Can LeSean McCoy Carry a Michael Vick-Less Philadelphia Eagles Team?

Mike BurkeCorrespondent ISeptember 27, 2011

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Running back LeSean McCoy #25 of the Philadelphia Eagles scores a touchdown against the New York Giants during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field on September 25, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Although Michael Vick's injury status was seriously downgraded when it was determined his hand is actually bruised, not broken, you still have to wonder how this team would function without him.

At this point, it's not guaranteed that Vick will play on Sunday against the 49ers. Indications are that he will play, and you have to believe he wants to play being the type of competitor he is.

However, over the past couple weeks and even looking forward, you can't help but wondering how successful the Eagles offense can be without him. Regardless of whether Mike Kafka or Vince Young would take over at quarterback, you can't be as confident as when Vick is in there.

In this type of scenario, other players need to step up. The Eagles have plenty of weapons on offense, but LeSean McCoy would have the offense put on his shoulders if the Eagles have to play without Vick.

To start, establishing a run game helps any quarterback no matter who they are. If a defense is worrying about stopping the run, it opens up things in the passing game.

McCoy has been very good running the football this year, carrying the ball 57 times for 345 yards through the first three games. These are great numbers, but don't even do him justice. There have been many occurrences this season where it looked like McCoy would be dropped in the backfield but turned the play into a positive gain.

Although his numbers don't reflect so much this season, we're also aware of how strong McCoy is catching the ball out of the backfield. He only has nine receptions through three games this year, but he had a total of 78 receptions in 2010.

If Kafka were called upon to make a start for the Eagles, McCoy is the perfect type of safety net. He can be used as a guy to establish a run game, but can also be checked down to as a receiver if nothing is open and still make a play.

If Young needed to step in, I think we'd see much of the same. He has a lot more experience than Kafka, but I think he lacks confidence right now. A healthy run game and some short passes to move the chains would help to get him into the flow of the game.

Don't get me wrong, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are great players. However, they can't carry the Eagles offense anywhere near the level that LeSean McCoy can.