Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy raised a lot of discussion when he said he was a better running back than Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. He started a storm of arguments on TV, online, in the paper, practically everywhere that talks about football. Many of the Adrian Peterson fans argued that Peterson is better because when defenses play him they need to stack 8-9 people in the box in order to stop him, and even then they can’t always slow him down. This is a very true and good point, but as a Philadelphia Eagle fan and LeSean McCoy fan I would like to bring up a point as well. The reason you can’t stack the box on LeSean McCoy is because he is a new breed of running back, a scary kind of running back.
McCoy combines the workhorse runner we have been used to over the years and we see in Peterson, with the third down, pass catching running back that is usually implemented in pairs, like Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovanni Bernard. You can’t stack the box on McCoy because he can change the whole play on you, he’ll stop where he is going, turn around, and find another way. He may even decide to go out for a pass and end up in open space.
McCoy is bringing in a new age of the coveted running back, a versatile playmaker. We got a glimpse of what that era could look like when former Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders. Now LeSean McCoy and the Philadelphia Eagles are bringing that kind of runner back to the NFL.
By the time Adrian Peterson retires there will (very sadly) be very few running backs (maybe none) of his kind left. The NFL is changing, it is a passing league and we will miss the age of the running back where guys like San Francisco 49ers running back Carlos Hyde is a first round selection. At the same time, guys like Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles and LeSean McCoy are keeping the age of the running back alive for a little bit longer.
“When people say the position is decreasing, or that people don’t value us as much, I don’t believe that…….The top guys, who make good money and are productive, aren’t just running backs. They’re play makers. Compare the top guys to any other players, and they hold their own.” -LeSean McCoy