The Eagles' Real McCoy

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:31 AM ET

PHILADELPHIA -- Michael Vick is a great offensive weapon, but so is Aaron Rodgers.

The Eagles' DeSean Jackson is a wide receiver with great speed and game breaking abilities, but so is the Packers' Greg Jennings.

What the Eagles have in addition and what the Packers have no answer for on their side of the ball is elusive running back LeSean McCoy. If he gets on a roll late Sunday afternoon, McCoy's ability could prove to be the difference between two teams that appear to be otherwise equally matched.

What McCoy does better than just about any other running back in the NFL is make people miss.

The first defensive player who attempts to tackle him usually ends up clutching nothing but air, which makes him such a threat when he receives a short pass in the flat in a one-on-one situation.

An excellent receiver -- he topped the Eagles with 78 receptions -- it's panic time for the opposition every time McCoy handles the ball, especially in the open field.

This season, McCoy gained 1,080 yards rushing and added an additional 592 on his receptions, making him one of the more dangerous backs in the NFL.

So, getting the ball into McCoy's hands should be a fundamental key for the Eagles.

If McCoy can run the ball for good yardage and use his elusiveness catching short passes out of the backfield, it will put a slight brake on the Packers ferocious pass rush and any extra time that Vick can get when he drops back to throw is time well spent for the Eagles.

A year ago in his rookie season, McCoy had just five carries for 24 yards and caught one pass while part of a 34-14 rout by the Dallas Cowboys in a wild-card game. Bet on him topping those numbers against the Packers if the Eagles have the patience to use him.

Perhaps because he's not a big back -- he's 5-foot-11, 208 pounds--the Eagles don't have McCoy pounding the ball down after down. They should, however, go to him early and often and see what develops.

Defensively, the Packers set up with an invitation to run the ball and it will be interesting to see if the Eagles try to take advantage of it.

"We're going into this with a game plan of running the ball a little more," McCoy said Thursday. "Their type of defence, a 3-4, kind of invites you to run the ball and maybe forces you to run the ball, so we'll run the ball a little more and take some of the hits off Mike (Vick)."

This season as they forged their 10-6 record, the Eagles have been bewilderingly inconsistent . They have looked super in beating such teams as the Falcons and Colts and were on another planet in the final eight minutes in their 38-31 comeback over the New York Giants. On the other hand, they have looked less than mediocre in losses to Washington and that oddball effort against the Vikings, followed by last weeks dull effort against Dallas.

"It's based on focus. We haven't been focused in a while," McCoy said. "Lately, we couldn't get it going. We'd have dead periods -- three-and-outs, sacks and penalties. It just seems like, lately, we haven't been playing our kind of ball. And I'd say it was a lack of focus."

McCoy went on to say that he believes their focus is back where it belongs and that shouldn't be an issue on Sunday. If it is, the Packers will run right over them.

"We can't go out and make mistakes and think we can overcome it," he said. "This year we've made a lot of mistakes and overcame it with talent and big plays. In a playoff run, that can't happen."

In January football, living or dying on the big play is like a baseball team that relies on the home run.

Too often they swing and miss, which is exactly what defences do when McCoy has the ball.

It would be foolish if Andy Reid didn't use that to his advantage.


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