In 2010 the Eagles offense was nothing short of electrifying and at times looked to be unstoppable. A unit that averaged over 350 yards a game of total offense. It’s easy to run down the list of weapons and quickly name Michael Vick or DeSean Jackson as the standout players. #25 LeSean “Shady” McCoy is often overlooked on the national stage. He has quietly become a stud on a talent laden offense. Shady McCoy lands at #8 on BLN’s Best Athlete in Philly countdown.
LeSean McCoy is a Pennsylvania boy through and through. He was born in Harrisburg, PA. He also attended high school at Bishop McDevitt High in Harrisburg and played his college ball at the University of Pittsburgh. He was the cornerstone of the Pitt Panther offense and in his sophomore year scored 23 touchdowns while piling up 1,400 rushing yards. It was easy to see why the Eagles were fully confident in keeping this young man in Pennsylvania with the 53rd pick overall in the 2009 NFL Draft. When you talk about the top tier running backs in the NFL Shady is frequently an afterthought. Truth remains that at only 22-years old McCoy is starting to prove he belongs in the same breath as Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson.
Standing at only 5’8 and 208 pounds Shady is not your prototypical NFL running back, but then again Andy Reid has never desired that type of player. In 2008 with Brian Westbrook hitting the dreaded 30-year old mark and nagging knee injuries slowing him down it was clear that Reid and the Eagles were looking for his successor. After an impressive 8-year career with the Birds and a phan favorite it was hard to envision Westbrook no longer being a vocal part of the offense. It was very evident when McNabb and Westbrook were sent packing that a new breed of Eagles offense was on the horizon.
The transition at running back seemed to go along flawlessly as McCoy seemed to adapt to the Eagles west coast offense in no time during his rookie season of 2009. McCoy finished his rookie campaign with 4 touchdowns on 637 yards rushing, while adding 40 catches for 308 yards. His 637 rushing yards set an Eagles rookie record. It was clearly evident that McCoy could do everything and anything that Westbrook had done so effortlessly for years. The torch had been passed.
After a solid rookie season where he led the team in rushing Shady dedicated himself to his offseason conditioning and came back to camp stronger and slightly bigger. Much to the praise of Andy Reid.
"This is a kid that came in as a rookie and needed to add more strength," head coach Andy Reid said. "He added more strength in the off-season, really bought into the off-season program, worked his tail off and it's showing up now. He's going out and he's running more physical, he's more deliberate and accurate with his cuts, seeing the daylight and getting North and South, which you have to do in this league. Going sideways in this league, like he did a little bit last year, that doesn't work. So he learned, he got stronger and it paid off for him."
He is the type of runner who despite his size can hit the hole with force and run north to south. Shady makes faster cuts than a joystick and leaves defenses frozen in time. In 2010 Shady emerged as one of the most versatile and explosive running backs in the NFL proving that be belonged as the team’s #1 running back.
McCoy was nothing short of spectacular in 2010. He topped the 1,000 yard mark becoming the 16th Eagle all-time to achieve that feat. He finished the season amassing 1,600 yards of total offense which ranked him 4th in the NFL. His 78 receptions were the most of any running back in the league and were the most on the team. He was the only player to lead his team in rushing and receptions. His 5.2 yards per carry ranked him 2nd in the NFL and was the highest mark in team history among backs with at least 200 carries.
At Detroit in the first month of the season McCoy earned player of the week honors rushing for 120 yards and scoring three times. McCoy showed his toughness in an October game in San Francisco. Despite playing with a broken rib Shady piled up 138 total yards while scoring a touchdown.
McCoy has been exactly everything the Eagles were looking for when they drafted him in 2009. Looking for a Westbrook type player who could fill that void and it seems as if the Eagles have exceeded those expectations already. It is unfair to Westbrook to declare Shady a better running back but the storyline is definitely heading down that road.
It is hard to find any shortcomings in the Eagles newly crowned starting running back. He is undersized but plays above his weight. He hits the hole hard, is shifty, fast, has great vision, and a nose for the goal line. With 78 receptions in 2010 it is clear that he is an excellent receiving threat out of the backfield. Something that Andy Reid utilizes very often in the west coast offense. With an upside bigger than Andy Reid’s belly there is no stopping this 22-year old star. The sky is the limit for Shady and his stock as Best in Philly is sure to skyrocket in the coming years.