LeSean McCoy appeared to be in regular season form on Thursday night.
Chip Kelly‘s sparkling Ferrari of a running back silenced any doubters that he would be in full gear by the time the season rolls around when he took a Nick Foles handoff in the first quarter and bounced to the outside before slashing back in the other direction leaving cornerback Drayton Florence in his wake.
McCoy gained 21 yards on the play and showed exactly what Kelly has to work with if he has any aspirations of replicating his 65-35 run-to-pass ratio from his 2012 campaign at the helm of the Oregon Ducks.
The play sent the press box at Lincoln Financial field abuzz and fans to their feet.
“It’s just one of the things you feel. It’s really hard to describe it.” McCoy said after the game.
The five-year veteran has suffered through nagging knee and hamstring injuries this summer that have kept him out of practice and the team’s preseason opener against the New England Patriots last week.
It’s safe to say that McCoy’s performance of eight carries for 47 yards and a touchdown shook off any residual rust, but he was quick to credit Kelly’s high octane offense for his quick resurgence.
“In this type of offense, it’s so different because we go at a fast tempo,” McCoy said. “A fast pace. You want to get that conditioning as far as running where the tempo, play after play after play. It’s crazy because I saw how tired the defense was. Imagine if it was four quarters with this type of tempo. It shows you how effective this offense will be.”
The only real question Thursday was why exactly was McCoy in the game for such an extended appearance?
“LeSean needs to practice,” Kelly said Thursday. “LeSean needs to play, and he’ll be the first to tell you that. So, you know, you’re too rusty at times, but obviously, he’s extremely talented. But even he said it when he came back. He missed a couple days of practice, and when he’s out there, he’s kind of off a little bit, because you need to get into rhythm. I think he wanted to play longer tonight, but we have to be smart with him. Is he talented, yeah? But does he need to practice? Yeah, everybody needs to practice, and everybody needs to play.”
If Thursday’s performance is any indicator of things to come, Kelly and the Eagles certainly have the kind of weapon that finally just may make the run-centric offense fans have clamored for for years a reality.
Matt Lombardo is also a sports radio host on 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia. Join the conversation and follow him on Twitter.