Two hundred eleven running backs have carried the ball for the Eagles in their 79-year history.

LeSean McCoy is on pace to run for more yards in his first three seasons than any of them. He already has accounted for the most yards from scrimmage, running and receiving. And the Eagles' go-to back, is still just 23 years old.

This has been a terribly disappointing season for Eagles fans, but McCoy hasn't disappointed. His effort has been consistent, his outlook positive, his focus on the team, even on days when the Eagles lost at least in part because they somehow neglected to give him the ball enough. Nobody has had to bench Shady for missing a meeting. He has proved to be both durable and reliable. The closest he has come to generating controversy was when he fired Drew Rosenhaus a couple of times, and who among us has not wanted to do that?

Maybe the most remarkable thing about McCoy's ascent is that a couple of years ago, we were all worrying that he might be judged too harshly, having to succeed Brian Westbrook. What were the chances the Eagles were going to be able to replace the best all-around back in franchise history with someone just as good, or better? That doesn't happen much. Is the next shortstop the Phillies develop going to be better than Jimmy Rollins?

McCoy isn't a punt returner, and he lacks Westbrook's wideout-level route-running ability, but he is a better runner, especially between the tackles. McCoy's @cutondime25 Twitter handle is the truth; it's no longer a novelty to have an opponent compare him to Barry Sanders.

"You hate to put him in the company of greatness, but he has a lot of Barry Sanders in him," Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor said before the teams played.

A couple of months earlier, it was 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio:

"He has an unusual running style. He's kind of like Barry Sanders in a way, that a run can be started outside left that can end up outside right, or vice versa. He's very elusive. He jump-cuts, he'll give ground, he's always looking to make the big play in the running game. He is what makes those guys go."

- Les Bowen