Will LeSean McCoy Rush for 2,000 Yards During 2017-18 NFL Regular Season?
NFL Odds: Yes +1200, No -6000
If McCoy is going to become the eighth running back ever to surpass 2,000 yards in a season, he is going to need to carry the ball more than he ever has before. McCoy has only carried the ball more than 300 times twice in his eight-year career and has yet to even crack 240 carries in a season during his time in Buffalo.
However, McCoy was extremely productive when he did carry the ball last year. He averaged a career best 5.4 yards per carry in 2016 behind an offensive line that was the one of the better units in the NFL.
McCoy’s primary backup Mike Gillislee signed with the Patriots a few weeks ago and that will mean more carries for McCoy. Gillislee carried the ball 101 times for the Bills last season and his 5.7 yards per carry average was even better than Shady’s average.
The Bills don’t have a proven backup to McCoy now that Gillislee is gone. Jonathan Williams only ran the ball 27 times last season and the team parted ways with Reggie Bush in the offseason as well. While hopes are high that Williams can develop into a decent runner, he is still raw and Buffalo should lean more on McCoy as a result.
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Buffalo will have a new offensive coordinator this season in Rick Dennison. Dennison was let go of by Denver this offseason after two years of marginal results. He is a proponent of the West Coast offense and won’t rely on the running game as much as Rex Ryan wanted to.
Dennison’s offenses in Denver were never that good, but his teams were able to move the chains in Houston. He was the OC in Houston from 2010-2013 and his teams never finished outside of the top half of the NFL in total yards.
Although he doesn’t prefer to run the ball a lot, he did show that he will rely on a running game if he needs to. Dennison’s 2011 Texans team ran the ball more than any other team in the NFL and in 2012 he allowed Arian Foster to carry the ball 351 times. If Tyrod Taylor has some trouble running Dennison’s offense, he won’t be scared to ask McCoy to carry the load.
The offensive line should be improved in 2017 as well. Richie Incognito is a road grater at guard and can open up holes for McCoy to run through. The Bills also should have a healthy Eric Wood back at center. Wood made the Pro Bowl in 2015, but only played half of last season after suffering a broken leg against Seattle.
How Dion Dawkins plays in his rookie season will be big for this offensive line. Dawkins was taken in the second round after four productive years at Temple and can play either guard or tackle depending on the team’s needs.
Although there’s certainly a chance that McCoy can hit 2,000 yards, it’s not much of one. McCoy doesn’t have the offensive line that Ezekiel Elliott does and the unit has some questions.
Additionally, McCoy has never been leaned on to heavily and has a checkered injury history. He has only played all 16 games in three of his eight seasons and at the age of 29, having him carry the ball more than he ever has before will probably lead to him breaking down. It’s a lot of chalk to swallow, but McCoy won’t come within even 500 yards of 2,000.
NFL Prediction: LeSean McCoy Under 2,000 Rushing Yards