The Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants usually need little help to get fired up before facing each other. This time around, Eagles fans like myself can expect a bloodbath on Sept. 30 after LeSean McCoy upped the ante. McCoy's latest war of words with New York's Osi Umenyiora had him call the Giants' All-Pro defenseman a "ballerina" this week - but Umenyiora should have a chance or two to prove him wrong.
However, that depends on how much the Eagles let McCoy run the ball and try to blow past Umenyiora. Given that Philadelphia ran five times in the entire first half against the Arizona Cardinals on Sept. 23, the issue of offensive balance - or a lack of it - is a hot topic again. After all, McCoy certainly can't back up his words if the Eagles won't let him touch the ball.
Philadelphia had to depend on the pass again after Arizona jumped out to a big early lead. If the Giants don't take a 24-0 lead in the first half, then the Eagles have less of an excuse to leave McCoy hanging. Of course, the Birds have never needed a good excuse to make Michael Vick throw 40-50 times, no matter how detrimental it is to him and the team.
It will forever escape Eagles fans how they actually have a big time running back, yet forget to use him every few weeks or so. McCoy is more valuable than ever this week, as Vick could get torn to shreds by Umenyiora and the Giants' pass rush, like he has many times before. And after last week's performance in Arizona, another bad game could make the Philadelphia faithful demand that Vick sit down - if New York doesn't knock him out first.
When the Eagles were incredibly unbalanced against the Cleveland Browns on Sept. 9, they took more of a 50-50 approach with the Baltimore Ravens the next week and it worked. Perhaps they will learn the same lesson when facing the Giants, before forgetting it again a week or two later.
McCoy's words against Umenyiora clearly suggest he is chomping at the bit to take him on. Given the doom and gloom around the Eagles after their pathetic loss to the Cardinals, they need a spark like that to do better over the Giants. If they give McCoy a chance, he can give them that spark and turn things around - but first they have to be smart enough to give him that chance.
Maybe McCoy did a dumb thing by giving Umenyiora more motivation to throttle him and the Eagles. Considering how New York has two more Super Bowl rings than Philadelphia since 2008 - and four more since the Super Bowl era began - perhaps no Eagle has a right to trash talk the Giants. However, letting McCoy back up his taunts still seems like a much smarter idea than letting Vick get throttled for 60 minutes.
Robert Dougherty is a life-long Philadelphia resident who has followed the Eagles since he was eight years old.
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