Eagles pleased with RB McCoy's progress

October 9, 2009 6:07:31 AM PDT
Never mind Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick. The Philadelphia Eagles may want running backs LeSean McCoy and Brian Westbrook in the same backfield instead.

"That would put some heat on the defense," offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said on Thursday. "Are they going to play base, are they going to play nickel? It would force the defense to make some choices."

The Eagles drafted McCoy in the second round of April's draft to back up Westbrook, their star runner the better part of this decade. In McCoy's first start, a 34-14 win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sept. 27, he rushed for 84 yards and a touchdown as Westbrook sat out with an injury.

Westbrook is back, but the Eagles (2-1) said McCoy will get some work against Tampa Bay (0-4) this week.

"We have a lot of different personnel packages we can use," Mornhinweg said. "With both of them on the field, the things you can do are really endless."

In his first extended action against the Chiefs - McCoy had 14 carries for 62 yards in the first two games - the rookie showed excellent vision and a shifty running style. His speed was never a question.

"I thought I did well," McCoy said. "Could I do some things better? Sure I could. I picked up the blitz all right, but I could do it better. I can run crisper routes. But I thought overall I did OK, I was happy."

He'll be just as happy being on the field with Westbrook.

"That would be great," McCoy said. "I think it would definitely be a good thing. I'm sure the defense would pay more attention to Brian and maybe I can sneak up in there and do some things. It would be cool.

"Hey, Brian is the starter. I'm still the backup. But if I can get some carries to make it easier on him, keep him fresh, that would be great."

Even when they are not on the field together, Mornhinweg anticipates using McCoy more as the season progresses. The days of teams having just one premier back are over, he said.

"It's been over for a while," he said. "Our game has become so specialized. A lot of teams use a normal back, a third-down back, a change-of-pace guy. The one big back, it's been over, with a few exceptions - those rare, special players - and Brian was one of them."

NOTES: After re-signing veteran linebacker Jeremiah Trotter during the bye week, Eagles may also be using more than one middle linebacker: Trotter on running downs and Omar Gaither on passing downs. The team lost starter Stewart Bradley to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the preseason. "What is important with Jeremiah's situation is that he comes in and handles things one step at a time," defensive coordinator Sean McDermott said. "Don't do too much, just do what your role calls for."

McDermott said Trotter, a four-time Pro Bowler in two previous stints with the Eagles, has kept himself in great shape but added Gaither has played well and "his impact on the defense will not change."

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