Running back LeSean McCoy "never expected" to play such a big role this early in his NFL career. McCoy will likely make his fourth start of the season this Sunday night in Chicago as Brian Westbrook will be sidelined after suffering a concussion for the second time in less than a month. In a tight NFC, this battle between the Eagles and the Bears could have long-term ramifications in deciding who makes the playoffs and who is watching on TV in January.
"I was drafted for a reason," McCoy said. "I grew up always wanting to play ball and (here is) my chance and my opportunity. I have to make the best of it."
A second-round pick out of Pitt, McCoy has rushed for 351 yards at an average of 4.1 yards per carry and two touchdowns this season. He has also caught 23 passes for 181 yards. McCoy's rushing total is third among all NFL rookies. McCoy's 534 scrimmage yards ranks second behind only Denver's Knowshon Moreno among NFL rookies.
In the three games that Westbrook missed this season, McCoy rushed the ball 44 times for 220 yards and scored both of his touchdowns. The experience leading up to today certainly makes McCoy more comfortable now that he's been thrust into a bigger role.
"I've been in this situation before. It's not really a big difference," McCoy said. "Maybe I'm going to get a lot more reps this week (in practice) and my preparation has to be bigger than before. Just kind of know all of my keys. Lot of little stuff like that is taken care of."
The Chicago Bears defense is ranked 21st against the run this season allowing an average of 118.4 yards per game. For the first time in three weeks, McCoy will see a base 4-3 look instead of the 3-4 schemes that the Cowboys and the Chargers run.
When asked what he needed to improve, McCoy said that experience will make him better overall. McCoy believes that he's made strides recently in his pass protection and ball security.
In his two seasons at Pitt, McCoy was the bell cow with 2,816 rushing yards and 36 total touchdowns. Now, the 21-year-old will be the guy in the locker room that the veterans lean on. Needless to say, McCoy can't be just a rookie anymore.
"Guys are kind of relying on me to step up," McCoy said. "'You can't have any rookie mistakes.' 'We need you to produce.' ... In some ways, you can't look at it as a rookie.
"We're on the ropes a little bit. We need a win. It's a must-win for us. All of the guys have that attitude to win. Something like this I thrive in."