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Tag:LeSean McCoy
Posted on: February 5, 2012 11:27 am
Edited on: February 6, 2012 8:59 am
 

Goodell: NFL 'considering eliminating' Pro Bowl

Goodell said the Pro Bowl could be eliminated. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Last Sunday's Pro Bowl was a sloppily-played joke of a game that was ripped by fans and the media. Aaron Rodgers came out and said some of his NFC teammates should be "embarrassed" by the way they played. LeSean McCoy told us that he was "one of those guys" who didn't try.

Which may explain why Roger Goodell said on Sunday morning that the NFL is "considering eliminating" the Pro Bowl.

Latest from the Super Bowl

"I really didn't think that was the kind of football that we want to be demonstrating for our fans," Goodell said on Mike and Mike Sunday morning. "And you heard it from the fans. The fans were actively booing in the stands. They didn't like what they were seeing."

At the very least, Goodell said, something's going to change or the game will go away.

"We're either going to have to improve the quality of what we're doing in the Pro Bowl or consider other changes or even considering eliminating the game if that's the kind of quality game we're going to provide," Goodell said. "I know players love to be in Hawaii but we have to start with the quality of what we're doing.

"If the fans are responding negatively to what we're doing, we better listen. And that was my message."

Say whatever you want about Goodell (and if you're a Steelers fan, you'll probably say a lot), but the guy knows how to make the game of football more popular. If getting rid of the Pro Bowl does that, then Goodell won't hesitate to do so.

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Posted on: February 1, 2012 4:15 pm
 

LeSean McCoy admits he didn't try at the Pro Bowl

By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- LeSean McCoy had a heck of a season in 2011, rushing for 1,309 yards and 17 touchdowns. It netted him the FedEx Ground Player of the Year on Wednesday at the Super Bowl. And it also landed him a trip to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl.

While there, McCoy was on the NFC team that Aaron Rodgers believes should be "embarrassed" by a lack of effort. Actually, he was "one of those guys" that didn't try, and said so himself on Wednesday.

"Yeah? I'm one of those guys," McCoy said when asked about Rodgers comments. "You walk around every practice and the guys before the games on other teams are like 'take your time' because we're going on a very slow pace, very easy.

"And you get out there and you see guys half-doing it and you do the same thing."

It's not like this should be too big a surprise: the quality of the game is directly related to the intensity of the effort when it comes to the Pro Bowl, and that's exactly why it was a sloppy boring game that drew criticism from everyone remotely involved in the process. (That the game still managed to pull big ratings should tell you exactly how popular the NFL is.)

With all the complaints from fans and the media -- and some players -- it wouldn't be surprising to find out that McCoy's comments didn't sit well with the league, even if he is just talking about an All-Star Game.

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Posted on: January 1, 2012 11:57 am
Edited on: January 1, 2012 12:21 pm
 

LeSean McCoy inactive for Week 17 versus Redskins

Shady's inactive for Week 17. (AP)
By Will Brinson

LeSean McCoy and the Eagles talked all week long that they were amped up about Shady chasing a rushing title despite dealing with a high ankle sprain. And then the Eagles decided to make McCoy inactive Sunday against Washington.

In fact, even though McCoy said himself that he probably wouldn't play, Philly coach Andy Reid directly rebutted that in his press conference this week.

Despite the unnecessary gamesmanship, this is the smart move, though. McCoy is chasing Maurice Jones-Drew for the NFL rushing title, but he's 128 rushing yards behind Mojo.

The Colts allow 140.9 yards on the ground (29th in the NFL) and 4.2 yards per carry on the ground (16th), so it's not a stretch to think that MJD would pick up 100-plus yards.

Shady rolling for 228 on a bum ankle? That's the definition of a stretch.


And yeah, McCoy is within 123 yards of breaking Wilbert Montgomery's Eagles single-season record of 1,512 rushing yards. But he's got plenty of career remaining to break that record; the real shame would be him suffering an injury that could screw up his 2012 in a meaningless Week 17 game.

Of course, it's also probably worth wondering why McCoy spent all week practicing with the first team if he wasn't ever going to play.

Follow all the Week 17 action live: Inactives | Scoreboard

1 p.m. ET games:
DET-GB | TEN-HOU | IND-JAC | NYJ-MIA | CHI-MIN | BUF-NE | CAR-NO | WAS-PHI | SF-STL

4 p.m. ET games:
TB-ATL | BAL-CIN | PIT-CLE | SEA-ARI | KC-DEN | SD-OA

Posted on: December 26, 2011 5:03 pm
Edited on: December 26, 2011 5:51 pm
 

Andy Reid says LeSean McCoy will play Week 17

Shady's says he's getting shut down for the season. (AP)
By Will Brinson

Week 17 means nothing for the Eagles, who are already eliminated from the postseason despite their Week 16 20-7 victory over Dallas. But it was going to mean something for running back LeSean McCoy, who had a shot at the NFL rushing title as well the Philly single-season record for rushing yards.
Week 16 Recap

But McCoy won't be topping Wilbert Montgomery's club record for rushing yards now, at least based on his comments Monday.

"Montgomery, he’s probably smiling right now," McCoy said, per Bob Grotz of the Delaware County Times. "I’ll get it next year – hopefully."

McCoy was 123 yards shy of Montgomery's franchise record for rushing yards of 1,512 yards that he set in 1979, so he stood a pretty good chance of topping that, with the Eagles set to play the Redskins in the final game of the season.

So the Eagles are smart to shut Shady down for the year ... except they're not apparently.

"McCoy has a slight ankle sprain, but he’ll be fine," Andy Reid said on Monday. "I know there was something put out there that he wasn’t going to play, but that’s not the case. [His comments] were more towards how many yards he thought he needed to break Wilbert Montgomery’s record."

Reid said all his starters will play, provided they're healthy, which is interesting given what happened to Adrian Peterson -- a talented running back dealing with an ankle sprain who played in a meaningless game and blew out his knee -- in Week 16.

The rushing title wasn't likely going to happen anyway: McCoy's 1,309 yards is nearly 130 shy of Maurice Jones-Drew's league-leading 1,437 rushing yards on the season.

And unlike Montgomery, MJD will actually play on Sunday. So will McCoy, apparently.

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Posted on: December 22, 2011 10:41 am
Edited on: December 22, 2011 10:44 am
 

Keep an Eye on: Week 16's finer points

Julius Peppers will play a big role in stopping Aaron Rodgers. (Getty Images)
Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit

Packers vs. Bears
The question is, What did the Chiefs do to make the Packers imperfect, and can the Bears do it too? In short, the Chiefs did nothing special. They ate up clock offensively, running on early downs and sustaining drives with conversions on several third-and-manageable situations. They stayed in base personnel That kept the Packers in their base 3-4, which is plainer than rice cake compared to the blitzes and disguises from their nickel and dime packages. Against that front, Kyle Orton was able to manipulate the defense with play action and eye movement.


Defensively, the Chiefs played press-man against the Packers’ receivers, which the Chiefs had just enough resources to do given Greg Jennings was out. They often rushed only three and forced Aaron Rodgers to beat them from the pocket. Normally, Rodgers would do that with ease, but Sunday he was uncharacteristically jumpy.

The Bears can certainly play this rudimentary style of football – any team can. But that doesn’t mean it will work for them. It hasn’t worked for them yet, after all. Caleb Hanie has been asked to manage the game and has often responded by ruining it (three interceptions in three of his four starts). With no staple ground attack, the Bears haven’t even been in position to play dink and dunk football.

Defensively, Chicago has moved away from the archaic Tampa 2 and towards more press coverage schemes. But their press coverage has not been pure man-to-man, perhaps because of Charles Tillman’s limitations in change-of-direction. It’s doubtful the Bears can simply out-execute the Packers’ receivers; instead they’ll need Julius Peppers & Co. to exploit that injury-riddled offensive line.

Cowboys vs. Eagles
Apparently the 2011 Eagles just needed 12 games to find their identity. The last two weeks they’ve looked like what everyone originally expected them to look like. It’s not that the players are finally getting comfortable in the system, it’s that the system has been tweaked and is finally logical.

Defensively, the Eagles have played more press-coverage and have mixed things up in their pass-rush (for example, aligning Trent Cole and Jason Babin at standup inside linebacker positions behind a two-man line against the Jets – a tactic that generated two of Babin’s three sacks).

They’ve moved Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to dime back, giving the slot nickel duties back to Joselio Hanson. They’ve inserted Casey Matthews back into the lineup, not as a starter but as a nickel linebacker, where he’s been fairly comfortable. Thanks to all this (and more), this defense has given up just 29 points and has recorded 11 sacks over the last two games.

Offensively, Philly’s line is doing a much better job picking up blitzes. The receivers are reading coverages and Michael Vick is playing with patience in the pocket. Vick’s limited football IQ has still led to a few unnecessary hits and missed opportunities, but the good has far outweighed the bad.

LeSean McCoy was bottled up by the Dolphins but, working out of spread formations, he produced 102 yards on 18 carries against the Jets. He’s scored five touchdowns the past two games.

The Eagles won their first meeting with the Cowboys handily. Even on the road this week, it wouldn’t be a shock to see them do that again.

Saints vs. Falcons
No one is playing better than Drew Brees right now, though Matt Ryan has played well enough to make the Falcons this year’s Wild Card Team That Nobody Wants to Face.

After an up and down start, Ryan has gotten comfortable with the Falcons’ new pass-oriented system. That system has had them operating out of 11 personnel (one back, one tight end, three wide receivers) in a no-huddle. Ryan has called most of the game at the line of scrimmage.

This has helped Atlanta on several fronts. For one, Michael Turner, though a power back, has been very good running from the wider 2 x 1 receiver formations. In these sets, Turner gets a clearer picture of his running lanes and faces more cornerbacks and fewer linebackers at the second level.

Secondly, the Falcons can create more inside spacing for Tony Gonzalez, which punishes defenses that try to defend him with a linebacker. Defenses that put a safety on Gonzalez are leaving single coverage on either Julio Jones or Roddy White.

Perhaps the best benefit of the hurry-up is, with all the audibling, Ryan controls the pass protections. That’s given Ryan a much better understanding of where the defensive pressure is likely to come from. Ryan’s presnap protection calls will play a huge factor in the outcome Monday night, as the Saints are known for their aggressive blitzes.

So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all Week 8 games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: December 21, 2011 4:52 pm
 

Rodgers tops Pro Bowl voting; Tebow third AFC QB

Aaron Rodgers led the way in all Pro Bowl voting.(Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

We've wondered whether or not Tim Tebow is a Pro-Bowl candidate before this year and the answer is probably "no." But that doesn't matter when it comes to Pro-Bowl voting, where Tebow was the third-highest vote getter among AFC quarterbacks.

Aaron Rodgers, named the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year on Wednesday, was the top vote-getter among all NFL players, pulling in 1,581,982 votes from fans. Tom Brady was second among all NFL players with 1,454,311 votes. Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker and tight end Rob Gronkowski joined Brady in the top 10, via NFL.com:

Top-10 Pro Bowl Vote Getters
Player Position Team Votes
Aaron Rodgers
QB Packers 1,581,982
Tom Brady
QB Patriots 1,454,311
Drew Brees
QB Saints 1,188,893
Calvin Johnson
WR Lions 1,180,777
Wes Welker
WR Patriots 1,133,787
LeSean McCoy
RB Eagles 962,824
Rob Gronkowski
TE Patriots 936,886
Ben Roethlisberger
QB Steelers 935,535
Adrian Peterson
RB Vikings 925,554
Mike Wallace
WR Steelers 923,073

So, yeah, breaking: the Patriots and Steelers are popular! Also popular? Tebow.

AFC Pro Bowl Leaders by Position
Offense Defense
Player Pos Team Votes Player Pos Team Votes
Tom Brady
QB Patriots 1,454,311 Andre Carter
DE Patriots 511,693
Arian Foster
RB Texans 896,804 Haloti Ngata
DT Ravens 592,603
Vonta Leach
FB Ravens 149,801 Terrell Suggs
OLB Ravens 546,851
Wes Welker
WR Patriots 1,133,787 Ray Lewis
MLB Ravens 413,222
Rob Gronkowski
TE Patriots 936,886 Darrelle Revis
CB Jets 561,986
Michael Oher
OT Ravens 327,644 Troy Polamalu
SS Steelers 230,649
Logan Mankins
G Patriots 337,844 Ed Reed
FS Ravens 198,075
Maurkice Pouncey
C Steelers 376,457 Shane Lechler
P Raiders 228,782
Sebastian Janikowski
K Raiders 244,512 Joe McKnight
KR Jets 140,926

Once again, I'll point out that the Ravens and Patriots are popular (and also good at what they do), along with the Steelers. Brendon Ayanbadejo was the leading "special teams" vote-getter, with 106,515. On the NFC side, well, I hope you like the Packers:

NFC Pro Bowl Leaders by Position
Offense Defense
Player Pos Team Votes Player Pos Team Votes
Aaron Rodgers
QB Packers 1,581,982 Jared Allen
DE Vikings 784,527
LeSean McCoy
RB Eagles 962,824 Justin Smith
DT 49ers 525,578
John Kuhn
FB Packers 322,260 DeMarcus Ware
OLB Cowboys 581,554
Calvin Johnson
WR Lions 1,180,777 Patrick Willis
MLB 49ers 581,554
Jimmy Graham
TE Saints 725,612 Charles Woodson
CB Packers 763,198
Chad Clifton
OT Packers 392,106 Roman Harper
SS Saints 147,542
T.J. Lang
G Packers 327,740 Morgan Burnett
FS Packers 223,292
Scott Wells
C Packers 436,693 Andy Lee
P 49ers 161,812
Mason Crosby
K Packers 184,665 Devin Hester
KR Bears 268,293

For the NFC, Jarrett Bush of the Packers received the most special teams votes with 134,696. (And yes, I suppose I could have kick returners on the offense side, but I'm not trying to have my tables be all uneven. Oh no I'm not.)

Naturally, none of this means any of these guys are guaranteed to make the Pro Bowl -- the fan vote only counts as one-third of the total. The players vote is worth two-thirds. But there's a good chance that many of these guys will end up in the Pro Bowl.

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Posted on: December 21, 2011 2:46 pm
 

Film Room: Jets vs. Giants Christmas eve preview

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit


This Christmas Eve battle carries significant playoff implications for both New York teams. With the hype already built in, we can get right to the breakdown.


1. Rex Ryan
The loquacious third-year head coach has already said his is the better team in this game and if that “better team” loses, the blame will be on him. That would make two weeks in a row.

Rarely do we call out a coaching staff in Film Room posts; it’s dicey given the depth of preparation and various subtle and unknown factors that go into a gameplan. But rarely do we see one staff thoroughly outwit another staff the way Andy Reid and his crew did against Ryan & Co. last week.

The Eagles offensive line and backs had no trouble stoning the Jets’ blitzes. That’s noteworthy given that Philly’s front five and LeSean McCoy have been inconsistent in blitz pickup this season. With Jim Leonhard injured, the Jets had to scale back their coverages. They may have scaled too far back; Michael Vick, a poor field reader, diagnosed the Jets’ secondary with ease.

Afterwards, there were reports that Eagles receivers were calling out the coverages prior to the snap. In most of those instances, the Eagles were aligned in spread formations, which widened the Jets defense. That gave Vick clearer looks and, as NFL Matchup Show executive producer Greg Cosell pointed out, it dictated some favorable blocking advantages for the Eagles run game. Instead of adjusting and being proactive, the Jets stagnated and became reactive.

2. Giants run game vs. Jets D
Ryan and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine are two of the best in the business. It’s unlikely they’ll be flat two games in a row. It helps that they’re facing a Giants offense that can’t run the ball. When the Giants do attempt to run (and they will), it won’t be from spread formations like the Eagles. They’re a power run team that girth over quickness up front and relies on fullbacks and tight ends on the edges and lead-blocks.

The Jets are tailored to stop this brand of rushing. Nose tackle Sione Pouha will command extra attention inside, leaving one-on-one mismatches for either Muhammad Wilkerson (a fast-rising rookie with a willowy frame and improved explosiveness) or Mike DeVito (a low-to-the-ground energy guy with an underrated burst).

That’s just in the trenches. At the second level, the Jets linebackers present even greater problems. About the only way to beat them is to make them guess wrong (solid, assertive veteran Bart Scott especially can misdiagnose and overreact at times). The Giants running backs, however, have not proven fleet enough this season to trust on draws, counters or other misdirection runs.
Ballard and Keller have been safety valves for their QBs this season. (Getty Images)

3. Tight Ends
In recent weeks, Jake Ballard has evolved from a lumbering but effective seam pass-catcher to something of a potent all-around receiver. He runs a wider variety of routes than anyone would have guessed and is more than a dumpoff option for Eli Manning. One reason for this could be because defenses have been more inclined to double the Giants receivers outside.

The Jets may not have to double given they can match Darrelle Revis on Hakeem Nicks. But that doesn’t mean Ballard won’t be a significant factor Sunday. The Jets linebackers are not particularly comfortable in coverage, and Manning may even like the matchup of Ballard on safety Eric Smith.

Because the Jets corners play so much man, they’re not going to be too responsive to play-action (the corners are outside and watching the receiver, not inside where they can see the quarterback and linemen carry out fakes). Thus, when Manning does fake a handoff, it’s likely Ballard’s defender is the one he’ll be trying to manipulate.

For the Jets, tight end Dustin Keller is critical because, as you’re about to read, he’s Mark Sanchez’s safety valve.

4. Jets passing game
The Giants are usually willing to cover tight ends with linebackers, especially if nickel ‘backer Jacquian Williams is on the field. It’s possible, though, that they’ll find a way to put a safety on Keller.

He’s often Sanchez’s go-to guy in passing situations. This is gold star for Keller, but more than that, it’s a black checkmark for Sanchez. Because he’s as jittery in the pocket and as unreliable in his progressions as he was his rookie year, the Jets’ passing attack is full of simplified one-read plays. A lot of those one-read plays – rollouts, short drag patterns, flairs to the flats, short hooks, etc. – naturally target a tight end. It helps that Sanchez, for all his short-comings, is superb throwing quickly between the numbers.

The Jets have not been able to consistently incorporate their wide receivers in the passing game this season. Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress have not gone over 50 yards receiving in the same game since Week 1. Four times they’ve both been held to 40 yards or less. Some of that is on them (Burress, in particular, has had trouble getting separation as of late), but most of that is on Sanchez and an offensive line that, thanks to right tackle Wayne Hunter, can’t always sustain protection for a seven-step drop.

Perhaps this is the week the receivers come to life. One of them – likely Holmes – will be blanketed by Corey Webster, but the other will get to face either Aaron Ross or Prince Amukumara, two players who have struggled, especially in man coverage.

5. Jets run game
If turnovers hadn’t put the Jets in such an early hole at Philadelphia, we probably would be talking not about Rex Ryan getting outcoached but about Shonn Greene running all over the Eagles D.

The Jets ground game has had some juice in recent weeks. Greene is finally playing downhill, and the line, anchored by indomitable center Nick Mangold, has done a good job hiding its weaknesses and highlighting its strengths (examples: simple pull-blocks for left guard Matt Slauson, running off and not behind finesse left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson, tight ends lining up on the right so that Hunter can maximize his raw strength as a strict north/south blocker, etc.).

The Giants, with their iffy linebacking unit, are not a staunch run defense (though second-year end Jason Pierre-Paul is coming close to singlehandedly changing that).

So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all Week 8 games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: December 18, 2011 6:08 pm
Edited on: December 18, 2011 6:15 pm
 

After terrible start, Jets making it respectable

Philadelphia has taken a 28-13 lead into halftime (AP).

By Josh Katzowitz

You might have thought that with the Giants putrid performance today against the Redskins, there was little question Tom Coughlin’s squad would be the most embarrassing team to hail from New Jersey today. The first 20 minutes of the Jets-Eagles game might have been even worse than that.

That’s because the Jets fell behind four touchdowns to Philadelphia early in the second quarter but somehow have recovered before halftime and went into intermission losing 28-13.

While the Jets have relied on solid running by LeSean McCoy (12 carries for 60 yards and a touchdown) and 165 total yards from Michael Vick, the Jets, for most of the half, were hindered by three turnovers. But after allowing four-straight touchdowns to Philadelphia, New York has forced turnovers from the Eagles and has scored 13-straight points to end the half.

But to make matters even worse -- or, frankly, even more stupid -- after Sanchez fit a nice 25-yard touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes to cut the lead to 18, Holmes inexplicably used the ball as a prop and began flapping his wings like an eagle. It, of course, drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

Holmes

But hey, lay off Holmes. He’d already fumbled the ball that led directly to an Eagles score and he tipped a Sanchez pass that was intercepted. He was probably just excited he actually held onto the ball this time.

One piece of bad news for the Eagles, despite allowing the touchdown and two field goals in the second quarter. DeSean Jackson, after making a tackle following a McCoy fumble, went to the locker room with an unknown injury.



Follow all the Week 15 action live: Inactives | Scoreboard

1 p.m. ET games: MIA-BUF | SEA-CHI | CAR-HOU | TEN-IND | GB-KC | NO-MIN | WAS-NYG | CIN-STL
4 p.m. ET games: DET-OAK | CLE-ARI | NE-DEN | NYJ-PHI




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