If there was a player who benefitted from a new coach in 2013 is was LeSean McCoy. Always seen as a shifty runner, he blossomed into far more of an every down threat and workhorse within Chip Kelly’s offense without taking a dramatic increase in pounding.
In his first season within the new system McCoy averaged over five yards a carry for the second time in his career despite a new high in carries. McCoy rushed the ball more than 300 times for the first time in his career, adding 41 attempts to his previous career high. He saw a corresponding jump in yardage, topping 1,600 to go along with his nine touchdowns on the ground and another two as a receiver. In all, McCoy accounted for 2,146 from scrimmage and 11 scores as he found himself as the keystone of the new offense.
It wasn’t just in base statistics that McCoy saw a big jump in play. The extra space that Kelly’s system afforded him allowed him to do so much more with the ball in his hands and the grading at PFF reflects that. He led the league with a +31.0 overall grade, which is more than three times his previous best mark over a season.
The eight additional missed tackles forced by McCoy meant that his season tally of 57 was his career best mark as well. Everybody knew that McCoy was one of the league’s most exciting running backs, but within that Chip Kelly offense he proved he can be one of the best as well, forming a formidable rushing attack for the Eagles.
Best Game: Week 16 vs. Chicago (+5.1)
You might expect that McCoy’s best game of the season was the 29-carry, 217-yard performance against the Lions, and while that was one of his best-graded games when it came to running the ball alone, it was his work in the passing game that helped swing the balance towards the Bears game.
McCoy carried the ball 18 times for 133 yards in this game, scoring two touchdowns in the process and forcing four missed tackles in the process, but he also chipped in by catching all six passes thrown his way for another 64 yards and forcing four more missed tackles.
His move for this touchdown sums up what McCoy brings to the table. When the blocks collapse to his right he hesitates before spinning around an unblocked Julius Peppers and then outrunning a couple of Chicago defenders to the end zone in a run that brings up memories of Barry Sanders.
Key Stat: Forced 75 total missed tackles, second only to Marshawn Lynch
We all know that McCoy is an elusive runner, but players that power through tackles with regularity tend to force misses at a greater rate than those that simply try and avoid them. McCoy has always made people miss, but this season he took that to a new level and really exploited the additional space Kelly’s spread offense created. As a runner alone he made 57 people miss and added another 18 as a receiving threat out of the backfield.
This was LeSean McCoy’s best season in the NFL and he is the perfect back for the new regime in Philadelphia. He deserved his spot atop the running back rankings this year and the level of performance he produced is worth a spot inside the top 10 of this list.
LeSean McCoy is No. 8 in the PFF Top 101.
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