LeSean McCoy, Running back
FOR ALL the hand-wringing over the exodus of Donovan McNabb, the Eagles have to come to terms with another significant departure: Running back Brian Westbrook, a mainstay in Philadelphia for eight seasons, was released last February. (The 49ers picked him up in August.) "I thought that for several years Brian might have been the player most important to any team in the league," offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg says. "We asked him to be one of the very best runners; we asked him to run routes and catch the football like a receiver; we asked him to pick up protection; and on occasion we asked him to run-block."
Into that Swiss Army--knife role steps the 22-year-old McCoy, who brings just two seasons of college experience (at Pittsburgh) and one in the NFL (gaining 4.1 yards per rush in backing up, and ultimately supplanting, Westbrook in 2009). The versatile—and confident—McCoy says he's ready to step into those shoes; reality suggests that, despite a 5'10", 208-pound frame very similar to his predecessor's, he can't possibly duplicate Westbrook in his prime. But the playbook will change very little, coaches say; in camp, practices incorporated the same swing passes and screens that have long been staples of Philly's offense. McCoy has soft hands and, according to Mornhinweg, is "180 degrees" from where he was last season in his understanding of the offense. McCoy knows his assignments and responsibilities on leaving the huddle and isn't wasting time trying to remember the playbook.
All he has to do now, Mornhinweg says, is "virtually everything possible in football." Just as Westbrook did for nearly a decade.