This will be the third playoff game of McCoy’s five seasons in the NFL. He still has a bad taste in his mouth from the last one, in 2010, when the Eagles lost the Wild Card game to the Green Bay Packers and McCoy, who had just 12 carries for 46 yards and four catches for 38 yards, was outshined by counterpart James Starks. McCoy knows he’ll need to have a big game if the Eagles are to beat the New Orleans Saints on Saturday night.
“The playoffs are tough, it’s hard to get here and it’s hard to say,” McCoy said. “There’s no tomorrow. You have to play hard every game, every second, every play. If we do that together, we should be fine.”
McCoy is acutely aware of the tremendous opportunity that has been presented not only to himself but the entire team, and that a lot of players don’t get to enjoy his position.
“There are tons of backs that were great that didn’t play in the playoffs or Super Bowls,” McCoy said. “Still, as a team and as a player there are things you want to do – you want to win games, you want to go to the playoffs, you want to have success as a team.”
McCoy leads the way for the NFL’s best rushing attack and one of the best offenses overall, but knows he’s just one piece of the puzzle.
“So much success is because the linemen are healthy and they’re playing hard,” McCoy said. “Coach (Chip) Kelly is finding ways to get the matchups one-on-one.”
Where the rushing attack really excels is in the fourth quarter. Perhaps it’s another benefit of the sports science program and the Eagles being better conditioned than their opponents, but McCoy has been tearing it up at the end of games his whole career. For 2013, his 441 yards in the fourth quarter was tops in the league, while his 5.96 yards-per-carry average tied for first. It’s a staple of the Kelly offense to wear down opponents over the course of the game before toppling them over in the fourth quarter, and McCoy has proven the ideal back to get the job done.
“I think it applies for the linemen and the running back,” McCoy said in explaining the rushing attack’s success in the fourth quarter. “The more touches, the more plays you getting running the ball, the more comfortable you get, the different looks you can see, you see how the defense adjusts to certain plays and you feel them out. A play from earlier in the game can be run late in the game and be more successful if it goes to the right.
“Defenses are smart, and they try to adjust to whatever you do. It’s a reaction, and it’s different things and how you fit into a run. If you get more comfortable as the game goes on, you can really take over in the fourth quarter.”
The Eagles have come this far but are nowhere near satisfied, and McCoy is not shy about his confidence level going up against a Saints team that boasts a high-flying offense and stingy defense.
“We’re made for the playoffs,” McCoy said. “Everyone is so excited for us to be here, but we should be here. We prepared to be champions of this division, and we’re prepared to win this game. The Saints are a good team, for sure. They have a very explosive offense and a solid defense, but I think the guys in this locker room, the coaches we have, we can get the job done.”