With a new year comes new responsibility. That is certainly true for second-year running back LeSean McCoy.
The 21-year-old McCoy has grown up quickly. He's had no choice. With his mentor Brian Westbrook gone, McCoy is the Eagles' go-to running back. And his approach in the months leading up to this post-draft mini-camp has earned rave reviews from offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg.
"It's just 180 degrees different," Mornhinweg said in comparing McCoy's rookie year to now. "He's very, very good right now. He's in shape. He's got a year under his belt. He's teaching the younger guys. I think he feels pretty comfortable, pretty confident right now within this offense, and all of the things he's learned over the past year."
McCoy showed flashes of his ability as a rookie when he ranked third among first-year backs with a franchise-record 637 rushing yards and ranked second among rookies with 945 yards from scrimmage.
In year two, McCoy expects to be more explosive. To that end, he says he has trimmed down to 211 pounds from 217 last year. (Note, he is listed as 208 pounds on our roster).
"They wanted me in better shape and also, man, I wanted to get a little quicker," McCoy said. "Putting that weight on from Pitt, I lost a step. I'm trying to get that step back a little more."
McCoy has to prepare his body as he figures to see more snaps this season. He has to prepare for the punishment. He did it in college, carrying 584 times and catching 65 passes in two seasons at Pittsburgh.
But the time between the combine and the draft a year ago is where McCoy said he added "some bad weight." Now he is "dieting." That means he's laying off the fast food and eating more chicken breasts, salads and fruits.
It's all part of McCoy's maturation into a starting NFL running back.
"Everything I'm doing -- practice, studying -- I'm doing as a starter," McCoy said. "Last year was more just trying to learn it and then get through it. This year I'm trying to master it and be on top of it so when guys ask me questions I know what's going on."
A student a year ago, McCoy knows he must be more accountable and limit his mistakes. He is now a teacher of sorts, offering advice to his fellow ballcarriers.
A year ago, it was Westbrook showing McCoy where he was supposed to be and what he was supposed to do. McCoy took reps through the spring drills and in training camp, and he was the starter in the preseason. When the regular season began, McCoy was much more advanced than, certainly, Westbrook was as a rookie back in 2002.
"They are in the same mold, but quite different," Mornhinweg said. "LeSean was a little bit bigger than people think. This guy's really elusive, has real natural athleticism. We'll try to play to his strengths."
-- Posted by Bob Kent, 6:15 p.m., May 1