It's been over eight months since the Eagles traded their all-time leading rusher in LeSean McCoy to Buffalo. For the first time since then, they're preparing to go head-to-head with the former running back.
McCoy is coming to Philadelphia after his third 100-yard rushing performance of the season in the Bills' win over Houston and is only 8 yards shy of 800 total for the year. Over the past five weeks, he has averaged 97.6 rushing yards per game, a streak he certainly wants to build on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.
"He probably wants to set the rushing record this game," tight end Zach Ertz said of his former teammate. "Everyone loved Shady here. He's a heck of a person, a heck of a player. Everybody knows about his individual assets as a player, but right now he's not on our team. Our defense is focused on stopping him."
"I know he has a specific skill set and really, I think he's the only back in the league with what he has," safety Malcolm Jenkins said. "He's probably one of the most elusive runners in the game. He just has a knack for finding holes and making holes, making guys miss and making big plays, hitting the home run. But (he's) consistent and patient enough to take the 4 or 5 yards here or there. He's a mismatch in the pass game when you put him on linebackers. He just creates plays. That's why he's who he is."
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The running back is coming in with a certain mindset as he prepares to go up against his former team, one Jenkins is all too familiar with. The safety had similar feelings when he took on the Saints earlier this season.
"I'm sure he's had this game circled on his calendar since he got to Buffalo," Jenkins said. "It's one of those things, you don't really talk about it because you can't look toward that game until that week comes up and then you also don't want to make it about yourself, but this is going to be special for him."
The Eagles' defense knows McCoy will be running with a purpose, but it also has much to prove going up against him. Both sides want to bring their best and the past two weeks the Eagles have been limiting the run, allowing 211 yards.
Additionally, playing with the running back during his six-year tenure in Philadelphia means the Eagles have a different perspective on him. Linebacker Brandon Graham even recalled times he and McCoy had talked about the running back's game and thought process during plays.
"When you think about some of the stuff we talked about as far as picking his brain as far as what he's looking at, I hope he doesn't remember some of the conversations we had," Graham said, "because I do."
Regardless of those discussions, the Eagles know they can expect McCoy to be ready to play. He's a playmaker and someone they'll need to contain if they want to walk away with a victory.
"Shady is without a doubt one of the top backs in the league," linebacker Connor Barwin said. "I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. Every time he steps on the field, he performs and shows up and he's ready to play.
"I expect him to be excited and ready to play. Their offense will be motivated because everybody that plays with Shady always, I think, loved playing with Shady and thought he was a good teammate. I'm sure their offense will be trying to make sure he has a good day here too."