One of the many criticisms the Eagles’ coaching staff has heard this season is that they haven’t made good use of the talents of running back LeSean McCoy. Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, however, says that criticism is not valid.
When it was pointed out to Mornhinweg that the Eagles are 3-0 in the three games this season when McCoy had at least 20 carries, and 0-6 in the six games when he had fewer than 20 carries, Mornhinweg dismissed it. Asked what he makes of the stat, Mornhinweg suggested that the reporter asking him was mistaking cause for effect.
“I make that we’re in four-minute [offense] at the end of the game, so he gets a few more carries,” Mornhinweg said. “It’s just simple.”
There’s some truth to the idea that teams run more when thy’re already winning, and therefore at the end of the game the stats show that the winning team ran more. However, Philly.com points out that McCoy has had only five carries in the final four minutes of wins this season, and all three of the Eagles’ wins were close games that went down to the wire, so the Eagles weren’t handing off to McCoy to protect leads late in games.
But Mornhinweg said the Eagles have used McCoy plenty this season, and in the games when he hasn’t had a lot of carries, there have been good reasons for it.
“I think LeSean is eighth in carries and fourth in total touches; I don’t think there’s a problem there,” Mornhinweg said. “Every game is different. You have to dig into every game. And usually the ball carriers get a few more carries when you’re ahead in the four minute and toward the end of the game.”
Whatever the reasons, with Nick Foles set to make the first start of his career on Sunday for the Eagles, Mornhinweg would be wise to put the ball in McCoy’s hands often.