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Breaking Down LeSean McCoy's Chances of Rushing for 2,000 Yards

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Breaking Down LeSean McCoy's Chances of Rushing for 2,000 Yards
USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy thinks he can rush for 2,000 yards in 2014, and although he was probably being rhetorical when he asked his Twitter followers whether he'll reach that mark, we've decided to break down Shady's chances of becoming the eighth back in NFL history to do so. 

 

Working in his favor

He's 26 years old

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In other words, he's basically in his prime. Sadly, in a year or two, he'll be on the decline. A few years ago, he hadn't fully matured as an NFL running back. This is indeed his time. The average age of the seven backs who surpassed the 2,000-yard mark? You guessed it, 26. 

Chip Kelly

Kelly's offense was close to unstoppable last year, and he loves to run the ball. The Eagles were one of only four teams with 500-plus rushing attempts, and they led the league by a wide margin with 2,566 rushing yards and 5.1 yards per carry.

If Kelly introduces some new wrinkles and keeps featuring McCoy in 2014, he'll likely lead the league in rushing again. 

He fell only a few hundred yards short last season

393, if we're being specific. But McCoy finished stronger than he started, averaging 118.5 yards per game during the final seven weeks of the season. At that pace, he'd have 1,897 yards over the course an entire year. That number is still lower than 2,000, but we're getting pretty close. 

 

Working against him

Only seven guys have done it

So basically, all of the stars have to align. Only twice in five years has McCoy made it through an entire 16-game season, and if he can't do that this year, 2,000 yards probably isn't in the cards. Six of the seven backs who have hit that mark did so in full 16-game campaigns, with O.J. Simpson serving as a 14-game exception in 1973. 

The 2,000-yard Club vs. LeSean McCoy in 2013
Player Year Age Games Yards YPC Carries
Eric Dickerson 1984 24 16 2105 5.6 379
Adrian Peterson 2012 27 16 2097 6.0 348
Jamal Lewis 2003 24 16 2066 5.3 387
Barry Sanders 1997 29 16 2053 6.1 335
Terrell Davis 1998 26 16 2008 5.1 392
Chris Johnson 2009 24 16 2006 5.6 358
O.J. Simpson 1973 26 14 2003 6.0 332
LeSean McCoy 2013 25 16 1607 5.1 314

Pro Football Reference

Darren Sproles

Even with DeSean Jackson gone, the Eagles are loaded with offensive weapons. The newest is Sproles, who was acquired in an offseason trade with the New Orleans Saints. McCoy ran the ball a career-high 314 times last season, and he's likely to lose at least some reps to Sproles this year. That doesn't bode well when you consider that no back has hit 2,000 yards without at least 332 rushing attempts. 

Even if we generously project that McCoy carries it 314 times again, he'd need to average 6.4 yards per rush in order to hit 2,000. No back in NFL history has averaged more than 6.1 yards per carry on a minimum of 300 attempts. 

He's used too frequently as a receiver

McCoy actually did hit 2,000 yards for the first time last year. That's if you're looking at his total yards from scrimmage, which also led the NFL at 2,146. Because he had 539 yards on 52 catches in 2013, McCoy might be better off shooting for the 2,500 mark in terms of rushing and receiving yards.

That's a plateau that has only been hit by Chris Johnson, who set an NFL record with 2,509 yards from scrimmage in 2009. 

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