Mar 10, 2015; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy holds up his new jersey after a press conference at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
The Buffalo Bills haven’t made the playoffs in 15 years. Can they get past the hump in 2015 with LeSean McCoy at running back?
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The great thing about the NFL is that it’s the ultimate team sport. There are 11 different players working on the field at once, one dependent on another. In McCoy’s case, if the quarterback isn’t reading the defense correctly and the offensive line isn’t doing their job it’s tough for him as a running back to be successful.
McCoy, who spent his first six years in the league with the Philadelphia Eagles, was traded this offseason to Buffalo in exchange for linebacker Kiko Alonso. Although it wasn’t his best year in 2014, he had another solid season under head coach Chip Kelly. The move came as a surprise to McCoy:
"“My first reaction, I was definitely disappointed just because my team didn’t really, I didn’t know what was going on. I’ve been in Philadelphia my whole life for the six years it was great, but once I kind of sat down, relaxed and had some thought to myself talked to my family and I thought it was the best move. I felt the team that actually wanted me and did what was possible to make this trade go through.”"
Since being shipped to Buffalo McCoy has made the most of his opportunity, but it hasn’t gone without controversy between he and Kelly. He’s made statements such as his former head coach being “racist” and has since started ducking questions related to their relationship.
What’s happened between the two are now in the past. It’s time — or has been time — to forget about it all and focus now on doing what he has to do to help bring success to the Bills organization.
McCoy, who turns 27 on July 12, will be a part of a cast of playmakers on new offensive coordinator Greg Roman’s offense. He, along with newcomers Percy Harvin and Charles Clay, could be enough pieces acquired this offseason to overcome what the Bills lack at the quarterback position.
One question a lot of people have is how often “Shady” McCoy will be getting the ball this year. Long-time Bills running back Fred Jackson thinks it could be somewhere around 300+ carries. That wouldn’t be anything new for McCoy, though; in 2013 and 2014 he’s accumulated 314 and 312 total carries, respectfully.
May 26, 2015; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy (25) during the organized team activities at the ADPRO Sports Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
In a piece done earlier this season I hit on what kind of shelf life McCoy has. Only a few running backs can sustain quality production after 30 especially if they’re being given north of 300 carries each season. That’s not even adding the wear-and-tear they accumulate through pass blocking and catching the ball.
For head coach Rex Ryan to get the most out of McCoy for the future he must limit his workload and dish the rock to other backs on the roster. Jackson is aging but still a quality backup, and the team opted to draft Karlos Williams in the fifth round of the NFL draft this past May.
It appears that Buffalo has the team to make a stab at the playoffs in 2015, maybe even compete for the AFC East division. For Ryan and his teams, they’ve always had the “win-now” mentality and it won’t be any different this season.
Can McCoy be that missing piece that gets Buffalo over the hump and finally break the curse of the Music City Miracle?