As the debate rages on between the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants on whether or not the hits on Michael Vick were legal, there is one player gliding under the radar. Philadelphia is so caught up in the Vick hype, and the negative images of what the offense will be without him, no one is seeing the secret weapon. People will point to Vick and DeSean Jackson as the true offensive talent in Philadelphia, but that is not entirely the case. Enter — LeSean McCoy.
Since being drafted out of Pittsburgh, McCoy has been a model of consistency. Even during his rookie season, most of which was playing behind Eagles legend Brian Westbrook, McCoy was able to make an on-field impact. After being handed the starting role, McCoy has been nothing short of amazing, and has lived up to every expectation set and then some. No matter how Andy Reid uses McCoy, he excels and always manages to impress.
The issue is that Reid runs the West Coast offense. An offense that emphasizes the passing game over the rushing attack. An offense that holds the theory of, pass the ball relentlessly to get a lead, and then run the ball to close out of the game. The West Coast style works great, almost perfect in fact, when a team has three things — A solid receiving corps, a good offensive line, and a healthy quarterback.
Philadelphia meets one of those requirements. That being the current set of receivers. In case Reid and the Eagles haven’t noticed, the offensive line is still bad. They give up way too many sacks and hits on Vick, and can’t pick-up blitzes to safe their life. Vick being hurt is simply a product of poor offensive line play, and the Eagles wouldn’t be in this situation had they bulked up on offensive line talent in free agency.
The good news is — McCoy doesn’t even need a good offensive line. Shady is so quick out of the backfield, and so great at cutbacks, that most of the time the offensive line isn’t even a factor until he is 5-10 yards down the field. McCoy is able to make something out of nothing, and maybe one of the best running backs in the NFL at improvisation after being handed the ball.
McCoy has touched the ball this season 57 times, has ran for 345 yards, and scored four touchdowns. Impressive stats for only being three weeks into the season, and for playing on a team that has two losses. Not to mention that McCoy is a complete and total weapon out of the backfield as a receiver, and is a perfect running back in the screen game, catching nine passes for 50 yards and a touchdown.
Why is Reid not utilizing McCoy more frequently?
The situation that Philadelphia has been put in — Vick being hit every other play, Vick being injured, a generally sluggish offense — Reid needs to start looking towards McCoy more. Not only handing the ball off more to McCoy, but handing the ball off earlier in the game. There is no reason to have Vick, who is reportedly going to start Sunday, drop back the entire game and get rocked on every single snap.
McCoy needs to be the man to step up on an Eagles offense that is struggling. The only thing holding him back is Reid’s offensive play-calling and the lack of faith in the running game in Philadelphia. If Reid has any intentions of keeping Vick healthy this entire season, which he has failed at in the first three weeks, he needs to place the ball into McCoy’s hands early and often.
At least for the time being, Philadelphia needs to utilize their future Pro-Bowl running back.