October 15 Philadelphia Daily News columnist John Smallwood:
“THERE WERE a few occasions when Duce Staley convinced Eagles coach Andy Reid he should get the carries of a full-time feature back.
In 1999, Reid’s first season, he actually gave Staley 325 carries.
Of course, Donovan McNabb was a rookie quarterback that year, and journeyman Doug Pederson, who started most of the games, wasn’t suited to run Reid’s attack to its pass-happiest.
Later, Brian Westbrook was a legitimate home-run hitter as a ball-carrier, but to be fair, Reid probably was correct to be cautious about Westbrook because of his susceptibility to injury.
For the most part, however, it’s been fair to characterize Reid as appearing to have allergic reactions whenever the words “running game” were brought up concerning his offensive game plans. So why does it seem that things might be a little different with second-year running back LeSean McCoy?
The number of carries McCoy has through the first five games project to only 218 for a 16-game season – which certainly wouldn’t be out of order for a Reid back. For some reason, though, I think that if McCoy stays healthy, he will end up with significantly more.
I’m not saying he will get what Staley got in 1999, but I don’t think Reid has any intention of phasing away carries for McCoy. In fact, instead of his occasional tendencies to forget about his running back, I think Reid and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg will stay acutely aware of McCoy.
Honestly, how can they not?
Going into Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons, McCoy ranks fifth among NFL running backs with 583 yards from scrimmage. His 365 rushing yards rank 12th, but every back in front of him has at least 20 more carries. McCoy’s 5.4 yards per carry rank fifth in the league, and his five rushing touchdowns are second to Tennessee’s Chris Johnson (six). In a real sense, McCoy is making it impossible for his offensive coaches to forget about him.
“I don’t know about all that,” McCoy said. “Honestly, it feels the same. Early on, I got some carries, [and] lately it’s been picking up.”
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