Philadelphia Eagles News

McCoy Poised To Make Eagles History

It means something for LeSean McCoy to gain 48 rushing yards and set a franchise record for most career rushing yards. Records are made to be toppled, and McCoy is excited to become king of the Eagles' rushing hill.

Maybe it happens on Sunday against Seattle, or the following week when Dallas comes to town. It's going to happen. McCoy is going to vault over Wilbert Montgomery and when he does it on a juke-a-defender-out-of-his-cleats move or powers into the end zone from 2 yards out or sweeps to the edge and patiently follows his blocking or makes one of those patented reverse-field moves to befuddle a defense, McCoy is going to let it sink in.

And then he's going to get back to business as the focal point of a resurgent running game in this go-go-go offense.

"It's something cool, it really is," McCoy said on Wednesday. "I didn't imagine when I got drafted here that I could potentially hold the rushing record as an Eagle. That's something big. That's something I'm looking forward to. The main goal is to win the game, obviously, but on the way to doing that, I would love to accomplish that.

"It means a lot. The guys on the list, to have an opportunity to surpass them and be the guy at No. 1, it says a lot and it means a lot to me. It's something that I really want to accomplish."

Wilbert Montgomery has had the top spot since he left the Eagles in 1984. Montgomery gained 6,538 yards in 100 games as an Eagle. Injuries robbed him of some valuable on-field time in his eight seasons here, but anyone who saw Montgomery -- "we're close friends," McCoy said -- knows how dynamic and electrifying he was. Brian Westbrook ran for 5,995 yards in 107 games as an Eagle and was an all-purpose stud from 2002 to 2009.

McCoy has 6,491 yards in 86 games (Steve Van Buren, comparing numbers, gained 5,860 in 83 games as an Eagle) and he's been aiming for the top of this list almost from the time he replaced Westbrook as a rookie.

"It's always been about hard work with LeSean," said running backs coach Duce Staley, who ranks fifth in Eagles history with 4,807 rushing yards. "He's supremely talented, yes, but what you have to understand is that he couldn't get to this point without working extremely hard. He pushes himself. He's a student of the game. He wants to be the best and stay the best. That takes dedication."

Staley and McCoy have a unique relationship. Staley rides McCoy, knowing that every extra bit of effort McCoy puts in from Monday through Saturday manifests itself on Sunday. McCoy needles Staley, his big brother of sorts. The mutual respect is obvious.

Staley has been working with McCoy since 2010, first as a coaching intern, then as a quality control coach for special teams and running backs and for the last two seasons as the running backs coach. He wanted McCoy to gain strength in his lower body, to have more leg drive and McCoy put in the time to improve. The result is that while McCoy's open-field moves gain the most attention, he's always been physical and productive after initial contact (McCoy is fourth in the NFL in yards after contact in 2014).

"He's a complete running back and football player," Staley said.

"We have that big brother/little brother role," McCoy said of his relationship with Staley. "Tons of credit goes out to Duce since I came in here. He's helped me to reach a certain level of my game that I thought I didn't have. That's why, if anything ever goes wrong as far as I'm out of the game or in the game, I never question it. I know he has my best interests at heart.

"We always have fun and we always work hard. He's always trying to make me better. Even when I feel like I'm at a certain point where I think I've arrived, he's always pushing me more."

McCoy's 2014 season has had its ups and downs. His numbers weren't there early when the offensive line was unsettled and defenses were stuffing the running lanes. McCoy's production was a debated topic of conversation around water coolers and talk-radio segments.

But we've seen McCoy rise and burst out in the second half of the season. He now has 1,018 ground yards, third most in the NFL. He's on pace to finish with somewhere around 1,300 yards rushing. The Eagles are 9-3 and lead the NFC East and they're preparing for a marquee matchup on Sunday against the best defense in the NFL.

It's all good. It's all great, in fact.

"He had a chance to be special when he came to the NFL and he's developed himself with the work he's put in," Staley said. "I'm proud of him. He continues to work hard and get better and better. That's the mark of the great, great players in this league. They are never content with where they are."

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