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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.

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Tony Pollard is Just What the Doctor Ordered in Dallas

Matthew Lenix

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Tony Pollard is Just What the Doctor Ordered in Dallas

The Dallas Cowboys have what many believe to be the best running back in the NFL in Ezekiel Elliott. However, you can never undervalue the importance of depth at any position. When the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft came around, the Cowboys added another weapon to the backfield by selecting Tony Pollard out of Memphis.

If you’re looking for a dynamic player maker with the ability to take it to the house at any given moment, Pollard is your man. The former Tiger averaged a touchdown every 13 touches in college. That’s an absolutely insane statistic when you think about it. He also tied an NCAA record with seven kick returns for touchdowns. Long story short, he can get you six points at the blink of an eye.

The versatility in his game is outrageous and undoubtedly the reason why he was drafted. In addition to running for 941 yards on 6.8 yards per rush, he also had 104 receptions for 1,292 yards. New offensive coordinator Kellen Moore has to be salivating about the possibilities with his new toy. Having a running back that can not only carry the load as a runner but also line up at receiver keeps the defense honest. You never know what angle the offense is going to come from.

This has to be a sigh of relief for Ezekiel Elliott. Now, the Cowboys don’t have to overexert him and can bring Pollard in on third downs if need be. Not just to give Elliott a breather but to change the pace of the offensive attack. You can hand the ball off, throw it to him or run jet sweeps when he is on the field. This sets up a potential combo at running back that could be the leagues very best shortly.

Speed, quickness, and agility are all wrapped up in the Tony Pollard package. The Cowboys now have a running back that can line up at multiple positions if need be. Also, this prevents a lot of unnecessary wear and tear on the body of Ezekiel Elliott. This combination has all the potential to set the NFL on fire in 2019.



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CB Byron Jones Not Expected To Return Until Week 1 Against NYG

Kevin Brady

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Byron Jones

Coming off what was clearly the best season of his career thus far, Cowboys cornerback Byron Jones underwent surgery to hopefully fix a nagging hip injury.

While he earned both his first All Pro and Pro Bowl honors in 2018, his first season as a full-time cornerback, Jones still has a lot to prove in the upcoming season. Some still criticize him for his lack of interceptions, and there's no doubt his stellar play slowed down a bit towards the end of the year.

I'm willing to wager that the slight decline had a lot to do with his hip troubles, but nonetheless he must come up with his elite level play once again to earn himself a nice contract somewhere in 2020.

Oh, did I forget to mention it's also a contract year for Byron Jones? As it is for so many important Dallas Cowboys, it seems.

So when will Byron Jones be able to return to the Cowboys' lineup? Well, the initial date reportedly set by Jones and the team was late July, giving him a chance to practice and play a bit before the season opener in September. But, according to the Team Site this week, that date may be pushed back a bit, and we might not see Byron Jones until that season opening game against the Giants.

"As for Jones, all along the Cowboys have been targeting his return for the season opener, but hopefully at that. So, don’t expect to see much of Jones in training camp, and if so, certainly no more than individual and walk-through drills." - Mickey Spagnola

Ultimately, as long as Byron Jones is good to go when the regular season starts, that's all that matters, but the fear of rust when Jones returns is a real one.

It's tough to go from no live football straight to the meaningful games, but if anyone would be able to do it it would be the guy with the freakishly athletic traits. The guy who can get out of the bed in the morning and set athletic records at the Combine.

And, of course, that guy is Byron Jones.



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Dak Prescott: Calm Under Pressure

Matthew Lenix

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Dak Prescott: Calm Under Pressure

When the 2016 NFL Draft came around the Dallas Cowboys were in search of the heir apparent to Tony Romo. Unfortunately, coming off an injury-plagued 2015 season, Romo would find himself on the shelf again after suffering a broken bone in his back during a preseason game against the Seahawks. However, the Cowboys had an ace in the hole, in the form of Dak Prescott who they drafted in the fourth round.

The idea was the groom him for a few years before taking the keys to the car so to speak from Romo, but fate had another idea in mind. Prescott would be thrust into the starting lineup against one of the Cowboys most hated rivals to start the season, the New York Giants. Added to that, was the pressure of living up to Romo's stellar resume as the franchise's all-time leading passer. After struggling in a tough 20-19 loss, no surprise there for a rookie quarterback, Prescott began to take flight.

Over the next eleven games he wouldn't suffer a single loss as the Cowboys were sitting pretty at 11-1. What made this streak more impressive was the efficiency of Prescott. He threw 19 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions over that span. In the process, he set an NFL record for the most passing attempts to start a career without an interception with 176. This broke the previous record held by Tom Brady of 162. It didn't stop there, as he also set a rookie record for completion percentage (67.8), was named Offensive Rookie of the Year and was selected to the Pro Bowl.

The Cowboys would finish 13-3 and win the NFC East. With home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and the franchise only winning two postseason games in 21 years, Prescott was definitely under the microscope. After the offense struggled to produce points in the first half and fell behind 21-3, Prescott lead a furious comeback. Helping the team storm all the way back to tie the game at 28 and again at 31. He finished with 302 yards and 3 touchdowns in his first playoff start against future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers. Even though the team lost 34-31, Prescott proved how much of a gamer he was as he basically went yard for yard and point for point with one of the NFL's elite signal-callers. It was clear the Cowboys were in good hands going forward.

2017 started off well as the Cowboys were 5-3 and firmly on pace for another playoff run. Unfortunately, All-Pro Running Back Ezekiel Elliott lost his fierce battle with the NFL over domestic violence allegations, and Dak along with the offense struggled. After a 9-7 season and falling one game short of a Wild Card berth, the pressure on Prescott heading into the next season was immense.

Once 2018 came about Prescott had more pressure than ever with Elliott back for a full season. After a slow 3-4 start the Cowboys traded for Pro-Bowl Wide Receiver Amari Cooper, providing the team with it's first true number one receiver since Dez Bryant. Putting even more expectations on Prescott to turn things around, and boy did he ever.

He would complete 71.6% of his passes in the final eight games of the season, and the Cowboys won seven to finish 10-6. Now, with another division title under his belt, came a playoff matchup with Super Bowl-winning Quarterback Russell Wilson.

Late in the fourth quarter, the Cowboys were hanging on to a 17-14 lead. They faced a 3rd and 14 inside the redone with just over two minutes left. After dropping back a few steps, Prescott scrambled for 16 yards setting up a first and goal from the one-yard line. The team held on for a 24-22 victory but here's why that scramble was so important.

If the Cowboys don't convert that 3rd and long that would've set up a field goal attempt. Assuming it would have been successful, that would've only put them up 20-14. Giving Seattle a chance to more than likely win with a touchdown and an extra point or two-point conversion. Prescott essentially won the game with that 3rd down run. Proving once again there's no situation he can't handle.

He's set an NFL record for completion percentage in the first three years of a quarterbacks career at 66.1 percent. No quarterback has won more games than him since 2016 except Tom Brady. No one has more game-winning drives than him since he entered the league. His 13 primetime victories are tops in the NFL over the last three seasons. Simply put, Dak Prescott is a winner and doesn't fold under pressure, instead, he embraces it. There are no bigger lights in the NFL than the ones that shine in Dallas. With those lights come huge expectations and pressure, and it's clear this young man is made of the right stuff to handle it.



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