With the litany of players returning from injury for the Eagles this week, it's easy to forget how much the week of rest must have helped running back LeSean McCoy in his recovery from the broken rib he played with the last three games. McCoy suffered that broken rib in the Week 4 loss to the Washington Redskins - the same game that knocked out quarterback Michael Vick until this Sunday - but was able to tough it out to the tune of 324 yards from scrimmage in the three pre-bye games.
So how is McCoy feeling heading into Sunday's important game against the 5-2 Indianapolis Colts?
"I feel a lot better than I've been feeling lately, just running, having the ability to run without feeling any pain in my ribs," McCoy said. "I'm very close (to 100 percent)."
And because of the improved health of the Eagles roster, McCoy forecasts big things, especially for the offense. Vick is back under center, where he has a would-be league-leading 108.8 passer rating, and Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters is also returning to the lineup. Pro Bowl wide receiver DeSean Jackson is set to start, barring any setbacks, for the first time since suffering a concussion in the Week 6 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
But Vick's return is the one that has McCoy most excited, because he expects to see some extra running room with defenses accounting for Vick's famous rushing ability.
"It's the whole process of guys being scared to have Michael Vick out in the open field," McCoy said. "The type of looks we get, you have to kind of find a way to contain both of us. Either let Mike keep (the ball), and that's trouble, or let me run in between the tackles. So we'll see. (The running game) will definitely be effective though. I think you have a diffrrent scheme with Mike because he can run the ball too, even on pass plays. Plays that are broken down, he can make something positive out of it. So his ability to do that I think it kind of gets linebackers out of place. They're so busy watching him, then we can hit you with a screen.
"In this league, all it takes is a second. If you're a linebacker reading something else, we're out the other gate. I think (Vick's) ability, his presence, I think a lot of guys struggle with him."
And the Eagles may need McCoy to have a big game if they want to defeat the Colts on Sunday. Consider that in the Colts' two losses this season, they allowed an average of 215.5 rushing yards. That's contrasted with an opponents' average of only 100.2 yards rushing in the Colts' five wins.
McCoy's biggest game on the ground this season came in Vick's first start, a Week 2 victory over the Detroit Lions in which McCoy ran for 120 yards and three touchdowns on only 16 carries. The game earned McCoy honors as the FedEx Ground Player of the Week, but the downside was that it put the second-year running back on the map of opposing offensive coordinators. Since then, McCoy has often been the focal point of opposing defense's game plans. And while he's certainly been productive in that time, he's still looking forward to being another face in a dangerous crowd this Sunday.
"I think teams started looking at it like ... let's worry about (the run game)," McCoy said. "But I think having everybody back, having our whole offense back, it's one of those things where you have to pick your posion."
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 5:20 p.m., November 5