Tuesday - Jan 22, 2019

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The Real McCoy

Increasingly, as time has worn on over the past couple of seasons, teams all over the league have adopted a running back by committee (RBBC) approach. What started out as a rare thing in

Tampa
Bay
with Warrick Dunn and Mike Alstott has become common throughout football. RBBC used to be used by teams who did not have that sure fire thing in the backfield, but now even teams with great backs are going with the committee approach.
Tennessee uses Chris Johnson and LenDale White,

San Diego
sends out LaDainian Tomlinson and Darren Sproles and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Not only do these situations allow for the starter to take a break throughout the course of the game, but also provide teams with solid backups if the main guy is to go down with an injury. This, of course, leads to fantasy owners drafting these backups as handcuff picks to their starter.



 

One team that hasn’t been known for employing the committee approach as it became the norm was the Philadelphia Eagles. Brian Westbrook has been the big man on campus in the City of

Brotherly Love
since he took over the starting job in 2004. Westbrook quickly became known as one of the best all-around backs in the league and had the hybrid running back/receiver abilities of Marshall Faulk, but added invaluable speed to the mix as well.



 

Over the past few years, it has been clear that the Eagles offense ebbs and flows around Westbrook. When the soon-to-be 30-year-old rusher was on the bench thanks to yet another injury, the Eagles seemed to slow down and their offense became much more predictable with guys like Correll Buckhalter, Lorenzo Booker and Reno Mahe backing him up. While Buckhalter provided a spark at times, by no means was he a suitable handcuff on draft day. Buckhalter left town in the offseason and that left a gaping hole in the Eagles backfield. Often criticized for never drafting skill positions early, Andy Reid went out and much to fans’ delight, found the one guy who is not only a great handcuff, but possibly the next coming of Brian Westbrook: LeSean McCoy.



 

McCoy was one of the most highly touted running backs coming out of high school and stayed close to his hometown of
Harrisburg,
Pa., when he elected to attend the

University of
Pittsburgh
. In just two years at the school, he racked up over 3,300 rushing and receiving yards while also scoring a combined 36 touchdowns (21 of these coming on the ground in 2008). With the 5’10, 203-pound Westbrook reaching that scary age of 30, Reid found Westbrook’s clone in McCoy who stands at 5’10 and 198 pounds.



 

The Eagles received bad news soon after the draft when Westbrook went under the knife to clean up his ankle and were told that he would most likely be out through training camp, the entire preseason and might not even be 100% when the regular season begins in September. Suddenly, the McCoy pick was looking even better. If Westbrook thrives in Reid’s offense, there is no reason why McCoy shouldn’t experience a lot of the same success. While he might not put up top numbers this year, McCoy could become the ultimate handcuff to Westbrook who is seemingly plagued with injuries, but more importantly to fantasy owners, a first-round pick in any draft. Westbrook’s fantasy owners should not waste any time picking up McCoy with their last pick because it is practically guaranteed that his name will be there just before the final bell sounds.



 

McCoy inked his contract early (the first second-round pick to do so) which tells me one thing: he is ready to focus on football and could open a lot of eyes in training camp and the preseason when he is placed into the shoes of Westbrook, which seem to fit just perfectly.

 

 

 

 

 

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