Friday, December 19, 2014

McCoy's improvement as a blocker

How did Eagles running back LeSean McCoy improve as a blocker during his rookie season? And can Kevin Kolb count on him to pick up opposing blitzers this year?

McCoy's improvement as a blocker

LeSean McCoy quickly corrected his mistakes last season, according to Marty Mornhinweg. (Yong Kim / Staff file photo)
LeSean McCoy quickly corrected his mistakes last season, according to Marty Mornhinweg. (Yong Kim / Staff file photo)

One of the major questions about LeSean McCoy as a rookie was if he'd be able to do a good enough job as a blocker.

McCoy always appeared willing to improve that aspect of his game, but did that mean he always did a good job?

Of course not.

Marty Mornhinweg was quick to acknowledge earlier this week that McCoy made mistakes in games last year, but he was quick to correct them and maintained a good attitude throughout. Mornhinweg said the difference between his blocking in Week 1 and the end of the season was "night and day."

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Just quickly checking my notes from last season, I noticed McCoy did a poor job in protection in the playoff loss to the Cowboys, allowing a blitzing linebacker to get in the face of Donovan McNabb, who threw an incompletion.

And in Week 17, he was called for holding in the fourth quarter against Dallas.

McCoy is in a different role this season. He's not the young rookie looking to learn from the veteran and contribute when possible. He's the guy.  With the interior of the Eagles' offensive line a major question mark, it's crucial that he continues to work on knowing his blocking assignments and executing properly.

Kevin Kolb showed during his two starts last season that he is willing to stay in the pocket and absorb a hit, but obviously he's no good to the Birds if he gets injured.

Other links and thoughts:

* Donovan McNabb spent a few minutes on 97.5 The Fanatic with Gonzo and Vai Sikahema this morning, but he wasn't in the mood to say much. He apologized to Eagles fans for not bringing a Super Bowl to Philadelphia, but had only good things to say about Kolb, Andy Reid and his new opportunity with the Redskins.

* Quick thought on the 3-4 discussion. Do the Eagles have more hybrid guys on their roster now than in years past? Yes. But do we know if any of them can play? No. Was there a single linebacker last year whose play you would describe as above average or exceptional? I would put Akeem Jordan in that category when he was playing the WILL before he got injured, but no other name comes to mind. I believe Sean McDermott when he says he'll play whatever package gets his most effective players on the field, but we'll have to see who exactly those guys are.

* CBSSports.com's Clark Judge lists the Eagles as one of the five most intriguing QB situations in the NFL:

For the past 11 seasons Donovan McNabb was the face of the Eagles' franchise. But now he's gone and not because he did anything wrong; the club simply decided it was time to make a change. And change, we're told, is good. Let's see. McNabb's successor, Kevin Kolb, allows coach Andy Reid to run more of a traditional West Coast offense, with more short to intermediate passes, slants, crosses and curls. But the question is: Will it allow the Eagles more success than they had with McNabb? That will be difficult. He led the team to the playoffs eight times, including five conference championship games in five years and one Super Bowl. Still, the Eagles thought they had gone as far as they could with him and wanted a new approach. This is that new approach.


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Sheil Kapadia Philly.com
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Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for philly.com. His earliest memories as a sports fan include several trips to Veterans Stadium with his Dad. He's not a beat writer or an Insider, but is here to discuss the NFL 365 days a year. E-mail him at skapadia@philly.com or by clicking here

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