Saturday, December 27, 2014

McCoy downplays Barry Sanders talk

LeSean McCoy said he will play Monday, despite a two-day old stomach flu that he said still makes it hard to keep food down.

McCoy downplays Barry Sanders talk

LeSean McCoy and the Eagles take on the Bears on Monday night. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
LeSean McCoy and the Eagles take on the Bears on Monday night. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

LeSean McCoy said he will play Monday, despite a two-day old stomach flu that he said still makes it hard to keep food down.

"It felt good," to practice today after missing Thursday's session McCoy said. "I get bored just staying home resting."

As he looks ahead to a showdown with the Bears' Matt Forte, McCoy downplayed the praise that has lately come his way. 

"I feel like the best back is Adrian Peterson, and then the next is Chris Johnson, still," McCoy said. Asked about the accolades that have trailed him, he added, "I don’t really get too involved in that stuff because it comes and goes."

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Some -- including coach Andy Reid -- have compared McCoy's moves to those of Barry Sanders. But McCoy squashed that idea.

"Growing up Barry Sanders was my favorite player. I have a long way to get on his type of level. You're talking about one of the best players, I’ll say best back of all time. I’ve got a lot of room for improvement to be in those type of shoes. I’ve got a long way for improvement to be in Brian Westbrook’s type of shoes so I don't really get wrapped up in who's who and who I'm better than and who I run like. That type of stuff wil take care of itself."

In other injury news, Brent Celek (hip) was back at practice and seems likely to play Monday. Akeem Jordan (concussion) was also back. Defensive end Juqua Parker sat out due to lingering problems from the high ankle sprain he suffered week 2. He said he had an MRI recently but it came back normal. Parker said he can still feel the effects of the sprain at times during games.

Below is our earlier report on McCoy and Bobby April's comments on how the Eagles plan to face Devin Hester this week.

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LeSean McCoy, the Eagles most dangerous offensive weapon so far this year, said today that he is still feeling sick but that fans should know, "I'm playing Monday."

Added offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, "I think he's going to end up being fine."

Coach Andy Reid said Thursday that McCoy had the "stomach flu."

McCoy is out at practice Friday, as is Brent Celek, who missed Thursday's session with a hip bruise.

Juqua Parker was not at practice. He had a high ankle sprain earlier in the year.

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Special teams coordinator Bobby April has a big task on his hands this week as the Eagles try to slow down Chicago return man Devin Hester. The Bears rank first in punt returns and ninth in kick off returns, and Hester has scored once on each kind of runback this year.

"He’s better than good, he’s, I guess, the greatest returner of all time," April said. He would not discuss strategy, but said there are risks in simply kicking away from Hester and giving up better field position.

"You don’t want to get beat by a bomb, but you don’t wan to get killed by a bunch of hand grenades either," April explained.

Every time you try to avoid a return man, "you generally had to do something to bring the ball closer to your goal line."

Despite the deeper kickoffs around the league this season due to the new kickoff point, April said Hester will runback kicks no matter how deep the ball is kicked.  

"He’ll bring 'em out, unless he misshandles it or it kind of gets past him," April said.  "If he fields it, he’ll bring it out."

When the teams met last year, the Eagles punted three times and Hester had just one return for nine yards. He had one kick return for 46, but his other two runbacks went for just 32 combined yards. Rookie punter Chas Henry has not had many big early kicks, adding to the danger for the Eagles, though only eight of his punts have been returned.

"The Bears obviously have a formula that works and they have a great returner and our job is to stop them," said Eagles special teams ace Colt Anderson. "(Hester's) speed and strength is like no other returner in the league."

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Birds' Eye View is the Inquirer's blog covering all things Philadelphia Eagles and the NFL.

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