Friday, May 8, 2009

The RB Situation

There is mixture of curiosity and concern about the backup running back situation. After my last post, which offered praise for LeSean McCoy, it was pointed out that a lot of praise went Lorenzo Booker's way last spring/summer. That was the last time there was much positive to say about LoBo in 2008. Or 2009 for that matter.

Is this a case of deja vu all over again? Maybe, but the situation is different. LoBo was a terrific role player in college. He showed the potential to be a good role player in his rookie year at Miami. The talk with him last year was about how good a role player he could be for us. At the time, we hoped he would be the primary KOR. We hoped he would be a weapon on screen passes and some draw plays. Maybe mix in a slant. No one expected him to be a starting level RB. Buck was solidly #2.

LeSean is a whole different ball game. Let's just look at his college numbers compared to LoBo

LoBo: 47 games ... 2,389 yds ... 4.8 ypc ... 15 TDs ... 114 catches
LeSean: 25 gms ... 2,816 yds ... 4.8 ypc ... 35 TDs ... 65 catches

LoBo was never a "true" RB even in college. He was a 3rd down back and role player. LeSean carried his offense on his back for two seasons. The coaches praising him is different.

We know McCoy is a gifted RB. We needed to know if he can handle the transition to the NFL. Last weekend was just one of many tests. My comment about him being better than Jim Brown and Barry Sanders was an attempt to make fun of the preseason hype created by me. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

LeSean hasn't taken a real hit or had to memorize large chunks of the playbook. He's in the infantile stage of his career. He's got a long way to go just to reach September.

I'm encouraged because the coaching staff is happy with him. If he stays in their good graces, they will use him and get him the ball. That aids his development. Ryan Moats struggled to get on the good side of the coaches. That kept him buried on the depth chart and likely killed any hopes of having a really good career.

Should LeSean hit the wall and start to really struggle, we can go add a veteran RB. Guys will get cut over the course of the summer. Edgerrin James is on the market now. So is Chris Perry. I think Deuce McAllister remains unsigned. And so on. We have a Pro Bowl starter in place. That's the real key. His knee is much, much better than it was last year. That's great news and the real key to our offense and running game.



T_S_O_P said...

Maybe then it would have been fairer of me to compare and contrast LeSean to DeSean in terms of the praise they were receiving last year.

Tommy Lawlor said...

I think your point about Booker and LeSean was a relevant question. I had to do some thinking and go back and re-read stuff from last year.

LeSean vs DeSean (now that sounds funny)...there is a lot of similarity in both guys. Both were 1st round talents that slid because of some concerns. We can only hope that McCoy turns out to be anything close to DJax.

Prem Prakash said...

Tommy, Maybe I have missed something but you mention that Westy's knee is much better than last year. Can you expand on this? One of my biggest concerns for the Eagles O this year is how much tread Brian has on his tires. Also, even if his knee is better, the surgery and rehab must have affected his off-season conditioning. Do you think it will impact his ability to be 100% come Sept?

Adam said...

I don't think Brian's surgery required a whole lot of rehab considering they only cleaned it out, nothing was surgicaly repaired. I think his conditioning should be good he barely practiced, I'm also assuming he didn't do much cardio/lifting, throughout the year and it seemed fine last year. I fully expect this man to have a huge year with help in the backfield to take some carries, namely McCoy and Weaver.

Cliff said...

Brian Westbrook just needs to be *on the field* to be effective for us. He scares defensive coordinators so much that even a hobbled Westbrook opens things up a little.

It'll be interesting to see what happens this year when opposing defenses start scheming against DeSean. Him only being a rookie last season works to his advantage because Reid hadn't yet opened up the playbook on him. In other words, defenses will have to figure out ways to stop what he's already done, but also predict ways to stop things he's going to start doing.

izzylangfan said...

The eagles should be running better in 2009 due to Westbrook's return to health, the improved run blocking of the offensive line, a real fullback and hopfully better play calling. But no matter how good LeSean is, he will get no carries if he can't pick up the blitz. An ability which has proven difficult to predict.