LeSean McCoy's numbers were way down in 2014
Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy limped off of the practice field Tuesday, and while it’s unclear of how severe the injury is, it didn’t initially appear to be too serious.
Bills fans likely breathed a sigh of relief over that one, but there is a bigger concern regarding McCoy: According to our data and grades, his performance level is on the decline.
McCoy has been one of the great running backs of the last few years. But he saw a significant drop-off in his PFF numbers last season while playing with the Eagles. In 2013, he topped all running backs with a +27.3 overall grade, and his 57 missed tackles were third-most behind Marshawn Lynch and Adrian Peterson. While he did still have 40 missed tackles forced last year, his -9.3 overall grade was third-worst among running backs who played 25 percent of snaps.
He also had a precipitous drop in his PFF elusive rating, going from ninth in the league to 31st in terms of his ability to produce yards independent of his blocking. And while he has long been considered a top receiving threat out of the backfield, he went from ranking 14th in the NFL in yards per route run in 2013 to dead last in this metric in 2014.
McCoy only played 15 snaps in his first preseason game with the Bills last weekend, finishing with 2.7 yards per rush on six attempts. It’s a small data set, but it’s also well below his 5.1 and 4.2 yards per rush marks from the last two years.
McCoy can still hit the home run — his 44 runs of 15-plus yards are the most over the last two years – and all teams love explosive plays. But in Rex Ryan’s ground-and-pound attack, a deteriorating running back whose per-snap impact is on the decline is not a good fit. Injuries aside, we could already be seeing the beginning of the end for McCoy.