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How many rushing yards will LeSean McCoy, who ran for 184 in Week 1, finish with this season? (USA Today Images)
Each week throughout the season I answer Eagles questions from my Twitter timeline and e-mail. This week, we address LeSean McCoy, Vinny Curry and the optimism over Chip Kelly’s debut.
Q. How many yards do you think @CutonDime25 (LeSean McCoy) will have on the ground this season? - @KennyCruzDixon
A. I’ve been predicting throughout the preseason that Shady will rush for roughly 1,750 yards this season. So far, he’s on pace for 2,944, so looks like I was way off. I think 1,750 yards, which would top his previous high by more than 400 yards, is reasonable for him for two distinct reasons. One, Chip Kelly’s offense is much more run-reliant than Andy Reid’s and its spacing creates plenty of one-on-one opportunities for McCoy, who will win those nine times out of 10. Two, Kelly’s offense (so far) incorporates plenty of wide receiver screens, but not as many for the running backs.
For the same reason I expect to see McCoy’s rushing yards skyrocket, I anticipate that his receptions and receiving yards will drop. He’s averaged about seven catches and close to 30 receiving yards per game in his career. Against the Redskins, he caught only one five-yard pass. It’s just one game, but that’s the trend I see developing.
Q. After seeing Week 1, has your opinion changed about this team as far as record wise? - @robcob61890_rob
A. I believed the Eagles were an eight-win team going into the year, plus or minus two if everything either goes right or wrong. I’m sticking with that. They looked legit on Monday night, but I’m still concerned about depth at several key positions. Injuries will eventually settle in and Kelly will have to scale back some. Already, Bradley Fletcher is out Sunday from a concussion, which forces either Brandon Hughes or someone else into the game when Brandon Boykin plays inside.
The more film on Kelly’s offense, the more teams will adjust. It won’t look as easy as it did Monday night in late October.
Q. Do you think Vinny Curry will be active on Sunday? - @ohheyxndrea
A. Good question. It’s the great mystery. If you believe the coaches, Curry wasn’t active against the Redskins because he’s a backup lineman and backups have to place special teams, which Curry doesn’t do. Well, that’s not entirely accurate. All linemen are on the field goal units -- both offense and defense -- and Curry has practiced there like anyone else. I think the Eagles were withholding Curry, a pure pass rusher, against the run-heavy Redskins and they’d like the Chargers to think they don’t plan to have him active Sunday in the home opener. Any competitive advantage helps. I’d expect Curry to make his debut against San Diego.
Q. I watched most of the game and i cannot recall seeing Brandon Graham on the field and didn't see him deactivated. Do you know if he played? - Gregg
A. Graham did get into the game, but he played more special teams than defense. He played 16 defensive snaps and 21 on special teams. It was a quiet opener for him. He wasn’t credited with a single tackle or any other impact play on the defense, but he’s backing up Trent Cole and Cole was an absolute beast against the Redskins, with two hurries, a forced fumble and tackle for a loss. Connor Barwin, the other outside linebacker, also made significant contributions, both against the run and in coverage.
The challenge for coordinator Billy Davis is to stay unpredictable and mix his blitz packages, so I suspect Graham might play a larger role against San Diego or a few games down the road.