Using LeSean McCoy, Stopping Larry Fitzgerald Big Story for Eagles
LeSean McCoy rushed 25 times for 81 yards with a touchdown and added two catches for eight yards in the Eagles' Week 2 win over the Ravens. He had 20 carries for 110 yards and added six catches for 26 yards in the Eagles' Week 1 win over the Browns.
Those numbers are solid, but one thing McCoy has had issues with this season is fumbling. Last season McCoy fumbled just one time all season, already he has put the ball on the carpet twice this season. fumbling for the second time in two games, against the Ravens.
Its something offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg wants to fix - but isn't to concerned about.
“Normally, you go through some turnovers and you emphasize it as a coaching staff. I’m just telling you, the players are proud," Mornhinweg stated. "They want to take care of the ball and they want to have possession of the ball after every play. So, normally, it gets corrected that way. There are some things we do in practice with ball security drills and there’s many drills that we do go through. But normally, if you emphasize it, [it gets corrected]. The players have to emphasize it among themselves, which we did. I didn’t, the players did because I didn’t have to because the players did that themselves at halftime. Normally, that will get corrected that way.”
One thing is for certain, just because the Eagles have turned the ball over, already nine times in just two games, they aren't going to become a conservative team.
“Why would you ever do that,?" joked Mornhinweg. No, really, you have to score points in this league, typically, to win. We’re playing just the way that I expect us to play with the exception of the turnovers and so, you get that fixed. I think we can be pretty good, now, if we get the turnover thing fixed.
Many people feared that McCoy could struggle this season with the loss of all-pro tackle Jason Peters. Peters is one of the most dominating run-blockers in the game and some felt that his loss would have a negative effect on McCoy - but so far the line has done a fine job run blocking.
“We’re doing a fine job in the run game up front and it’s all together when a play doesn’t work,' said Mornhinweg. "Receivers are important as well; the tight ends, the quarterback and the back, making sure that he stays with the play first and then allows his natural ability and instincts to kick in. So, there’s been a few here and there. But our running game, I feel good about our running game. I think our running game will continue to get better as well.”
When people talk about the Eagles a lot of the discussion is about Mike Vick, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, or this season, the improved play of the defense. But the one guy who makes this team go is McCoy.
Arizona is in the middle of the pack so far in stopping the run, they give up an average of 102.5 yards per game on the ground. With a couple of back-up linemen making their first starts this season a heavy-dose of McCoy could be just what the doctor ordered.
On the flip side, Eagles defensive coordinator Juan Castillo realizes that Cardinals wide out Larry Fitzgerald is one of, if not the best receiver in the league. However, the Patriots limited the talented wide out to just one catch last week and Castillo is aware.
“They did a few things and I think you heard the head coach talking about they were trying to get the ball to Larry," Castillo explained. "They were trying to get it to him more. I think there were times when Larry was open. They just didn’t go that way. Looking at the tape there were times when he must not have been the first progression or maybe [the Cardinals] thought [the Patriots] were taking him out of the game. There were times when Larry Fitzgerald was open.”.
Fitzgerald, needs just two catches on Sunday for 700 in his career. The four-time All-pro has just five catches for 67 yards and no touchdowns in two games this season. Next up is a Sundays game with Caastillo's defense which features an old friend - Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha.
The big question will be which one will he see move of?
“It just depends," said Castillo. "A few things depending on the players. It’s really the matchups. What can this guy do well? What can your guy do? Can he take him out? That’s why we talked last week in the way we felt about the matchups and where we put Nnam and where we put [CB] Dominique [Rodgers-Cromartie].”
Using McCoy and stopping Fitzgerald just might be the key to an Eagles win in the desert.