LeSean McCoy was so good throughout the first half of the Eagles' 24-14 victory over the Cleveland Browns that Eagles fans had seen enough of the third-year running back. After McCoy notched seven catches for 69 yards, in addition to his six carries, throughout a rain-soaked half, Eagles nation simply wanted to ensure that McCoy would make it to the regular season good as new.
PhiladelphiaEagles.com Fandemonium columnist Tommy Lawlor tweeted that McCoy deserved "some serious bench time," after a "terrific" first half performance, while @BountyBowl tweeted that "Shady needs to get moved to the BubbleWrap Pavillion ASAP."
You can understand the sentiment. In an offense that utilizes the running back in so many ways, McCoy's versatility, let alone his talent, is vital to the unit's production and his ability to make defenders miss in the open field was on display throughout the evening. While the team's wide receivers didn't catch a Michael Vick pass until mid-way throughout the second quarter, McCoy was the quarterback's safety valve.
"You can't be a greedy offense," said McCoy. "Sometimes you need to take what the defense is giving you. They gave us some stuff underneath and we took that. I think as we get more into game planning and scouting, we'll have more room for different things. Right now, I think we look pretty good."
Catching passes is nothing new for McCoy, who led all NFL running backs with 78 receptions last season. While some of those looks surely come as a result of defenses accounting for the Eagles' bevy of receivers, McCoy still deserves the plaudits for making the most of his opportunities.
"First of all, you can't take credit from him," said DeSean Jackson of his teammate. "He's a great running back, he does some great things. I think it helps out when he has myself, (Jeremy) Maclin, Vick, with the targets, (Brent) Celek, it's a lot of options. At any given time, whoever's open is going to make the play."
The problem for opposing defenses is that if they shift their focus to McCoy's receiving ability, they become vulnerable to the exploits of Jackson, Maclin and Celek, not to mention Jason Avant and on-his-way Pro Bowler Steve Smith. So McCoy could actually see even more opportunities as a receiver in 2011 – including the possibility of splitting out wide in a two-back set with Ronnie Brown.
But the focus Thursday night was on the bounceback performance of the first-team offense in what is likely their last live work before the season opener in St. Louis.
"I thought we played well," said McCoy. "We can always do better. For the most part, I thought we did a good job. The defense gave us good field position and we took advantage of it and put some points on the board. Right now, it's all about coming together and gelling together and getting the job done."