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By John McMullen, NFL Editor - Archive - Email
Titans prove to be a tonic for McCoy
LeSean McCoy LeSean McCoy needed just 21 carries to rush for 130 yards.
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 Philadelphia.

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 underestimated.

"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.