When Andy Reid announced that LeSean McCoy would be starting Sunday’s home finale, reporters kind of stared at each other blankly. Yes, the concussed running back has cleared all his testing. Yes, backup Bryce Brown has struggled to hang on to the football. Still, it seems risky to put the Eagles’ franchise back in harm’s way with nothing left to play for other than pride.
But Reid informed the masses that the idea came from McCoy himself.
“He wants to play,” Reid said Wednesday. “I’m going to keep a close eye on him. It won’t be a normal workload like you’d see during the season when he’s fresh. He’s coming off an injury. I understand that, so I’ll keep a close eye on him.”
Reid added that both Brown and Dion Lewis would be active and worked into the running back rotation. The last thing the embattled coach needs is to have McCoy suffer a debilitating injury in a meaningless game, one which could very well be Reid’s final game in charge of the Eagles. That’s another reason McCoy feels so strongly about getting back out there.
“I don’t live like that, just taking off,” McCoy said. “Even when I got hurt, people blamed coach for a bit but I want to be in there. I’m a competitor, and I’m going to finish the season out.”
While McCoy hasn’t enjoyed the same success he had in last year’s breakout campaign (1,309 yards, 17 rushing TDs), he is still knocking on the door of another 1,000-yard season. He has rushed for 750 yards through 10 games — five less than in 2011 — and two scores. McCoy’s mere presence in the backfield should immediately bolster the offense.
“He’s such a dynamic player,” said Nick Foles. “It’s exciting to have him back because he’s done so many great things here and just to have him healthy. I know he’s excited to be back out there. [He] just adds another dimension.”
Report: Vick open to playing for Jets
After the Jets benched Mark Sanchez — and then told Tim Tebow he wasn’t good enough to start for them — many are predicting New York as a perfect landing spot for Mike Vick next season. Assuming the Eagles don't bring Vick back, of course.
Vick, who ran the scout team at yesterday’s practice and could be active as the No. 3 quarterback Sunday, didn’t speak to reporters. However, there is an NFL.com report citing sources close to Vick claiming that he would be open to playing for the Jets.
Vick has a very specific stipulation: he must be paid more than Sanchez, making it clear that he is No. 1 on the depth chart. Sanchez is due $8.5 million in 2013.
Allen demoted, Coleman to start
The Eagles safety carousel continues, just as it has pretty much since Brian Dawkins left.
Kurt Coleman, who missed the past two games due to injury, will start at free safety against Washington, while Colt Anderson moves from free to strong safety. Nate Allen is the odd man out.
“Colt came in, and we asked him to fill in at the line of scrimmage and be a physical player in there, and he did a nice job with that,” coach Andy Reid said. “We needed that at that time, and we’re going to need it this week.”
Allen has had an up and down career since blowing out his knee in 2010. He didn’t seem surprised at the demotion.
“Everything we do is to win games,” Allen said.
Next man up
Brent Celek (concussion) practiced for the first time in almost two weeks. He told reporters that he was “back” and would suit up Sunday. Good news, considering backup tight end Clay Harbor (back) was placed on injured reserve Tuesday.
Meanwhile, starting fullback Stanley Havili (hamstring) missed practice and wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (back) was a limited participant. If Havili can’t go, rookies Emil Igwenagu and Chris Polk would split the fullback duties.