Eagles' McCoy determined to play out lost season
Published: Monday, December 24, 2012
By ROB PARENT
PHILADELPHIA — When LeSean McCoy found himself sucked into the strange vortex of Eagles injury luck this season, his team had long since made a southward standings turn and had just been buried by the Washington Redskins.
That was back on Nov. 18, McCoy insisting on playing out the string of a Redskins rout ... earning a concussion at the end of that game for his trouble.
So when McCoy finally returned Sunday from a woozy absence of four games, everything seemed familiar. He was at home, though Lincoln Financial Field has taken on a different hue with empty seats where people used to be. And the opponent was the Redskins, though this time they were a team smelling a playoff spot rather than the desperate 3-6 team that had beaten up the Eagles on a November day that for McCoy ended in a fog.
When it cleared Sunday, however ... McCoy and the Eagles were still losing.
“Losing is definitely harder,” McCoy said after a botched finish to a would-be game-tying drive left the Eagles on the short end of a 27-20 score to the ’Skins. “It’s also about getting hurt. I’ve never really been injured. That’s the toughest part, not being able to help your teammates out when you’re one of the top players on a team. Another thing is coming off a good year last year, considered one of the better backs, and this year I’ve kind of fallen off due to injury.
“So there’s been a lot of things ... it was all bad.”
A season that began with promise and a 4-0 preseason has seen the Eagles doing nothing but playing out the string for weeks now. One more game against what will be a desperate Giants team next weekend is all that remains of a season that almost assuredly will end with Andy Reid either getting fired or reaching a mutual agreement that he’s better served moving on to Cleveland or San Diego or some other city with a football job opening.
If that month-plus old concussion isn’t making McCoy dizzy any more, the way this season has spun out of control certainly should.
“I didn’t see any positives this year,” McCoy said. “There’s so many things you want to do better to help yourself and help the team out. It’s also because there’s been so much heat on one of the best coaches in this league, Coach Reid. So it’s been a tough year altogether. A very tough year.”
A Redskins defense that looked culpable for much of the game wasn’t as tough on the vulnerable McCoy as it could have been. This comeback game yielded 45 yards on 13 carries for him, perhaps more of a workload than was advised.
Bryce Brown, once again the backup, carried the ball but four times — and get this — he didn’t fumble it once. And if anyone remembers Dion Lewis, he made a rare appearance, registering a 17-yard touchdown on his lone carry of the game.
While the rushing numbers for McCoy were nothing to brag about, tight end Brent Celek figures his presence made an immediate difference.
“He’s so shifty; he can make something out of nothing,” Celek said. “He’s a great running back and I think he adds another dynamic. Him and Bryce and Dion together, they’re a three-headed monster out there.”
Though he said “it felt good to be out there,” McCoy admitted he had problems.
“It was tough on me,” he said. “I think late in the game I kind of got fatigued a little bit. It was different from running in the training room and rehabbing. To actually (be) physically cutting and stopping, getting tackled and getting up and blocking, it kind of got to me a little bit. I think I’ll be better for next game.”
Of course, he knows that next game will be the last one of the season, and likely the last one in which he’ll play for Reid. Just like everything else about this 2012 season, that left McCoy feeling a bit miserable.
“I don’t see how he deserves this to be his last game,” McCoy said of Reid. “He’s done so much for this city and this team. People shouldn’t forget what kind of coach he is. I’d fight for him. I don’t think he should be penalized for the mistakes guys make or the lackadaisical plays guys are making. It’s hard to say that he should be fired.”
Among the many things Reid has been criticized for this season was the decision of leaving McCoy in that first Redskins loss long enough to be injured, even though the Eagles were being blown out. Then came questions this week about the logic of risking further injury to the team’s best offensive player with just two games to be played in a season that has gone down the tubes.
To McCoy, however, it wasn’t even a matter of debate.
“I mean, this is my job. I’m sure it’s an option to play or not, but this is my job,” McCoy said. “I work for the Philadelphia Eagles, and if I’m healthy, why wouldn’t I go out and play?”
No matter which coach is going to be calling the plays next season, McCoy is already mentally preparing for what he thinks will be a comeback season for him.
“I made a promise to myself that I’m not even going to take that long of a break off,” said McCoy, who has 750 yards and two touchdowns on the ground this season, compared to 1,309 yards and 17 rushing TDs in 2011.
“Maybe two or three weeks, then right back at it,” he added. “I think it’ll be better because there’s been so much negative stuff happened this year. You just look at that, it can feed you motivational things to drive you.”
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Posted 24 December 2012 - 08:53 AM