LeSean McCoy Says Bills Told Him He's Still 'The Guy' in Crowded Backfield

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 6, 2019

Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy stretches during practice at the NFL football team's training camp in Pittsford, N.Y., Thursday, July 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
Adrian Kraus/Associated Press

LeSean McCoy received assurances from the Buffalo Bills he remains a key figure in their reshuffled backfield. 

McCoy told reporters Tuesday he expects to be the team's primary option on the ground despite the offseason additions of Frank Gore, T.J. Yeldon and Devin Singletary, per Chris Brown of the team's official site:

"I'm the guy. I feel like that. That's what I've been told. That's my every day approach. We're all a team and trying to help each other out to win games, compete against each other and make each other better. Me and Frank have been competing for years. We train in the offseason and we're always trying to beat each other. I'm excited for the challenge."

McCoy logged only 195 touches, tying his career low, and averaged a personal worst 3.2 yards per carry in 2018. He also ranked 46th in DYAR (defense-adjusted yards above replacement) among the 47 running backs who had at least 100 carries, per Football Outsiders.

Despite his underwhelming campaign, McCoy's confidence isn't misplaced.

Gore turned 36 in May, so it's unrealistic to think he can continue to be an every-down back despite the fact he remains relatively consistent (4.6 yards per carry in 2018). Yeldon is coming off four mostly underwhelming years with the Jacksonville Jaguars where he failed to establish himself as a key member of the offense.

Singletary is more of a wild card. He ran for 4,287 yards and 66 touchdowns in three years at Florida Atlantic, and Bleacher Report's Matt Miller ranked him as the fifth-best running back in the 2019 draft class. Coincidentally, Miller listed McCoy as Singletary's NFL comparison:

"Singletary won't be a fit for every team, but those clubs that take advantage of his agility and receiving skills will have a threat in their backfield. Teams running an outside zone scheme would be preferred for Singletary (Philadelphia, Kansas City). He has the look of an early starter or high-rep contributor depending on the situation he's drafted into."

At the very least, McCoy is likely to open the regular season ahead of Singletary in the depth chart. The Bills released their unofficial depth chart Monday, with McCoy in the starting slot and followed by Gore and Singletary.

The six-time Pro Bowler's long-term future in Buffalo is a little murkier. He's in the last year of his contract, with Singletary the obvious successor in the event the Bills let him leave as a free agent.

For the time being, it should be business as usual for McCoy.


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