Extra Points: Titans prove to be a tonic for McCoy

Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) – “I’m not gonna address that.”

That was the surly response from a disgruntled LeSean McCoy to former Eagle
and current radio host Ike Reese’s suggestion that the 2013 NFL rushing champ
had lost a step.

The uncomfortable exchange came during McCoy’s weekly appearance with Reese
last Monday and highlighted the frustration Shady has been feeling a year
after piling up 1,607 yards on 5.1 yards per carry with nine touchdowns for

McCoy’s reaction, however, shouldn’t cloud the fact that the narrative was
certainly something Reese should have explored.

While McCoy is only 26 years old, far from the demarcation line of 30 that
signals the downside of a running back’s production. He did touch the
football 391 times last season when you include the playoffs, a workload that
would test the mettle of anyone’s legs.

Coming into Sunday’s game with Tennessee, a 43-24 Philadelphia blowout that
lifted McCoy’s Eagles to 8-3 on the season, he had rushed for 729 yards and
two touchdowns on 196 carries, a paltry 3.7 yards per carry, 38th in the NFL.

McCoy did have a four-game stretch in which he averaged more than 100 yards
per game and looked like his old self but he’s also failed to record 4.0 yards
per carry in six different contests.

He’s been so ordinary in fact that the film review-based website Pro Football
Focus ranked him 56th of the 61 NFL running backs that have seen significant
action this season, a far cry from his All-Pro nod in ’13.

Eagles coach Chip Kelly, meanwhile, has taken away some red-zone snaps in
favor of the 5-foot-6, 190-pound Darren Sproles, hardly the traditional goal-
line thumper.

“Listen, I don’t care what’s out there. I’m not going to address, ‘Am I the
same player?’ I don’t address that. For what?” an annoyed McCoy said on
Wednesday before then pumping the brakes and actually addressing it.

“What are we sitting here talking about,” McCoy continued. “Am I the same
player? That’s for ya’all to figure out. You crazy? Am I the same player? I am
the same player.”

McCoy then exited, stage left.

His response Sunday was less petulant and far more emphatic as the Pitt
product hung his hat on production, laying a 130-yard spot on the embattled
Titans. He also needed just 21 carries and three quarters to do it, compiling
an impressive 6.2 yards per attempt.

“I though McCoy did a good job hitting the hole today,” Kelly said, perhaps
alluding to the fact many believe his star back has been indecisive at times.
“We’ve got a lot of confidence in LeSean and will always have confidence in
him, as long as he’s healthy.”

Detractors will point to the fact that those same Titans allowed the explosive
Le’Veon Bell to rush for 204 yards just six days ago and say McCoy ripped
off one big run (a 53-yarder in the second quarter) against one of the game’s
worst run defenses.

The numbers weren’t the important part, though. McCoy’s legs looked fresh, and
the vaunted cut-back ability was on display as he turned Titans safety Michael
Griffin into a top on one third-quarter run.

“It’s very frustrating,” Tennessee defensive tackle Jurrell Casey said of his
team’s inability to slow down McCoy. “It’s something that we harp on week in
and week out, trying to stop the run. It all comes down to missed tackles and
gap fits.”

To be fair to McCoy, he has been running behind an injury-plagued offensive
line for much of the season and has been stationed behind a very inconsistent
quarterback, be it Nick Foles or Mark Sanchez. Meanwhile, the absence of
field-stretcher DeSean Jackson, who now calls the Beltway home, shouldn’t be

“I’ve had to earn everything I get this year,” McCoy said. “I don’t think
anything has changed. No matter what the circumstance is or what’s going
on, I’ve learned that doesn’t matter. All that matters is what you’re
doing lately.”

And “lately” says 130 yards and a score, numbers most backs will take.

The next step for McCoy is consistency and putting together a similar
performance in Dallas on the national stage that is Thanksgiving Day might
halt all the questions alluding to his decline.