Philadelphia Eagles: LeSean McCoy in Position for Career Year
Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy might be the best running back that nobody talks about. The Eagles' Pro Bowl running back is coming off a disappointing 2012 season in which he missed four games, and the team as a whole collapsed.
However, in 2013, McCoy appears to be ready to rebound with his best season yet. These slides will outline the reasons that McCoy could potentially have a career year. A prediction for McCoy's 2013 statistics can be found in the conclusion.
What Would Constitute a Career Year?
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LeSean McCoy's current career-best year came in 2011, when he set career highs in rushing yards, rushing touchdowns and total touchdowns. His statistics from that season are as follows:
273 rushing attempts, 1,309 rushing yards, 17 rushing touchdowns
48 receptions, 315 receiving yards, 3 receiving touchdowns.
In order to have a career year, McCoy will have to put together an all-around season that is superior to 2011.
Healthy Offensive Line
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One of the many issues for the Philadelphia Eagles last year was that the starting offensive line simply was not healthy.
All Pro left tackle Jason Peters missed the entire season with a ruptured Achilles tendon. Starting center Jason Kelce missed all but two games with injuries to both his ACL and MCL. Todd Herremans, who was the starting right tackle last season, missed the last eight games of the season with an ankle injury. Danny Watkins, who was a draft bust anyway, missed a large chunk of the season with ankle issues.
While nobody can predict when injuries will strike, the offensive line figures to be much healthier and improved in 2012.
First-round pick Lane Johnson will start at right tackle, pushing Herremans to his more natural position of guard. More importantly, this puts Watkins on the bench.
Peters will make his return to the Eagles starting lineup this Saturday against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Kelce has already returned, which means the line as a whole will be much better.
All of this news is music to McCoy's ears. An improved line means better run blocking, more holes to run through and more yards and touchdowns for McCoy.
One of the criticisms of former Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid was that Reid was overly reliant on his passing game. The proof is in the numbers.
Last season, the Eagles had 666 offensive plays that ended in a pass attempt or a sack (618 pass attempts, 48 sacks). At the same time, the Eagles only had 413 offensive plays that ended in a rush attempt. That means the Eagles were throwing about 62 percent of the time, which is way too high.
While part of that disparity is due to the fact that the Eagles were behind a lot last year, it's mostly due to Reid's fondness for passing the football, often at the expense of the running game.
Only time will tell if Chip Kelly is a successful NFL coach, but one thing that he has that Reid does not is a willingness to run the ball more frequently.
Through two preseason games, a similar computation shows that the Eagles are passing the ball at a much more reasonable rate, with only 56.7 percent of Eagles' plays ending in a pass attempt or sack. More running plays means more touches for McCoy, which means greater potential for McCoy to have a career season.
Underrated and Underappreciated
After his career season in 2011, McCoy was rightly regarded as one of the best running backs in the NFL by the fans and media. However, the disaster that was the Philadelphia Eagles 2012 season has caused a lot of people to forget how good McCoy truly is.
Obviously, Adrian Peterson is the best running back in football right now and for the foreseeable future. However, when healthy, McCoy has a legitimate case to be considered the second best.
In NFL Network's Top 100 Players of 2013, McCoy was ranked as the seventh best running back in the NFL, behind Peterson, Arian Foster, Ray Rice, Jamaal Charles, Marshawn Lynch and Frank Gore (in that order).
Expect McCoy to start the season hungry to remind people of how much of a special talent he really is. With that motivation, he will likely reclaim his spot as a top five running back during the 2013 season.
My Prediction for LeSean McCoy's Season
The fun part about football is making predictions, so I will attempt to predict LeSean McCoy's stat line for 2013. Assuming he plays all 16 games, my prediction for McCoy's statistics are as follows:
330 carries, 1,683 yards, 5.1 yards per attempt, 14 rushing touchdowns
60 receptions, 450 yards, 3 receiving touchdowns.
Thanks for Reading
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Thank you for reading my slideshow!
Do you think LeSean McCoy will have a career year? Do you disagree? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section!