LeSean McCoy has started three games this season in the place of Brian Westbrook. In those three games, and throughout the course of the season, McCoy has shown why the Eagles used a second-round pick on him this past April.
In those starts for Westbrook, McCoy has 44 carries for 220 yards and two touchdowns. Against Dallas, McCoy also had five catches for 61 yards to mark his first career game with 100 yards from scrimmage.
Each time McCoy started it was understood that it would only be a short while before Westbrook returned. However, Westbrook suffered his second concussion in a month Sunday against San Diego. Head coach Andy Reid said that "it's too early to tell" whether Westbrook will play again this season, but that it was the "last thing on my mind."
All the reps that McCoy got in training camp and the action he saw in the preseason combined with the experience he's garnered to this point of the regular season have prepared him to be an integral complement to Westbrook. But what if now McCoy is the focal point of the running game instead of a piece of the puzzle?
"You just have to see what happens," McCoy said. "My role is to be very supportive of Brian. We're trying to move forward and keep up the positive attitude and energy."
Westbrook looked like he could regain that All-Pro form before a helmet-to-helmet collision with Chargers safety Eric Weddle left him sidelined. Westbrook had 28 yards on six carries and two catches for 26 yards. He displayed good vision, acceleration and burst in the process.
While McCoy has the athleticism and talent to help fill in should Westbrook miss an extended amount of time, it will be difficult to replicate everything that Westbrook does - pass protection, full comprehension of downs and distance needed and leadership. It's nearly impossible to ask a rookie, any rookie, to fill that void.
"We're just players trying to get experience, trying to learn, trying to get out there and play," McCoy said. "You're still a football player. It starts with that competitive nature and attitude. Every game is a learning experience for us."
For the last couple of years, Westbrook has been the engine that powered this offense. With a push for the playoffs on the horizon, the pressure on the rookie's shoulders may have increased just a little bit.
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 12:18 a.m., November 17