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LeSean McCoy: Shuffle Off to Buffalo, Shady

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NFL Blog - LeSean McCoy: Shuffle Off to Buffalo, Shady

You read the title right, the Philadelphia Eagles have officially made a deal that will end LeSean McCoy's tenure of carrying the ball in Midnight Green after six seasons.

LeSean McCoy was every bit an elite back during those six seasons. He tallied over 9,000 yards, combining what he was able to do when he was handed the ball or had to catch the ball out of the backfield, along with 54 touchdowns.

What came of this though? Was Shady on the decline? Let's dig into this.

So here are LeSean's stats from the 2014 NFL Season: In 16 games, he produced 5 rushing touchdowns along with 1,319 yards on the ground on 312 carries (4.2 average). While on the receiving game, just 28 catches for 155 yards without reaching the endzone once.

Looking at those stats you may attribute a decline to the addition of Darren Sproles, especially the passing game numbers. While McCoy's numbers decreased from 52 catches to 28, Sproles caught 40 passes last year. LeSean's numbers also decreased in the running game, nearly 300 ground yards and 4 touchdowns, all while carrying the ball just two less times than the year prior (314 to 312).

Shady McCoy is a great running back, nonetheless. He finished with the third most rushing yards last year, behind Murray and Pittsburgh's Le'Veon Bell, as well as following both of those players in gaining first downs on the ground, McCoy having 67 as to Bell's 73 and Murray's 85.

So after hearing all of this, why trade LeSean McCoy?

There is a sign of decline in his step. Averaging nearly a yard less per carry is nothing to joke about in the NFL, despite still being able to be more productive than 90% of the backs around the league. Shady's relationship with head coach Chip Kelly was described to be getting more rough and damaged as the season went along, which also factors into this decision. I personally don't know how you let this man go.

So let's finally talk about what they gave LeSean McCoy up for, and you're free to look up through the article, I didn't mention it once and gave LeSean McCoy the respect he deserves. It's been a stressful six years watching McCoy do his amazing work on the football field against the Dallas Cowboys.

In return for LeSean McCoy, the Philadelphia Eagles received linebacker Kiko Alonso.

Alonso tore his ACL in the offseason, much like Sean Lee, and missed the entire 2014 season while each respective defense of the Bills and Cowboys exceeded expectations in the process. I bring Lee up because he's a good example of a linebacker with an injury history who never seems effected by his past when he's on the field, as he still performs as one of the best in the business. Brian Cushing too. So if Alonso's tenure with the Eagles happens to be haunted by injuries, the Eagles would look back at it as a good gamble.

They key part of this whole equation is that Kiko Alonso is a former Oregon Duck, and we all know where Chip Kelly came from. Kelly was given permission to oversee the personnel department for the Eagles, and is per se, the General Manager. I suppose this is Kelly's way to rid the slower, yet big contributing, Eagles for a faster paced team. Might as well call the 2015 Eagles the Oregon Ducks, seeing how the roster is shaping up.

Chip Kelly has certainly tested his luck, getting DeSean Jackson out there, and now LeSean McCoy, as well as people like Trent Cole, Todd Herremans, and likely even Jeremy Maclin one day soon.

So who looks better in the GM hat, Jerry Jones or Chip Kelly?

I would ask who had the better end of the deal, the Bills or the Eagles, but I believe that's an answer only time will afford us.



I'm a life-long Cowboys fan. Where I was born and raised in North Carolina, it was a family tradition, and hopefully I can pass it down to the generations that follow. I love that football can always give us memories we'll cherish for the rest of our lives, and great moments, from the action happening on the field to who's sitting in the room with us while it happened.

Star Blog

Warts And All, Dak Prescott Shows Why It’s Not So Easy To Move On

Kevin Brady

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Warts And All, Dak Prescott Shows Why It's Not So Easy To Move On

Dak Prescott was far from perfect Sunday night in Philadelphia. In fact, at times, he was downright bad.

Prescott missed two potential touchdown passes to Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup on fly routes down the sideline, and might have left points on the board when he badly missed Ezekiel Elliott in the flat in the red zone early in the game. Prescott continued to panic in the pocket a bit during the first half, and took an absolutely horrendous sack on what would end up being the Cowboys' first touchdown drive of the night.

All of this is true. All of this is indisputable.

Where things get tricky, however, is that while these flaws continue to show up in Prescott's game, so do his strengths. A particular set of strengths and skills that the can be highly valuable in today's NFL, especially if deployed correctly.

Beginning with the final drive of the first half, Dak Prescott played the type of football we've rarely seen from him over the last calendar year. He was comfortable in the pocket, seldom abandoning clean looks or running into sacks. He utilized his legs and ability to extend plays when necessary, and delivered some absolute strikes to help the Cowboys offense get into scoring range multiple times. Prescott also picked up some key third downs with his arm to answer Eagles' scoring drives, something we haven't seen from these Cowboys in quite some time.

Dak was far from perfect on Sunday night, but he did show why he is so hard to move on from. When the offensive line is clicking and Prescott can have that comfortability (that is all-too-rare in the NFL), he looks like his Rookie of the Year self. But, we all know that when things really break down, he isn't able to put the offense on his back the way the true "top" quarterbacks are.

I am a Dak Prescott fan. I'll make no mistake about it. But what do we call it when a quarterback is good enough to keep you competitive, can have wildly impressive plays/drives/games while also having wildly frustrating and bad plays/drives/games?

We call that quarterback purgatory. We call that the Cincinnati Bengals.

The only thing which separates Dak and Dallas from being in full purgatory mode, to be quite frank, is Prescott's youth. Because of that youth we can still hope that he can develop as a passer and quit being so gun-shy and timid to make tight window and anticipation throws.

But how long can a team truly wait before they become Marvin Lewis and Andy Dalton losing by 30+ points at home?

It's a question which is tough for every team to answer. Dak Prescott is too good to easily replace with a random quarterback off the street, but it's hard to imagine he's good enough to get your team over the hump without significant help around him.

So, in the end, here we are. With the Cowboys at 4-5 fighting with an Alex Smith-led team for what will most likely prove to be a rather irrelevant division title.

But hey, it's always fun to win in Philly isn't it?



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Leighton Vander Esch Is A Stud, And Should Be For A Long Time

Kevin Brady

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Leighton Vander Esch Is A Stud, And Should Be For A Long Time

The Cowboys took their fair share of heat for selecting linebacker Leighton Vander Esch 19th overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. But through just over half a season, Dallas is looking vindicated in their decision.

Vander Esch was arguably the best defensive player on the field during Dallas' 27-20 win in Philadelphia Sunday night, and made the two biggest defensive plays of the game as well. Finishing with a game-high 13 tackles, Vander Esch was all over the field in both run and pass defense.

The first of his two massive plays came in the first quarter. After the Cowboys offense stalled deep in their own territory, the Eagles looked to be in prime position to strike first with a short field. On Carson Wentz' first pass attempt of the drive, however, Leighton Vander Esch was there to intercept him and return the ball back 28 yards.

Those return yards proved key as well, giving the Cowboys the short field and an easy path to their first three points of the night. And with the way their offense looked early in this game, Dallas could use all the help they could get.

The biggest play of the game, though, came late in the fourth quarter. With the Eagles facing a third and short and down seven points, they absolutely needed a conversion to keep pace with the surprisingly hot Cowboys offense. Philadelphia tried to beat Dallas with a running back screen to the backside, inviting the pass rush and getting blockers out in front.

There seemed to be nothing but blockers and green grass ahead for the Eagles on this play, with "Next Gen Stats" expecting a 22 yard gain after the catch. Then, Leighton Vander Esch eluded two blockers and tracked down the running back for a loss of 3.

Next Gen Stats on Twitter

Leighton Vander Esch made a game-saving tackle late in the 4th quarter to preserve the Cowboys 27-20 win. Corey Clement was expected to gain 22 yards after the catch (gained 3), -19 YAC Below Expectation, the most yards saved on a pass play this season. #DALvsPHI #DallasCowboys https://t.co/0DF7jhPQzH

If not for this tackle, who knows how both that Eagles' drive and the game would have ended. Vander Esch saved the day for Dallas, and forced the Eagles into a tough fourth and long situation with the game on the line.

I know it is still early in Vander Esch's career, and even relatively early in this season as well, but it's become clear the Cowboys hit a home run with their 2018 first round selection. Vander Esch is fitting in beside Jaylon Smith with ease, and with those two athletic freaks together, the Cowboys look to have one of the brightest defensive futures in all of football.

Of course, there are now legitimate questions about what the Cowboys should do with their captain Sean Lee. But as of right now, it should be Leighton Vander Esch's job to lose.



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Can Cowboys LB Vander Esch Do Enough to Win DROY?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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LB Leighton Vander Esch Rare Bright Spot In Cowboys Disappointing Loss

At 3-5, there are very few positive things to point out when discussing the 2018 Dallas Cowboys. One of those few things has been first-round rookie Leighton Vander Esch, whose play at linebacker has taken the league by surprise. Seen as a raw talent who could develop into an elite player with time as a prospect, Vander Esch's impact on the field has been immediate.

Through nine weeks in the NFL season, the Boise State product should definitely be in the Defensive Rookie of the Year discussion. As much as Sean Lee's injury will hurt the Cowboys' defense, it will get the rookie more playing time and a big opportunity to put his name in the minds of NFL Honors voters.

Sean Lee will miss some time after re-injuring his hamstring for the second time this season. Earlier in the year, Jaylon Smith and Vander Esch were able to keep the defense from crumbling without their veteran captain. Even with all the offensive struggles, that should continue to be the case for the linebackers.

Vander Esch has only played in 65% of the Cowboys' defensive snaps, yet he's tied for ninth place in solo tackles in the entire league with 49. He's at 64 total tackles and two pass deflections and has been a magnet to opposing ball carriers every time he's been on the field.

He's the third highest graded rookie LB for Pro Football Focus. Most times, rookies find success like this by being rotational players or simply splitting snaps with other players. But as previously mentioned, Lee has already been out for a handful of games in 2018 and Vander Esch has lived up to the hype.

Simply put, Leighton's play as a rookie has already put Sean Lee's future on the Cowboys in question. With such an injury history and a two young studs ready to take over the reigns, Dallas could very well release Lee prior to the 2019 season.

Now granted, the race for Defensive Rookie of the Year will not be an easy one to win for Vander Esch. Fourth overall pick Denzel Ward has been an impressive cornerback for the Browns and fifth-overall pick Bradley Chubb has been one of the best pass rushers on Sundays. Not to mention the NFL leader in solo tackles, Colts' LB Darius Leonard.

Despite a great start to his season, the Cowboys young LB will have to play way better for his name to be called when the Defensive Rookie of the Year is revealed at the NFL Honors event in February. There are some pretty big names he has to catch up with in order to make this happen.

Tell me what you think about "Can Cowboys LB Vander Esch Do Enough to Win DROY?" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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