LeSean McCoy: Michael Vick 'started early' in race

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LeSean McCoy: Michael Vick 'started early' in race

May 13, 2013, 6:15 pm
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LeSean McCoy wanted to clear the air. First he had to clear his throat.

There were a lot of questions for the Eagles' running back following the team’s first OTA under Chip Kelly on Monday. The one McCoy seemed most interested in: what happened in his race against Michael Vick? The two reportedly competed in a 40-yard dash recently. Vick won, which prompted McCoy to tweet that the quarterback “cheated.”

Just as McCoy started to answer the question, he began coughing. He had to take a few pulls on a bottle of Gatorade before he finally put a few words together.

“OK,” McCoy said, standing on the lawn outside the NovaCare Complex. “With Mike, what happened with Mike was, it was a race. I always call him old. I tell him that nobody over 30 can beat me in any race. We had the race, but he jumped off. He started early. I had to come catch Michael Vick. I had to catch him. And he beat me. But he won’t race me again.”

McCoy said there was photographic evidence of Vick’s false start but declined to provide it.

“In a 40-yard race, the smallest jump matters,” McCoy said. “First of all, he started down in a sprinter’s stance. I was standing up. That was probably my first mistake. I should have never did that. But he won’t race me again. I told him that. We can line up anywhere, he won’t do it. He’s smart.”

McCoy said Vick hasn’t stopped bragging or busting his chops about the race, but the running back didn’t seem to mind. When he wasn’t coughing, he smiled and laughed while he told the story. He was in far better spirits than the last time we saw him when he criticized his teammates for failing to “lay it on the line” and for having a “lack of heart” during the Eagles' disastrous season (see story).

If time heals wounds, the collective convalescence was surely aided by having a new coach with a new philosophy. There’s so little time to look back when everyone is so consumed with what’s going on right now -- with the radical changes administered by Kelly.

“It’s definitely different from anywhere I’ve been,” McCoy said. “From playing music very loud, the operation of him moving so fast with the offense and defense. It’s different, but I like it.”

McCoy theorized that the team would “get in shape from just running the offense” during Kelly’s up-tempo practices. He said he was getting use to the hand signals –- which are employed to convey “everything from alignments, to personnel, the plays, the formations, everything" –- and he added that life in the backfield has changed noticeably.

“There’s definitely a difference,” McCoy said. “Being in shotgun all the time, for one. Last year, we were in shotgun or under center. And then, two, being able to run the ball a lot more. You look at [Kelly’s] track record, a lot of his backs touch the ball quite a bit. That’s the other different point that you’ve got to look at. And the ability to get guys in open field. Guys, the defense, can get so mixed up just from trying to follow their keys. There’s so much misdirection from going here, going there, then bootleg, going deep, to running it. There’s so many things you have to look at. Sometimes a big hole might happen from guys being out of place.”

Another difference between Kelly and Reid as it pertains to McCoy and the running backs: At present, the Eagles don’t have a fullback on the roster. The expectation is that those responsibilities will shift to the many tight ends Kelly has stockpiled.

“In different formations, we have the tight end fill in as the fullback,” McCoy said. “It’s kind of similar. But there’s a lot of misdirection plays ... here, it’s going left, going right. We start mixing in the two backs, me and Bryce [Brown] or whoever. There’s so much. And there might be plays when DeSean [Jackson] is in the backfield. You never know. Every time we come out here, it’s always something different. It’s always a surprise. You don’t know what to look forward to. Even the quarterbacks. They switch in and out. The good thing about switching the quarterbacks, you get a good vibe for whoever the quarterback may be.”

Well, to a point. McCoy was talking about how some of the quarterbacks performed at practice when he said “Mark” Barkley looked pretty good. It sounded like a simple slip up at first, but then McCoy called him Mark again. Someone helpfully corrected the running back and told him the rookie’s name is actually Matt –- which made McCoy smile.

“It’s Matt?” McCoy asked with a laugh. “Really? I’ve been calling him Mark all day. He didn’t say nothing about it.”

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