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NFL Philadelphia Eagles

2012 Philadelphia Eagles Preview: Will RB LeSean McCoy Duplicate His 2011 Season?

Last season, running back LeSean McCoy was one of the few bright spots on a Philadelphia Eagles team that began the season with Super Bowl aspirations and ended it without a playoff berth.

McCoy rushed 273 times for 1309 yards, the fourth highest total in the league. He scored 17 touchdowns on the ground and three through the air, giving him a single-season franchise record of 20 touchdowns.

McCoy just turned 24 years old last month and is in the dead prime of his career for the next two to three seasons.

With the Philadelphia Eagles expected to be just as high-scoring in the 2012 season, is it practical that McCoy can duplicate his 2011 season next year?

The biggest obstacle for McCoy will be overcoming the loss of left tackle Jason Peters, arguably the most dominant offensive linemen in the National Football League. Peters suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon in March, and any doubt of Peters playing again in 2012 ended when the massive linemen re-ruptured his Achilles when his wheeling device broke.

The Eagles reacted quickly to Peters’ injury, signing free agent tackle Demetress Bell, who interestingly enough had backed up Peters in Buffalo.

Bell is a powerful blocker who has a lot of potential but injuries have played a factor in his career. If he can stay healthy, the Eagles will likely survive the loss of Peters.

The rest of the offense looks even better than last year, which should greatly benefit McCoy.

At left guard, the Eagles locked up veteran Evan Mathis to a five-year deal worth $25 million. Mathis was rated as the top guard in the entire league last season, according to Pro Football Focus. Even if he doesn’t play at a Pro Bowl level again next year, he’s an above average lineman who is a strong run blocker.

The rest of the line is just as solid. Center Jason Kelce and right guard Danny Watkins should be vastly improved from their rookie seasons. I expect Kelce to be the better of the two this season, and I actually wouldn’t even be surprised if he came close to a Pro Bowl berth.

And, of course, Todd Herremans is a rock at right tackle. He has been the most consistent linemen the Eagles have had year after year.

The Eagles return playmaking wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who signed a five-year contract extension in the offseason, while Jeremy Maclin will likely be playing for a new contract this season. Jason Avant, Riley Cooper, and either Chad Hall, Marvin McNutt, or Damaris Johnson will solidify the Eagles’ receiving corps.

The biggest piece of the puzzle is quarterback Michael Vick, who is poised to turn in his best season this year, if he can remain healthy.

You look at all the pieces of the puzzle and McCoy could easily be on track to have the best season of his career. He’ll need to remain healthy, but that hasn’t been a problem through the first three years of his career.

This article was written by Bryn Swartz, the top writer for the Philadelphia Eagles and a featured NFL columnist on Rant Sports. Bryn has written more than 1000 articles in less than two years as a member of Rant Sports. His blog, Eagles Central, was named the 2010 Ballhyped Sports Blog of the Year. To read a portfolio of Bryn’s best work, click here.