Will LeSean McCoy Breakout Against Detroit?BREAKING NEWS, Eagles, News Friday, October 12th, 2012
On Sunday, the Eagles will face a deceivingly 1-3 team. The Detroit Lions are set to come into Lincoln Financial Field and the Eagles will face their second straight opponent coming fresh off their bye week. The Lions defense will need to be well-rested, but ready to get back to work to face LeSean McCoy.
In the Lions four games so far this season, they have faced four premier backs in the league. Steven Jackson, Frank Gore, Chris Johnson (maybe not “premier” anymore), and Adrian Peterson have all faced the Lions defense. Together they have combined for a single touchdown and a single 100-yard performance. Frank Gore’s one yard touchdown was the lone score and Adrian Peterson was able to piece together a 102 yard performance in Minnesota’s week four win.
However, when looking at the season in full, it can be said that the Lions have largely shut down these four backs that have combined for 268 rushing yards, a 53.6 yards per game average, and have only mustered up a 3.7 yards per carry average. The average yards per carry is almost a full yard lower than McCoy’s season average of 4.5.
McCoy is certainly in for a challenge and will put his 104.6 total yards per game average against a defense that has allowed 85 total yards per game to opposing running backs. After another two-turnover performance by Michael Vick, the Eagles should feel it to be a necessity to put the ball in McCoy’s hands. While he has given up two fumbles this season it is no match for Vick’s 11 turnovers, a number that would tie him alone for fifth most by any team, yes team, in the league.
Much similar to the situation the Steelers were in, the Lions are ready to come out of their bye week after three straight losses and prove that they are still a team to reckon with. Detroit finished last season with a 5,000 yard passer, a 10-6 record and a Wild Card playoff berth. Starting off at 1-3 is not what they had in their plans and they will be looking to turn around their season in Philadelphia.
That will all start in the trenches with their wide nine defense against a depleted offensive line. Despite not having Jason Kelce or All-Pro Jason Peters, the Eagles are making due with Demetress Bell and Dallas Reynolds on the offensive line. While the pass blocking on plays that take longer to develop is suspect, the line’s run blocking has been above average. To help with the pass blocking, McCoy has been called upon to help chip a defender as he comes out of the backfield for his route or stay in and block for the duration of the play.
On pass plays that McCoy isn’t relied on to block, he can be very effective in the pass game. As shown by his 15-yard touchdown on Sunday in Pittsburgh (and many, many, many other times), when McCoy gets the ball in his hands, he can make some people miss. Larry Foote, in particular, was left spinning and trying to get his bearings straight when Shady caught the pass in the backfield and planted his foot and darted up field for what became his the Eagles first score of the day.
For the Eagles to win against the Lions on Sunday, they must implicate draw plays, screens, and passes to McCoy. The Lions run a similar wide nine defensive scheme that the Eagles run and, we all know, the objective is to get to the quarterback by sacrificing the run. If McCoy receives the ball on a draw and can get to the second level of the defense, he can turn a four yard gain into a 24 yard gain with any one of his unlimited jukes in his arsenal. Screen passes can also be effective, as shown in the past, if a tight end or a couple linemen can get in front of Shady to pave the way. While the defensive line and linebacking corps are both very strong, the Lions secondary isn’t the greatest in the league, to say the least. If McCoy gets seven or eight yards beyond the line of scrimmage, chances are he is going for a huge gain or taking the ball to the house.
The wide nine scheme allows anyone who can get past the defensive line to have breathing room. When there is LeSean McCoy and open field, McCoy takes every yard he can get, and then some. If the Eagles can get the ball to him enough, he will be able to produce and get into space. That is a huge “if” but last time the Eagles were criticized for not running the ball enough, week three in Arizona, they came out the following week and gave Shady 23 carries. Maybe this week we can find a pattern.
McCoy is the offensive gamebreaker on this team and he will be a huge factor to the Eagles success, or lack thereof, on Sunday. Just give Shady the ball; we all know good things happen when he is fed the rock.
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