vick.
This has resulted in 17 turnovers for Vick, including 9 fumbles. McCoy is simply too versatile and athletic of a player to be relegated to a smaller role within the Eagles offense. He has shown before that he can be one of the most productive backs in football.
If Philadelphia has any hope of turning around the 2012 season it would be best served to turn to its most consistent and effective offensive playmaker.
That playmaker is McCoy.