Behind a strong President is a steady cabinet. Behind a successful man is his supportive family. Behind a popular restaurant is a quality menu.
Behind running back LeSean McCoy–both literally and figuratively– is quarterback, leader, and weapon Michael Vick. No matter what nature of run, Michael Vick is the catalyst for LeSean McCoy: on the surface, Vick ensures that the handoff is secured properly and that proper blocking is in place.
Beyond the television screen, however, is a new correlation between the elusive pair. This reliance became apparent once the 32-year old Vick left the game due to injury. Before Vick left the game, LeSean McCoy recorded 13 carries for 53 yards and a touchdown. This amasses to 4.07 yards per rush, an average feat for the top-floght runner, albeit against a Giants defense keyed on the run.
However, when Nick Foles entered the contest, McCoy’s production fell off a cliff. In the second half, McCoy totaled a whopping -1 yards, including runs of -3 and -6. It is clear Nick Foles’ underwhelming agility helped the Giants defense focus on stopping McCoy in the second half. McCoy dearly missed his partner in the backfield: Michael Vick.
Without Vick, the read-option offense is rendered weak, as quarterback Nick Foles isn’t nearly fast enough to pose a run threat. This neutralizes the zone-read running game, making run plays far more predictable.
If Nick Foles is to start the next few games, Chip Kelly will have his work cut out for him. Kelly must find a way to keep defenses honest when defending the run. One thing is certain: without Vick, Shady will be stuck dancing in the Eagles’ backfield.