Is LeSean McCoy still an elite playmaker?
The Bills running back is coming off the worst season of his 10-year NFL career. He finished 2018 with a single season low in yards rushing (514) and yards per attempt (3.2).
The track record for 31-year-old running backs isn’t great but the Bills believe there’s still some juice left.
“I think LeSean still can play. If not, we would have made a decision to move on,” Brandon Beane said. “I think he’s embraced the competition this spring.”
That competition will come in several different forms at training camp. The Bills signed Frank Gore and T.J. Yeldon and drafted Devin Singletary. So, for the first time since his rookie season McCoy will have to prove he can still carry the load in a backfield that’s busting at the seams with backs.
“I’d rather have too many than not enough,” Beane said about the packed backfield. “I’ve been on the other side of it where you’ve got too few. All of a sudden, you can say we’re too deep at running back but a couple of guys go down and it starts to get thin quickly.”
Beane also believes the competition will make all the backs better, including McCoy.
“LeSean’s a competitor. He sees Frank pushing, and then a young guy and then T.J’s played meaningful snaps,” Beane said.
There’s plenty of blame to go around for last year’s struggles on the ground. The offensive line was iffy at best and defenses focused on stopping McCoy, making rookie quarterback Josh Allen prove he could beat them.
The line should be much improved and Allen is expected to take the next step in his 2nd season. Will that be enough to make LeSean a showcase back again?
Well, there’s only been three seasons in which LeSean has finished with under 1,000 yard rushing and each time he’s followed it up with a huge season. Can he do it again at the age of 31?
“He’s very confident, when you talk to him, that he still sees himself up here and I don’t think you’re changing that… and I definitely think he’s got enough left in the tank to help us in 2019,” the Bills GM said.
Beane says he’s not sure how the competition will shake out, “We’re going to keep the best ones.”
McCoy’s biggest challenge at running back won’t be a future Hall of Famer or a rookie draft pick. The veteran’s biggest hurdle will be proving father time still hasn’t called his number.