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Eagles' LeSean McCoy tries to buck bug, prepare to take on C

bob grotz delco times

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 05:20 AM

Grotz

Eagles' LeSean McCoy tries to buck bug, prepare to take on Cowboys

Published: Saturday, November 10, 2012

By BOB GROTZ
bgrotz@delcotimes.com
@BobGrotz




PHILADELPHIA — Whatever strain of flu Eagles Pro Bowl running back LeSean McCoy has, it isn’t going away by Sunday.

Fighting through a cough, a raspy voice and a runny nose Friday, McCoy was one of those people you don’t want to get too close to without a mask and disposable gloves. Maybe the Dallas Cowboys will feel the same when they oppose the Eagles Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.

Despite missing two straight days of work with the flu and a chest cold, McCoy returned to practice Friday, albeit on a limited basis. The Eagles listed him as probable on the injury report.

In the locker room afterward, you couldn’t help but remind McCoy to drink lots of orange juice. Speaking of which, the Eagles need every ounce of juice they can get out of McCoy to halt a four-game losing streak.

“I struggled these last couple days,” McCoy said after clearing his throat. “But I feel a lot better now getting out there and running a little bit. I’ll be fine. There’s a little bit of coughing. I felt a little bit woozy. I lost a little weight I think just from not really being out there and laying in bed for the last couple of days and just drinking a lot of fluids. I just started eating.”

Against another opponent, McCoy would be at a huge disadvantage having missed so much practice. But this is an NFC East foe.

McCoy and the Eagles are well-acquainted with the Cowboys, who also are 3-5 and with four losses in their last five games, in just as much trouble as their hosts. Always there are a few new wrinkles, but for the most part, what McCoy and the Eagles have seen is what they’ll get on what’s supposed to be a sunny and unseasonably warm Sunday.

“It’s a division game where a lot of their guys are a lot of the same guys they’ve had a few years,” McCoy said. “So I’m pretty familiar with them. At least I’m not like a rookie. I know my assignments as far as the blitzes and the pickups and the protections and the runs. And I’ve been here before when I haven’t practiced and I’ve actually played through different injuries. So I’ll be fine.”

Eagles guard Danny Watkins (ankle), running back Chris Polk (turf toe) and wide receiver Mardy Gilyard (hamstring) all are out.

Demetress Bell starts at left offensive tackle, King Dunlap at right tackle and rookie Dennis Kelly at right guard. If you’re keeping track of assignments, Bell is blocking DeMarcus Ware, who with nine sacks is one of the premier pass rushers in the game, and Kelly gets Jay Ratliff, who at 6-4, 303-pounds, seems to get bigger every year.

It was hard to tell if the line opened up holes in the New Orleans Saints this past Monday or if McCoy rushed for 119 yards, the Eagles 221 because their counterparts don’t like to tackle.

Whatever the case, the Cowboys aren’t nearly as good stopping the run as getting after the passer. McCoy and rookie Bryce Brown, whose 40-yard rush last week is the Eagles’ longest such jaunt of the season, are going to test the Cowboys, who are hurting at linebacker. Inside linebacker Sean Lee, one of the top players on the defense, is out for the season. Dan Connor, the product of Strath Haven High and Penn State, is coming back from a neck stinger.

Though the Eagles swept the Cowboys last season, have won three of the last four in the series and in Mike Vick, have a quarterback who’s thrown four fewer interceptions than Tony Romo, they’re 2-point underdogs.

Without a healthy McCoy, it would be a lot worse. McCoy rushed for 185 yards and two touchdowns in his last home game against the Cowboys. He’s rushed for 100 or more yards in two of the last three games against the Cowboys.

“He’s getting there,” Reid said. “He looked pretty good today, actually. He looked OK but we’re just kind of easing him back in. He’s still got a little bit of a cough but he’s getting there.”