Is LeSean McCoy the Best Running Back in the NFL?

Is LeSean McCoy the Best Running Back in the NFL?

Statistically speaking, yes -- it's that simple.

Only Minnesota's Adrian Peterson has accumulated more yards, but the Vikings have played one more game than the Eagles. Once it's broken down, LeSean McCoy is averaging 107.7 yards per game, the highest total in the league. His 5.6 yards per carry is the best of any back with greater than 60 carries. His eight rushing touchdowns are good for second place, one behind AP, and he's the only runner with a touchdown in every game he's played. Just for good measure, McCoy has hauled in 23 passes and added a pair of scores through the air.

There is little doubt now we are currently watching one of the best running backs ever to wear an Eagles uniform.

Perhaps the most amazing part is an Andy Reid offense is actually calling the running back's number with such frequency. McCoy has carried 24 times or more in three games. He's run at least 15 times in two more. Of course, how can the coaches keep the ball out of his hands? Shady is closing in on the career high he set last season, just 326 ticks shy of 1,080. He already has more touchdowns and a higher YPC.

Maybe we shouldn't be taken completely off-guard. As a team, the Birds are by far the best at running the ball. Aided by Mike Vick's 422 on the year, Philadelphia is averaging 20 yards more per game than second-place Oakland, and .6 more per run than second-place Minnesota. Alhough it is rare for Reid to pound the rock this often, it's not even an entirely new concept. Brian Westbrook once finished as high as third in the NFL for rushing yards in 2007, and the '03 club finished fifth in attempts and seventh in yards with a backfield of Duce Staley, Dorsey Levens, and a young Westbrook, boosted by a mobile Donovan McNabb.

And yet none of the backs who have been through here over the past 13 seasons have made the impact McCoy has over seven games. He has a legitimate shot at breaking Wilbert Montgomery's franchise record of 1,512 yards set in 1979, and Steve Van Buren's 15 touchdowns in 1945 is not out of the question either. If Shady continues at this pace, every major Eagles rushing record will have fallen by season's end.

But quite possibly the greatest part of all is McCoy looks like he is in this for the long haul. Because he's so shifty, rarely do defenders appear to get clean shots at him. Even when there is physicality, McCoy is strong and hitting the defender right back. Obviously injuries can happen to anybody, but I'm not watching the game nervous about the running back breaking down as easily as my old '93 Subaru Loyale. He is 23 years old, in his third NFL season, and ready to handle the load.

Is he really the best in the NFL? At the very least, he's in good company. Peterson clearly is a beast, Matt Forte -- who we'll see on Sunday -- is having a tremendous season in his own right, and there are a handful of backs who maybe are not among the top five rushers right now, but might have a claim to the title. At the running back position, the best in show can change quickly.

Something tells me this LeSean McCoy is for real though after hanging 185 on the top-ranked run defense in the NFL, and his name will be at or near the top of the list at the end of year. Ponder that for a moment... the Eagles might have a back lead the league in rushing during the Andy Reid era.

That statement alone should garner some votes for best back.

National champion Villanova to be honored at White House next week

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USA Today Images

National champion Villanova to be honored at White House next week

It's been nearly two months since Villanova won the National Championship in one of the most memorable games in NCAA Tournament history.

Since then, the Wildcats have been honored by the city (parade), the New York Stock Exchange (opening bell), the Phillies (first pitch), the Flyers and the Union. Earlier this week, head coach Jay Wright addressed the Eagles.

But that will all pale in comparison to where the Wildcats will be next Tuesday, when they become the latest championship team to visit the White House and meet President Barack Obama.

The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 4:10 p.m. and will be streamed on www.whitehouse.gov/live.

In his pool, President Obama had Villanova finally advancing past the second round — "I know that eventually they're going to break through. They've had some bad luck over the last couple of years," Obama told ESPN.com — but had the Wildcats falling to Kansas in the regional semifinal.

He then had Kansas beating North Carolina to win the title.

After surviving the first weekend for the first time since their Final Four run in 2009, Villanova ousted Kansas, 64-59, before shocking Buddy Hield and Oklahoma in the national semifinal, winning by 44. The Wildcats then won one of the most memorable championship games in NCAA Tournament history when Kris Jenkins hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to beat the Tar Heels, 77-74.

Union transfer contract of Michael Lahoud to Miami FC

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Union transfer contract of Michael Lahoud to Miami FC

The Union have cashed in on Michael Lahoud.

After terminating his loan to the New York Cosmos on Tuesday, the Union recalled Lahoud and officially sold the 29-year-old midfielder to Miami FC of the NASL for an undisclosed amount.

“Mike always served the club in a professional manner during his time here,” said Union sporting director Earnie Stewart, who loaned Lahoud to the Cosmos this offseason. “We thank him for his service and want to wish him the best of luck in Miami and in his future endeavors.”

Lahoud, whose prorated $115,637.50 guaranteed salary comes off the Union’s salary cap, was acquired in 2012 in a trade with Chivas USA for defender Danny Califf. He made 58 appearances with the Union before being loaned out.

Eagles' left guard job is Allen Barbre's, but backups are pushing

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Eagles' left guard job is Allen Barbre's, but backups are pushing

Allen Barbre is the Eagles’ starting left guard.

For now.

The 31-year-old offensive lineman started all 16 games at left guard in 2015, and as of Tuesday at OTAs, he was still a starter for Doug Pederson’s new-look offense.

But that could change.

There are several players pushing for the left guard spot. Among them are Stefen Wisniewski, Malcolm Bunche, Isaac Seumalo and Andrew Gardner.

“I definitely am trying to start somewhere,” said Wisniewski, a free-agent signing. “I think I would be a good starting left guard.”

Wisniewski, 27, signed a one-year prove-it deal in early April to join the Eagles (see story). After being taken in the second round of the 2011 draft, Wisniewski has started 77 of 80 possible games in the NFL. He clearly views himself as a starter in the NFL.

For the last two weeks, he’s been working with the second team at guard and center.

“Yeah, it’s weird. It’s definitely weird,” Wisniewski said. “I haven’t spent much time with the twos in five years. Probably a week or two. So it’s definitely different, but I’m just looking at it as a temporary thing, though.”

This offseason, the Eagles added veteran Brandon Brooks to play right guard, taking over for Matt Tobin, but Barbre is still slotted on the left side. In fact, to hammer the point home, the starting offensive linemen have their lockers in a row in the deep corner of the locker room, from left to right: Jason Peters, Barbre, Jason Kelce, Brooks, Lane Johnson.

So, as of late May, Barbre is still the starter.

“I really like where we're at. I like the depth at that position right now,” Pederson said last week. “But yeah, Allen Barbre is my guy and he's our starter.”

Wisniewski is the most accomplished of the backups pushing for that starting left guard spot, but he’s not alone.

Bunche, who was on the Eagles’ practice squad in 2015 after going undrafted out of UCLA, has been working with the second team at left guard during practice. And the second-year player thinks he has a shot at the starting job too.

“Oh yes. But not just that one,” Bunche said. “Throughout the season, anything can happen. That’s one thing that [offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland], he talks about it a lot, you never know when you’re number is going to be called. You just gotta stay in tune with what’s being called, the play-calling, the different techniques going into certain games. I feel I have an opportunity to take that spot if I wanted to. My mindset it to come in and get better each and every day.”

Another possible starting left guard isn’t with the team right now. Third-round pick Seumalo, from Oregon State, is back at school because of the NFL graduation rule and Oregon State’s quarters system. He would be a logical choice to compete for that starting job, but he’s missing valuable time at OTAs.

Meanwhile, Barbre, who had started just eight total games in his seven-year career before 2015, is trying to stave off his competitors. The veteran knows the team brought in a bunch of new offensive linemen this offseason (they have 17 on the roster). He just doesn’t care.

“Honestly, I wasn’t really worried about that,” Barbre said Tuesday. “Honestly, I thought I played fairly decent (in 2015), if you studied the film and you understood what went on. There was a lot of stuff that was tough on the O-line, so it made it kind of tough on us.”

The criticism of the offensive line last season was loud, especially criticism of the guard positions, but Barbre did his best to avoid it.  

“I don’t even read it,” he said. “Honestly, I don’t even care. You guys got your jobs and I have my job. We all have different things we have to do.”

Right now, Barbre’s job is to hold onto that starting spot, while Wisniewski and the rest try to steal it away.