Can McCoy, Foles, Kelly win NFL awards?

Can McCoy, Foles, Kelly win NFL awards?

McCoy: 'I'm getting both' Eagles rushing record and NFL lead

December 27, 2013, 9:00 am
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According to Pro Football Focus, LeSean McCoy has forced 55 missed tackles this season. (USA Today Images)

A few weeks ago, Nick Foles was 50/1 to win NFL MVP. At the time he had thrown 19 touchdowns and no interceptions, but he was still a long shot to win it because a quarterback in the other conference was busy putting the finishing touches on the best season any QB has ever had.

Peyton Manning has an NFL-record 51 touchdowns to 10 interceptions this season, and with 266 passing yards against the hapless Raiders in Week 17 he'll break Drew Brees' passing yards record of 5,476 for a single season.

Manning's case for MVP is as clear cut as Jameis Winston's Heisman candidacy was -- and in the days leading up to the Heisman ceremony, you had to risk $15,000 to win $100 on Winston.

But while MVP has already been decided, a few other awards are still up for grabs. And Eagles should show up all over the ballots.

Offensive Player of the Year
Over the last five seasons, only twice has the MVP also won Offensive Player of the Year -- Adrian Peterson last season and Tom Brady in 2010.

Voters like to split up the awards. It's why Brees was 2011 Offensive Player of the Year when Aaron Rodgers won MVP, and why Brees and Chris Johnson earned the honors in 2009 and 2008, respectively, when Manning won back-to-back MVPs.

If Manning doesn't win Offensive Player of the Year, there are only three true candidates for the award: Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles, LeSean McCoy and Foles.

Charles has a nine-TD advantage on McCoy and there’s really no way around that.

But McCoy does have the advantage in a host of other categories. He has Charles by 189 rushing yards and 32 total yards from scrimmage.

Both players have accounted for an NFL-leading 72 first downs. Charles has fumbled three more times, losing one more than McCoy. Shady has two more runs of 20-plus yards.

McCoy has 703 yards after contact, which is second only to Peterson and bests Charles by 125. According to Pro Football Focus, McCoy has forced 55 missed tackles, while Charles is at 41.

It's a tossup between the two -- Charles has less offensive talent around him than McCoy, but the Chiefs' defense is so much better than the Eagles' that it almost offsets that fact. Charles doesn't put up those numbers with Kansas City trailing, which they rarely did this season.

Then there's Foles, who has the third-highest QB rating in NFL history. In fact, if you take out the first Dallas game, when Foles went 11 for 29 for 80 yards and no TDs, he has by far the best passer rating in league history, at 126.89. (Of course, removing the worst game of the season from each top QB would likely have a similar effect.)

What Foles has on his side is the difference in the Eagles' offense from Michael Vick to him. Since the Cowboys game the Birds are 6-1 and can shockingly host a playoff game with a win in Dallas on Sunday night.

How impressive has Foles' season been? His QB rating is higher than Brady's was the year he threw 50 touchdowns. It's higher than Brady's rating the year he threw 36 touchdowns and four picks. It's higher than Manning's this season, mostly because Foles has averaged 9.03 yards per attempt while Manning has averaged 8.25.

What could hurt the Eagles is if McCoy and Foles split the vote. Charles is probably a slight favorite anyway.

The Dallas game is the final lap of this marathon and will go a long way in deciding who wins Offensive Player of the Year, an award no Eagle has ever won in its 40-year history.

Coach of the Year
This award was practically given to Andy Reid the first week of November when his Chiefs went into the bye 9-0 a season after finishing 2-14.

The Chiefs have lost four of six since but are playoff-bound, locked into the No. 5 seed in the AFC.

But here's an argument for Chip Kelly over Reid: Kelly has been more instrumental in the Eagles' success than Reid has been in Kansas City's.

The Eagles are a team led by an offense that hasn’t had an off game since October. Even in the 48-30 loss in Minnesota, the Eagles totaled 475 yards of offense. They run, they pass, they run multiple sets, create new formations and looks that defenses haven't seen at this level, and they block it all well. Right now, it's as dangerous an offensive system as the NFL's ever seen.

The Eagles have four games this season with 260-plus rushing yards. The rest of the NFL has one. Add in a QB having a season for the ages and it would seem impossible not to give this award to Kelly.

But KC's nine- or potentially 10-game improvement is equally impossible to look past. That is where you have to consider the actual coaching impact. Kelly runs the Eagles' offense. Reid does not run the Chiefs' defense or special teams, which have been their clear strengths all season.

Reid is an offensive coach for a mediocre offense. Did he get the Chiefs to buy in? Sure. Did he unlock the immense potential of Charles? Of course. Did he bring instant credibility to a fading franchise? Yes.

But he didn't get anything out of Dwayne Bowe. He didn't make Alex Smith a better quarterback than he was in 2011 or 2012. The Chiefs are 11-4 because they have 35 takeaways, because they've allowed the fewest points in the AFC, because they've scored seven touchdowns on defense and four on special teams.

That has more to do with Eric Berry, Derrick Johnson, Tamba Hali, Justin Houston, Brandon Flowers, Sean Smith, defensive coordinator Bob Sutton and special teams coach Dave Toub than it does Reid.

We're not attempting to diminish Reid's accomplishments in Kansas City, just pointing out that the best facets of that Chiefs team are areas he has significantly less impact on than Kelly does on the Eagles' offense.

In any event, Coach of the Year will likely come down to Kelly, Reid and Ron Rivera in Carolina.