Inspecting McCoy’s Production

| 2 years ago

Inspecting McCoy’s Production

mccoyWith LeSean McCoy off to Buffalo, the Eagles seem to believe that their scheme and excellent offensive line are big enough factors in their rushing success that McCoy was no longer worth his high salary.

While McCoy is one of the best running backs in the league, we can see where Chip Kelly is coming from. The Eagles’ offensive line has been our top-ranked run blocking unit the past two seasons. McCoy excelled behind the group in 2013 on his way to finishing the season as our highest-graded running back with a +25.7 run grade. But his performance took a hit with Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, and Lane Johnson each missing several games during the first half of last season.

When Mathis and Kelce returned from injury, McCoy was able to get to the second level more often and that opportunity helped him produce a run grade that went from 2.8 over the first eight games to +1.4 over the final eight. His average yards per carry also increased from 3.9 to 4.6 while his average yards after contact held steady.

mccoy table

In the tables above we have taken a look at runs where he reached the second level untouched, defined as carries with 5 or more yards gained before contact. McCoy led the league in 2013 by reaching the second level untouched nearly one-quarter of the time. Even with the decrease last season, his frequency was still well above average. However, just because he was reaching the second level often does not mean he was any more successful on those runs.

His average yards per carry were close to the league average on those attempts. McCoy picked up nearly 1,000 yards on these carries alone in 2013 and the NFL average of total rushing yards based on McCoy’s splits would be in the same vicinity.

This might give some insight into what Chip Kelly may be thinking and why he is willing to part with McCoy. The Eagles might not be able to just plug in any other back and get the same results, but Kelly may believe that the offensive line and scheme can at least mitigate some of the difference and while saving a lot of money at the same time.


Follow Matt on Twitter: @PFF_MattC

| Analyst

Matt has been an analyst for PFF since 2013. He is also a contributor to 120 Sports and a former NCAA Division-III football player.

  • Lord Father

    This is a good point, Chip might be thinking. “if our line can allow a much cheaper back to reach the second level we may get similar production”

  • Brian Bigger

    I think this may or may not work. The defenses may not commit as many players to the run without Shady in there. Unless they have someone who scares the defense with going the distance, defense will play the Eagles differently.

  • MrBoo

    Risky Move but i dont think the Eagles are done yet. Ryans will be also released soon and they will have a 47 mil cap room. They will go hard for Devin McCourtney and or Maxwell. And dont forget the big Wildcard Mariota. I think they will trade for him

    • Zach

      I hope they trade way up to get Mariota

    • Fred Newhall

      McCourtey is a GEM in Free Agency. I really do not get how the Patriots didn’t Tag the second best Safety in the game today.

  • Chris

    RBs are a dime a dozen these days. If you have a great OL you can plug and play almost anyone. Justin Frickin’ Forsett just led the league in YPC for anyone over 400 snaps and he was cast off by 3 different teams the last 3 seasons.

    • rogue

      That’s why I think the Pats will let Vereen walk.

  • LightsOut85

    Wow, very telling. I would love to see a similar split (YBC>5, etc) for all backs.

  • Vysehrad

    Kelly is also banking on a LB with an ACL tear, that it doesn’t have long range consequences or that it’s not a sign of being injury prone.

  • Colin Cody

    I traded for McCoy last year when everyone hated him and I soon found out why. Maybe Kelly does not want a RB that dances all the time. He would also probably want one he does not have to pull at the goal line. It was clear buy his usage that during some games Kelly was just fed up with him.

  • Thechairman66

    This of course overlooks the fact that McCoy was one of the best running backs in the league before Chip Kelly arrived, during the 2012 and 2011 seasons.

    This is a good article but it approaches this trade with a zero sum mindset. Put another way, it’s both possible that Chip Kelly made a smart decision AND that McCoy is still capable of being a productive running back. There are such thing as win-win trades.

  • Bill

    Rbs are but ELITE Rbs are not