EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - LeSean McCoy finished up the second-most productive season of his career yesterday with 99 yards on 17 carries in a meaningless victory over the New York Giants. McCoy, the Eagles' all-time leading rusher, ended his 2014 with 1,319 yards on 312 carries, two fewer carries than he managed a year ago, when he led the NFL with 1,607 rushing yards.
A year ago, there was no doubt where McCoy stood in the Eagles' offensive hierarchy. He was the centerpiece of a highly effective run-based offense, one that set a franchise scoring record.
The 2014 Eagles actually broke that scoring record, with 11 touchdowns' worth of help from their defense and special teams, but so much was different this time. It wasn't nearly as satisfying a year for McCoy or for his offensive line, and it nearly ended in horror. McCoy went down with a little more than 4 minutes left yesterday after twisting his left knee, and he lay on the MetLife Stadium turf a pretty good while before getting up and trotting off.
McCoy wasn't sure afterward exactly what he'd done to his knee - he said he thought maybe the doctors told him he'd sprained his MCL, but it wouldn't seem to be anything that would require surgery, and the season is over. Likewise, McCoy wasn't sure where he and the Eagles are headed, after losing three of four in December and missing the playoffs. Among the problems was that they couldn't always count on their running game, the way they did in 2013.
"I'm an Eagle. I love it here. My 6 years here have been excellent. I've been very, very very productive here," said McCoy, 26, who has 3 years left on a deal that in 2015 carries an $11.95 million cap number. The Eagles would have to eat $4.4 million of dead money if they cut him. "I have a great relationship with my coaches, with the owner, Mr. Lurie. We'll see what happens; it's a business. Anything can happen, I know that. But I'm sure we can work something out, and hopefully, everything does work out. I think they know how I feel about them, and I'm sure I know how they feel about me . . . at the end of the day, it is a business."
His openness to restructuring "would depend on how they want to do it," said McCoy, who is near the end of the guaranteed money in his deal, only $1 million guaranteed for 2015.
"I feel good, I feel young. I'm still productive," McCoy said. "I'd be lying if I said I never thought of it . . . whatever's going to happen is going to happen."
The Eagles scored their third blocked-punt touchdown of the season yesterday, when James Casey blasted up the middle and sent the ball careening toward the Giants' sideline, where Trey Burton eventually gathered it in and danced 27 yards, giving the Eagles a 24-16 lead with 12:21 left. The Birds never had more than one blocked-punt TD in a season before this year.
"I was kind of the guy in the middle that just kind of snuck through, and they didn't really - they got me for a little and then they kind of came off of me and parted like the Red Sea," said Casey, who then made the tackle on the ensuing kickoff.
"Just slow motion. Everything happened in slow motion," said Burton, an undrafted rookie tight end from Florida who, along with vet Casey, has been a special-teams standout this season. You could argue that after Jordan Matthews [67 catches for 872 yards and eight touchdowns], the Eagles' best rookies were two guys they didn't draft - kicker Cody Parkey and Burton.
"He blocked it. I saw the ball, I saw [Bryan] Braman miss it, it was just sitting there. I bent over and scooped it up," said Burton, who blocked a punt in the end zone against the 49ers that Brad Smith recovered for a TD.
The Eagles' special teams were their best, most consistent unit this season. They scored seven touchdowns, five of them by the punt team, which returned two punts for TDs.
"I'm very proud of it," Casey said. This was his second blocked punt of the season. "I think all year we've played really well.
"I'm extremely proud to be one of the four core special-teams guys that play a lot of snaps. I played over 430-something snaps this year on special teams. I don't know what the rankings are, but I would imagine we're ranked No. 1 in the league, if not [we're] right up there. It's really special . . . It's hard to get that. A lot of things have to happen. You have to have a lot of really good guys on the team, great coaching. This year, it kind of all came together for us on special teams. We had quite a bit of touchdowns . . . and all across the board, we had really good players."
LeSean McCoy and Jordan Matthews stumped for the return of Jeremy Maclin, who led the Eagles this season with 85 catches for 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns. Maclin is eligible for free agency but has said he thinks he'll reach agreement with the Eagles, and if he doesn't, he can be franchised. It's really unlikely Maclin is leaving . . . Trent Cole, with an $11.625 million cap hit in 2015, when he will turn 33, reiterated that he wants to retire an Eagle but emphasized that he'll be playing somewhere . . . First-round rookie Marcus Smith again was active but did not play . . . Rookie kicker Cody Parkey set a franchise record with 150 points, which also is an NFL rookie record . . . Mark Sanchez set an Eagles record with a 64.1 percent completion rate in 2014, and no, they weren't counting the ones he threw to the other team . . . Brent Celek's TD yesterday was his only score of the season.