NEW ORLEANS - The Philadelphia Eagles saw what LeSean McCoy can do if they feed him the ball. Now, they just need to realize what they can do if they give McCoy the ball near the goal line.
McCoy carried 19 times for 119 yards in Monday's 28-13 loss to the New Orleans Saints, who have one of the worst rushing defenses in the NFL. It was the most carries McCoy has had since a Sept. 30 win over the New York Giants. Yet on eight goal-to-go plays, the Eagles handed the ball to McCoy just once. They passed the other seven times. They didn't score a touchdown on any of the possessions.
I feel like whatever calls are made or called in the huddle, I'm fine with them, McCoy said after the game, snickering that he knew a question would come up about his lack of carries near the end zone.
There was one sequence in which the lack of handoffs to McCoy was especially conspicuous. The Eagles had a first-and-goal from the Saints' 8-yard line while trailing, 21-10, in the third quarter.
Vick threw an incomplete pass on first down, was sacked for 11 yards with an empty backfield on second down and threw an incomplete on third down. When asked about that sequence after the game, coach Andy Reid said, That's what we chose to do, and I stick with it. Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said that's how the Eagles wanted to attack the Saints.
Usually in the red zone, we're pretty good at it, McCoy said.
But they're good when McCoy gets the ball. In 2011, McCoy had 14 red-zone touchdowns. This season, McCoy only has two.
He has 18 red-zone rushes, which amounts to 2.25 carries per game, and only 54.5 percent of the red-zone carries. Last season, he had 50 red-zone rushes - which was 3.125 carries per game. Nine of his touchdowns were by one or two yards.
McCoy has carried the ball at least 25 times just once this season and is averaging 18.25 carries per game. That could be attributed to the Eagles playing from behind so often, although one of the reasons they're playing from behind is the offense is having trouble scoring. And one of the reasons the offense is having trouble scoring may be because it is not utilizing McCoy enough.
If we had an answer, we definitely would have done it right now, McCoy said. We have to keep looking for answers, keep looking for corrections. I think definitely the red zone is a start.