Philadelphia Eagles

Nick Foles' Emergence Opens Door for Huge Finish from LeSean McCoy

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 23:  Nick Foles #9 hands the ball off to LeSean McCoy #25 of the Philadelphia Eagles against the Washington Redskins at Lincoln Financial Field on December 23, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)
Alex Trautwig/Getty Images
Yueh HoCorrespondent INovember 21, 2013

With already 1,009 yards rushing, LeSean McCoy has reasserted himself as one of the best running backs in the NFL. Some attributed his success to Michael Vick posing a running threat to opposing defenses, but McCoy has been able to find success with pocket passer Nick Foles too.

And now, entering the bye week, McCoy is poised for his biggest finish yet. Once seen as a hindrance to McCoy, Foles' playing style will actually open up even more opportunities for the running back to make big plays. 

It's a bit of a myth that Chip Kelly's offense requires a scrambling quarterback to succeed. Kelly's offense is much more reliant upon quick decision-making. That way it can keep a fast tempo and wear down opposing defenses.

Nick Foles may not be the fastest quarterback, but he's efficient enough on the ground that defenses must account for him.
Nick Foles may not be the fastest quarterback, but he's efficient enough on the ground that defenses must account for him.Rob Carr/Getty Images

Nothing stalls an offense more than an incompleted pass. In this area, Foles clearly has Vick beat, completing 63.6 percent of his passes versus Vick's meager 54.6 percent. With Foles, defenders must account more for the pass, and this will open up more holes for McCoy.

It's no coincidence that ever since Foles' seven-touchdown performance against Oakland, McCoy has rushed for 155 yards against the Green Bay Packers and 77 yards against the Washington Redskins. Defenses are game-planning more for Foles, and McCoy is taking advantage.

In fact, McCoy's breakout season in 2010 was largely the result of efficient play from Vick that year. The MVP-candidate Vick completed 62.6 percent of his passes, and McCoy went on to have a tremendous year. Now that Foles is emerging as a potential franchise quarterback, we can expect the Eagles' running back to finish strong.

But it's not just Foles' passing that will help McCoy, but also the QB's running. 

That may seem outlandish, since Foles runs only a 5.03 40-yard dash time. But Kelly's offense is based just as much on the threat of a quarterback running than the actual quarterback run itself.

The threat of a quarterback taking off forces defenses to spy him or to try to overload a side of the formation, and it is in those situations that Kelly's zone-option runs are most lethal. If the quarterback makes the right read, McCoy is given space or just one defender to beat, and no one beats defenders one-on-one better than Shady.

And when Foles is asked to run, he has shown that he can get yards when he has open space. He currently is averaging 4.1 yards per carry and has two rushing touchdowns. He is deceptively athletic, and his touchdown run last week against Washington shows that.

He is a legitimate threat to run, and defenses have to account for him on the ground.

Foles has shown himself to be the superior passer, both in release time and in accuracy, and a threat to run with the football. With those traits, Kelly's offense will continue to flourish. Therefore, we can expect McCoy to keep up his strong play and finish the season strong.

Just in time to get hot for the postseason.

 

Follow Yueh Ho on Twitter @YuehHo

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