Offense Should Run Through LeSean McCoy Against Detroit

Offense Should Run Through LeSean McCoy Against Detroit

Michael Vick is going to run around like a chicken with its head cut off, because that's what Michael Vick does. Chances are he'll have a good game against a defense lacking in playmakers, but mostly I'm hoping he doesn't hurt the offense with his excessive freelancing.

We interrupt your regularly scheduled quarterback controversy.

We've probably spent enough time on that topic for one week, so let's move on for now. If there is one player we should absolutely see more of this Sunday, it's LeSean McCoy.

Speaking from a practical sense, it's just smart football to hand the ball off a little more when the backup quarterback is in the game. Take the pressure off of Vick so he doesn't feel like he has to do everything. Under ordinary circumstances, asking Andy Reid to put it on the ground is like requesting Asante Samuel wrap up ball carriers, but we have seen the gameplan become more conservative in similar situations in the past.

Plus, McCoy has looked excellent with the rock. He's more decisive than he was as a rookie, and he's running with a nice mix of power and agility. He turned his seven carries against the Packers into 35 yards for a solid 5.0 average and a touchdown, and he had a few nifty runs in the preseason as well. (I throw away a lot of what I see in preseason, but you can usually get a pretty good read on running backs.)

Here's the kicker though. While most of the post-game discussion from last week's Lions-Bears encounter centered around the touchdown-catch-that-wasn't, one of the big stories that's been lost in the shuffle is how RB Matt Forte torched Detroit's defense.

Forte didn't have a particularly great game on the ground, rushing 17 times for a meager 50 yards. However, the multi-purpose back proved deadly as a receiver, finishing with seven receptions for 151 yards and two touchdowns. The Lions had no answer. Forte scampered 89 yards on a screen pass for his first score, then caught the game winning touchdown in the end zone, 28 yards downfield.

Obviously the Lions coaching staff will attempt to address the issues they had covering the running back, but the truth of the matter is they may not have the personnel. The Eagles should come up with ways to exploit this, especially because it ultimately results in easier throws for the quarterback.

It would be nice to see what Shady can do given a greater number of opportunities. He had the kind of rookie season that showed some promise, but didn't exactly knock anybody off their feet. Now he's the man, more so than ever with Leonard Weaver out, and utilizing the running back in the passing game has been a staple of this offense from the beginning.

Regardless of who was going to be under center this week, it was time to get back to basics. McCoy turned five receptions into 47 yards last week. If the coaches can find ways to get him into space, he might be able to double or even triple his production.

Photo by Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images

NBC Sports Philadelphia Internship - Advertising/Sales

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NBC Sports Philadelphia Internship - Advertising/Sales

Position Title: Intern
Department: Advertising/Sales
Company: NBC Sports Philadelphia
# of hours / week: 10 – 20 hours

Deadline: November 20

Basic Function

This position will work closely with the Vice President of Sales in generating revenue through commercial advertisements and sponsorship sales. The intern will gain first-hand sales experience through working with Sales Assistants and AEs on pitches, sales-calls and recapping material.

Duties and Responsibilities

• Assist Account Executive on preparation of Sales Presentations
• Cultivate new account leads for local sales
• Track sponsorships in specified programs
• Assist as point of contact with sponsors on game night set up and pre-game hospitality elements.
• Assist with collection of all proof of performance materials.
• Perform Competitive Network Analysis
• Update Customer database
• Other various projects as assigned

Requirements

1. Good oral and written communication skills.
2. Knowledge of sports.
3. Ability to work non-traditional hours, weekends & holidays
4. Ability to work in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment
5. Must be 19 years of age or older
6. Must be a student in pursuit of an Associate, Bachelor, Master or Juris Doctor degree
7. Must have unrestricted authorization to work in the US
8. Must have sophomore standing or above
9. Must have a 3.0 GPA

Interested students should apply here and specify they're interested in the ad/sales internship.

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Penn State begins daunting Big Ten stretch with statement win over No. 19 Michigan

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Penn State begins daunting Big Ten stretch with statement win over No. 19 Michigan

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – It was 11:23 p.m. Saturday night – James Franklin, poised to address reporters in the Beaver Stadium media room, knew the time because he checked a cellphone lying before him – and Penn State’s coach said that would allow him exactly 37 minutes to enjoy the 42-13 victory over Michigan (see observations).

After that it was time to move on, time for the second-ranked Nittany Lions to prepare for the next step down a treacherous path. That involves a visit to No. 6 Ohio State next weekend, with another trip, to No. 18 Michigan State, to follow.

Franklin wasn’t about to discuss the Buckeyes within that precious 37-minute window. There will be time enough for that in the days to come.

But what seems apparent is that the Lions have the ability and adaptability to run with the Big Ten’s big dogs – that if they lose next week, it will be because of the Buckeyes’ strengths, not their weaknesses.

On Saturday night PSU was as good as it has been against a quality team in Franklin’s three-plus seasons on the job, outgaining the No. 19 Wolverines, 506-269, and unleashing Saquon Barkley and Trace McSorley for three touchdowns apiece.

“Everybody’s been saying we haven’t been playing anybody this year,” wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton said. “Obviously we played somebody today.”

Somebody who came away pretty, pretty impressed.

“They hit us on quite a few plays that we have defensed well this year,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said. “I thought their execution was really good tonight, right from the beginning.”

As in, the second play from scrimmage. That’s when Barkley lined up in the Wildcat – a formation the Lions hadn’t shown all year – and zipped 69 yards for a touchdown. He then capped their second possession by scoring on an option pitch, something else PSU hadn’t done much this season.

Franklin had said in the days leading up to the game that the Lions had something up their sleeves, that they were waiting to spring some stratagems on the Big Ten heavyweights. The wrinkles, he added Saturday, were things they had worked on during the preseason.

“The fact that we have some recall helps,” he said.

So too did the fact that they had a week off to prepare for the Wolverines.

“We watched, probably, seven different games of Michigan film,” Hamilton said. “It really helped a lot.”

Michigan cut the gap to 14-13, but then the Lions ran away and hid. It was difficult to find fault with any aspect of their performance, though Franklin tried. He thought the defense could have handled sudden change better, seeing as Michigan charged downfield for a touchdown after McSorley threw a first-quarter interception.

Barkley tried, too. On a day when he generated 176 all-purpose yards – 108 of them on the ground – the Heisman hopeful fixated on his second-quarter drop of a McSorley pass, on a wheel route down the left sideline.

“Sometimes I overthink and I just put myself in bad situations,” Barkley said. “I should have just caught it first. I was thinking score. I was thinking about catching the ball. I felt the safety. I felt his presence. I wanted to try to make him miss and find a way to get into the end zone.”

He atoned with a 42-yard TD reception in the fourth quarter, though he juggled that one, too.

“I was able to run through it,” he said. “It humbles you again, makes you realize you’ve got to put a little more work in. You’ve got to find a way to make those plays.”

Especially now that the celebration, brief as it was, is over. It’s time to take another step down a treacherous path, time to find out where it might lead.