With knowledge that running back LeSean McCoy is still having symptoms two weeks after originally suffering a concussion, it's now time for the Philadelphia Eagles to shut down McCoy for the rest of the 2012 season.
According to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Eagles head coach Andy Reid said Wednesday that McCoy still has not passed his concussion test. He's also still suffering from concussion symptoms two weeks after the fact, which usually means that passing the final testing hurdle will be difficult.
Reid acknowledged that shutting down McCoy, even if healthy, remains a possibility.
For the Eagles, there's simply no need to push McCoy back or risk compounding the head injury over the final four meaningless games.
At 3-9, Philadelphia is actually better served getting a longer look at surprising rookie running back Bryce Brown over the last month of the season.
Brown, drafted in the seventh round of the 2012 draft (229th overall), has exploded onto the scene in McCoy's absence.
Over the last two weeks, Brown has an NFL-high 347 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Only three fumbles has marred a fantastic start.
In fact, it's likely that the Eagles would use Brown and McCoy together in a platoon situation if McCoy is able to come back into the fold this season. Brown has earned a role regardless of whether McCoy is healthy or not.
Giving Brown four more starts to finish the season—while protecting a top player from a very serious injury—allows the Eagles to feel very confident in their running back situation heading into the 2013 season.
Sigmund Bloom of Bleacher Report speculated Wednesday that the Eagles could use McCoy and Brown next season in the same way that the Kansas City Chiefs utilized Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones in 2010. That year, the Chiefs led the NFL in rushing, and made the postseason despite a limited quarterback situation.
With Michael Vick unlikely to be back in Philadelphia for 2013, a run-heavy approach with two young (but different) running backs makes a lot of sense.
But for the Eagles to feel comfortable in that scenario, they need McCoy to be healthy and they must get a longer look at Brown. Shelving McCoy for the rest of 2012 gives Philadelphia an opportunity to do both.
Head injuries are nothing to play around with, and it appears as if the Eagles are taking every precaution with McCoy's concussion. That's a very good sign, even if McCoy isn't progressing as fast as most would like.
The Eagles need to continue to be safe with their top offensive player moving forward.
The emergence of Brown at running back makes the decision to keep McCoy out for the rest of the season a much easier one.