THIS TIME, it was the grain of conventional wisdom LeSean McCoy was cutting back against, but McCoy did so with just as much quickness and precision as he shows on the field.
Asked Wednesday why he would want to play now, with the Eagles eliminated from postseason consideration, McCoy said: "Why would I want to play? Why wouldn't I want to play? They pay me to play this game. I love to play this game, so why wouldn't I play? What would that be, for me not to play?"
Theoretically, by starting as scheduled Sunday against the Redskins, McCoy could risk another concussion, or of course, any other kind of injury that might dim his 2013 prospects, trying to win a game many Eagles fans probably would just as soon lose, to enhance their draft position. But nobody in the locker room or on the presumably doomed coaching staff is thinking about that.
"We're all part of the team," coach Andy Reid said. "It's not a hierarchy that way," in which some starters are allowed to risk injury while others aren't. "That's not how it works. If you're healthy, you play. LeSean understands that, our team understands that, and so, that's how you go about business. LeSean wouldn't want it any other way, and that's how I feel."
Of course, quarterback Michael Vick is scheduled to sit out the final two games, but that mainly has to do with the Eagles wanting to get a better read on rookie Nick Foles, and probably with thinking Vick isn't in their plans for 2013.
Reid said McCoy won't carry a normal workload Sunday; McCoy said he felt "real rusty" in his first practice since he suffered the concussion, in the final moments of the Eagles' loss at the Redskins Nov. 18.
"I don't live like that, just take off," McCoy said when asked about sitting out. "Just like the play when I got hurt - people blame coach for it, but I wanted to be in there [during the final minutes with the game out of reach]. I'm a competitor. So, I'll finish the season out, hopefully."
It's possible fans will get a preview of what a backfield that prominently features both runners could be like next season, but keep in mind that McCoy will take a lesser role than he would seem likely to command going forward. Brown never managed more than five carries in a game until McCoy went down; the next 2 weeks, the seventh-round rookie from Kansas State ran for 347 yards on 43 carries, the most yardage by an Eagles back in successive games since Steve Van Buren in 1949.
Brown has gained only 40 yards on 28 carries the last 2 weeks, with defenses keying on him, and he has lost four fumbles in four starts.
"When you sit out for 4 weeks, then expect to go out there and get, what, 20-something carries, it just doesn't work well," McCoy said. "[Brown] is a good back. A lot of teams rotate their guys. I don't think my role will decrease at all" in the future.
Foles hasn't had McCoy in his arsenal since Foles' first start, that 31-6 loss at Washington.
"LeSean's very experienced," Foles said Wednesday. "He's been here for several years, and he's made a lot of guys miss, so just to have his ability out there playing again is exciting for us."
McCoy said, "Just getting my wind back, listening to the plays again" was a struggle Wednesday.
Before this, he had never missed more than one game in a season, certainly hadn't gone anywhere near a month without practicing.
Vick officially third
Andy Reid confirmed what Michael Vick alluded to on Monday - Vick is the Eagles' third quarterback on Sunday, behind Nick Foles and Trent Edwards. Reid reserved the right to change his mind on whether Vick is second or third as the week progresses, but Vick doesn't seem to be expecting any upgrade.
"Right now, I just want to get him back in the swing and going here, and make sure he's good," Reid said.
Vick said he is simulating Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III for the scout team - a step up for the defense from when the teams played last month and wideout Marvin McNutt performed that task.
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan told a conference call with Philadelphia reporters that Griffin III, sidelined last week with a knee injury, practiced fully Wednesday and should start against the Eagles, pending medical approval. In the previous meeting, Griffin completed 14 of 15 passes for 200 yards, four touchdowns, and a perfect 158.3 passer rating. He also ran for 84 yards on a dozen carries.
The skinny on Patterson
Defensive tackle Mike Patterson said he lost 20 pounds during his bout with viral pneumonia and now weighs 286, less than he has since entering the NFL from USC in 2005.
Patterson said there were no hard feelings from the back-and-forth last week between his agents and the Eagles over the initial decision to cut Patterson's pay when he went on the non-football illness list. (The Eagles ultimately rewrote the contract so they wouldn't be doing that.)
"A business move, that's the only way to look at it," Patterson said. "Everything's back to normal, and I'm just happy with the end result."
Asked about the potential of this being his last home game with the Eagles, and of the fans perhaps giving him some sort of "send-off," Andy Reid said: "I haven't even thought of it . . . I haven't even gone there" . . . Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha said the defense has been gelling the past few weeks, and "you wish the fix had happened sooner" . . . Michael Vick, as he exited the locker room: "I ain't done. Far from done" . . . Mike Shanahan was asked on a conference call to assess his son, Kyle, the Redskins' offensive coordinator, as a head-coaching candidate. Shanahan said he leaves matters like that for the offseason.