Through four weeks of football, Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy looked unstoppable. He continues to lead the NFL in rushing and has found a way to take advantage of every defense he’s played against. His ability to be patient and take what the defense gives him has helped make him one of the most feared backs in the league. It seems that just when an opposing defense figures out how to slow him down in the run game, he simply catches the ball out of the backfield and makes plays. So what changed against the New York Giants?
The answer: Michael Vick. In the first half, Shady looked a bit sluggish compared to the explosive back he’d been all season; however, he still put home a touchdown in the second quarter. He was not as effective on the ground against the Giants, as in any other game, but he was still a reliable option to gain yards when the Eagles needed it. The second half was a different story with McCoy being shut down in the running game and held to just six catches out of the backfield. His overall output was similar to that of the game against the Denver Broncos, but he looked different.
Although as a group, the Eagles appeared to make a seamless transition to backup quarterback Nick Foles, McCoy looked as though he was not complete. The Eagles picked up their offense under Foles and were able to extend a lead that the Giants couldn’t match. It helped that the defense was there in support of the offense, but the feature star in Chip Kelly’s offense seemed to be lost on the ground.
McCoy’s game changed with the change in quarterback. It could just be coincidence and he’ll return, but Vick provides the option look that makes Shady more potent. With the injury forcing the Eagles to change to Foles, the option look fell by the waste side, as did the lethal combination that has made the Eagles so dangerous on the ground. Though Foles is a viable option to keep Philadelphia rolling while Vick is sidelined, the ground game will not look the same without Vick and for the Eagles sake of contending in 2013. The sooner Vick makes it back, the better, especially for McCoy.