Eagles

Eagles have reportedly called Bills about LeSean McCoy

Eagles have reportedly called Bills about LeSean McCoy

The Eagles lost Jay Ajayi for the season with a torn ACL, so maybe they’ll try to bring back a familiar face to fill the void.

According to Josh Reed of WIVB in Buffalo, the Eagles have at least made a phone call about LeSean McCoy.

This makes some sense. McCoy is the Eagles' all-time leading rusher and it seems like he never lost his affinity for Philly since he's been in Buffalo. And it was Chip Kelly, not Howie Roseman, who traded McCoy away before the 2015 season.

Shady is 30 now and it seems like his best days might be behind him. In four games this season, McCoy has 45 carries for 170 yards and no touchdowns. He also had 10 catches for 64 yards. These aren’t the numbers we’ve been accustomed to seeing from McCoy.

Last season, McCoy had his second consecutive 1,000-yard rushing season, but he's averaged just 3.8 yards per carry in 2018.

McCoy does offer the ability to run the ball and catch out of the backfield, which is a positive. And he knows the basics of this offense from his years under Andy Reid. That would help him acclimate quicker than a running back without that familiarity.

McCoy would come back with his fair share of baggage, most recently, he was accused of somehow being involved in a home invasion where his ex-girlfriend was beaten and robbed. 

While McCoy has been able to play and while ESPN reported in September that police in Milton, Georgia didn’t discover any evidence that would implicate McCoy, this whole situation is still ongoing and took a twist when his son’s mother corroborated previous allegations and alleged that McCoy abuses his own son. And it’s not his first run-in with the law or the first incident of questionable character of which McCoy has been associated. 

Without bringing someone in, the Eagles will need to rely on Corey Clement and Wendell Smallwood until Darren Sproles returns from his hamstring injury.

McCoy also has a significant cap hit this and his base salary is over $6 million. He has one year left on his contract after 2018. The Eagles did just restructure Fletcher Cox’s contract, which would give them the flexibility to add McCoy if they choose to go that way.

This seems like a longshot, but it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility.

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Record-setting Saints offense laying in wait for Eagles

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USA Today Images

Record-setting Saints offense laying in wait for Eagles

What will the Eagles be dealing with this weekend in New Orleans?

One of the hottest quarterbacks in NFL history.

One of the highest-scoring offenses in NFL history.

One of the most productive wide receivers in NFL history.

That's all.

The Eagles, who fell to 4-5 Sunday with a home loss to the Cowboys, take on the hottest team in the NFL Sunday, the 8-1 Saints, winners of eight straight games. Kickoff at the Superdome is scheduled for 4:25 p.m. EST.

Here's a look at what the Eagles are up against:

• The Saints have scored 331 points, sixth-most in NFL history after nine games. That’s 15 more points per game than the Eagles have scored this year.

• The Saints have already scored 40 points five times, joining the 2013 Broncos, 2000 Rams and 1949 49ers as the fourth team to score 40 points five times this early in a season. The NFL record for 40-point games in a season is six by seven teams, most recently the 2013 Broncos.

• The Saints are averaging 37.3 points at home, which puts them on pace for the fifth-most points in NFL history at home. The Saints set the record of 41.1 in 2011.

• The Saints have 235 first downs, fourth-most in NFL history after nine games. The record is 259 by the 2012 Saints.

• Drew Brees is completing 77.3 percent of his passes, by far the highest in NFL history after nine games. The previous high was Tom Brady’s 73.2 percent in 2007. Brees has thrown 304 passes this year, and only 69 have been incomplete. In his last five games, Brees has thrown 13 touchdowns and 30 incomplete passes. 

• Brees’ 123.8 passer rating is third-highest in NFL history after nine games, behind only Brady’s 131.8 in 2007 and Aaron Rodgers’ 130.7 in 2011.

• In his career, Brees ranks second in NFL history with 509 touchdown passes (30 behind Peyton Manning), first in passing yards (73,046), fourth in wins (150), first in accuracy (67.3 percent) and ninth in interception percentage (one every 41.9 attempts).

• Brees has completed at least 66 percent of his passes in an NFL-record 11 straight home games and 20 of his last 21. 

• Brees and Brady share the NFL record with 123 career game with a passer rating of 100 or higher. 

• Michael Thomas has 78 receptions, second-most in NFL history after nine games. Only Julio Jones (80 in 2015) has ever had more at this point in a season. Adam Thielen also has 78 this year, and Zach Ertz has 75, fourth-most ever after nine games.

• Thomas has four 10-catch games this year. That’s the most in NFL history at this point in a season, tied with three players, including Ertz this year.

Film shows why screen didn't work, how Cowboys knew it was coming

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NFL

Film shows why screen didn't work, how Cowboys knew it was coming

After all that went wrong on Sunday night, the Eagles still had the ball with a chance to move down the field and at least tie the game late in the fourth quarter against the Cowboys. 

But first they needed to make this play and they couldn’t. 

With 2:00 left in the game, their screen pass on 3rd-and-2 from the Cowboys’ 30-yard line didn’t work. In fact, it lost five yards and set up a 4th-and-7 that they missed converting by less than a yard, pretty much ending their comeback attempt. 

We’re going to take a look at the screen play, why it didn’t work and why Cowboys rookie linebacker Leighton Vander Esch knew it was coming. 

Here’s what the play looked like at the snap. It’s Alshon Jeffery’s job at the top of the play to simply take away his corner. He’s running vertical. The other three — Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor and Zach Ertz — at the bottom are selling their routes, but are just decoys. Carson Wentz is going to look them off. 

The real key to this play is Halapoulivaati Vaitai’s letting the pressure through and then Jason Kelce and Brandon Brooks getting out in front to provide the blocks for Corey Clement. 

 

Just after the snap, it looks like Vander Esch is already seeing what’s going on. His man is Clement, so he’s not going anywhere. One thing that actually plays into the Cowboys’ favor on this play is they were running a stunt up front. So the right defensive tackle, Maliek Collins, is crossing and coming inside. That’s actually going to give him a head start in pursuit, which is going to be key. 

 

Here we are just as Clement catches the ball. Ideally, Brooks gets out there and blocks Vander Esch to the outside, so Clement can hit the hole and get a big gain. The problem was that stunt from Collins (circled) has given him an easier route in pursuit. And LB Jaylon Smith seemed to diagnose the screen pretty early too. Because of that, Clement makes the decision that he’s not going to be quick enough to hit the hole and now has to try to bounce it outside. 

 

At this point, Brooks is blocking Vander Esch, but that’s where Clement is going, trying to bounce it outside. Brooks could have gotten a better block, but ideally, Clement would break this inside and then Vander Esch is coming back toward Brooks, which makes it an easier block. Now, this play is going outside and the rookie linebacker read it perfectly and makes a nice diving tackle to take Clement down for a loss. 

If this play works, the Eagles pick up the first down and probably a lot more and maybe they score to tie the game. The problem with screen passes is that a lot of things need to go well and if one thing gets screwed up, the whole play can crap out. 

That’s what happened here. 

 

After the game, Vander Esch said he kind of knew the screen was coming there based on his own film study. 

He didn’t need to look back very far to see this on tape. Remember that touchdown on a screen pass to Wendell Smallwood two weeks ago in London? Same play. Or at least a really similar one that was just inverted. 

This is how the play is supposed to work when the spacing is right: 

 

That obviously didn’t happen on Sunday night against the Cowboys. Maybe it was too predictable. Maybe it’s just a bad idea to go backwards at all when all you need to do is go forward two yards in two plays. Both of those are valid gripes. And now the Eagles are 4-5 with dwindling playoff hopes.