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A simple stat to help explain Philadelphia's lost season

A healthy LeSean McCoy continues to be underutilized by the 3-6 Eagles. Joe Fortenbaugh

Print This November 13, 2012, 12:27 PM EST

Bring up the Chernobyl-like disaster that is the Philadelphia Eagles’ 2012 season and you’re likely to hear a plenitude of reasons for why a supposedly talented football team is currently 3-6. The offensive line is banged up, the team is committing too many turnovers, the defense hasn’t been the same since Jim Johnson passed away and on and on and on…

LeSean McCoyThe numbers don't lie when it comes to running back LeSean McCoy.

Or, we can bypass all of those irrefutable arguments and look to the team’s apparent unwillingness to give the football to their most explosive offensive weapon.

Since joining the Eagles in 2009, Philadelphia is 10-1 when running back LeSean McCoy amasses at least 20 rushing attempts in a game. Since 2011—when McCoy emerged as one of the NFL’s most dynamic players—the Birds are just 3-13 when McCoy fails to hit that mark.

It becomes comical when you examine the 2012 season by itself. McCoy recorded 20 and 25 carries against Cleveland and Baltimore, respectively, to open the season, helping the Eagles get off to a 2-0 start. 13 carries in Week 3 at Arizona resulted in a loss, while 23 carries against the Giants in Week 4 brought another win.

Since then, McCoy has carried the rock 19 or fewer times in five straight games, all of which ended in Philadelphia losses.

I’m positive there’s a perfectly good reason for why the Eagles have seemingly failed to recognize this trend. But with the way the team’s 2012 campaign has gone, I’m not so sure anyone in Philadelphia is interested in hearing it.

Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh


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Nov 14, 2012
08:04 AM

This is a silly article - you are not under standing cause and effect with that stat. Yes, there is a correlation between RB carries and wins, but you have the chicken coming before the egg. When we are winning we run McCoy more - especially when we are far ahead. Those are the only games he gets up to 20 carries and therefore we see that in games when he carries the ball 20 times we usually win.

But you are an idiot if you think that all we have to do is run Shady 20 times to win. WE HAVE NO OFFENSIVE LINE!!! We are not capable of running it down someone's throat.

Next year, if the team rights itself, you will see us run 20 times in games that we win...but until we fix many many problems on this offense and defense, running the ball isn't the answer.

Please go read Tommy Lawlor, Sheil Kapadia and Jimmy Kaminsky - you need to learn what real analysis is...this stat work is for ignorant children.

Nov 14, 2012
09:13 AM

Sitko, your comment makes no sense. You are calling the article silly and explain that we run McCoy more "when we are far ahead." You realize that the 3 games the Eagles won this year were by a COMBINED total of 4 points, right? There was no game where we were "far" ahead. So that excuse doesn't fly. Plus, this week we were beating Dallas by 4 points and could have used McCoy to beat up on a clear pass defense that was playing soft on the run to eat up clock. Combine that with a rookie QB without first-team practice reps and McCoy should have gotten the ball more.

Also, your argument about the weak line also doesn't fly. We have a weak passing offensive line that doesn't give the QB time to go through his progessions. Doesn't that mean we should run the ball more. The line can put a block on one guy and let McCoy do what he does: make people miss. If you have a solid running game, the defense needs to respect that and can't be focused exclusvely on getting to the QB. That buys the QB an extra second in the pocket, which may be all he needs.

Handing the ball to McCoy won't win the game in an of itself, but having the running game be a consistent part of the offensive scheme opens up passing plays, keeps the Eagle's defense on the sidelines, resting, and take time off the clock in games that are close but which we are up by 4 points.

Nov 14, 2012
11:09 AM

@sitko ... yea because we were up by so many points in those other 3 games! Actually, if my memory serves me correctly those were tight games where we were behind and barely eeked out victories by ridiculously small margins with long, time consuming, run featuring drives.

While yes, teams do tend to run more when they are ahead, inflating such stats as above, it is also obvious to anyone with two eyes and a minimal amount of football knowledge that Lesean McCoy is being criminally underused.

We have a struggling QB, the worst pass blocking oline in football, WR that need 3-4 seconds minimum to get downfield where they are at their best, and THE BEST FREAKING RUNNING BACK IN ALL OF FOOTBALL...this should not be rocket science. Feed him the ball and design the offense around him.

Tim Rossovich
Nov 14, 2012
08:10 PM

Further evidence of what bumbling idiots the Andy & Marty show have become...

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