How LeSean McCoy trade impacts Redskins

A few thoughts on the Philadelphia Eagles trade of running back LeSean McCoy to the Buffalo Bills for linebacker Kiko Alonso, and its impact on the Washington Redskins:

  • These were the two guys Washington most worried about two years ago: receiver DeSean Jackson and McCoy. They combined for 3,480 yards and 20 touchdowns during the 2013 season. McCoy, alone, contributed 2,146 yards and 11 touchdowns.

  • The previous Redskins' defensive staff loved McCoy and considered him the best back they faced because of his all-around game. Their plan every time they faced Philly was to stop McCoy. In the first game against Washington last season, McCoy only rushed 19 times for 22 yards -- but the Eagles won 37-34 because, well, they couldn't stop much else.

  • The Redskins actually did a solid job against him during his Eagles' tenure. In 11 games, McCoy rushed 206 times for 807 yards -- a 3.92 yards per run average. He added 51 catches for 479 yards, a 9.39 yards per reception average.

  • McCoy surpassed 100 yards twice against Washington, including the 181-yard game on the opening night of 2013. That game forced the Redskins to tweak how they defended the Eagles, specifically McCoy, and in the three ensuing games they played McCoy gained a combined 187 yards.

  • In five of the 11 games vs. the Redskins, McCoy rushed for 50 yards or less.

  • It's not as if McCoy had the same level of impact last season, rushing two less times than in 2013 but gaining 288 fewer yards. However, you wonder about the loss of Jackson and the impact it had on how teams defended McCoy. But: McCoy faced a seven-man front one fewer time in 2014 than the previous year and faced only four fewer six-man fronts (he averaged 5.09 yards against that look in '13; and 4.42 against it this past season), according to ESPN Stats & Information.

  • But McCoy was always dangerous and using he and Darren Sproles in the backfield at times last season put defenses in a bind. They were successful at using screens in which they'd fake a handoff to McCoy running one way -- defenses had to honor it because of who it was -- and then screened to the other side for Sproles, now in a favorable spot. McCoy would also serve as a blocker for Sproles on occasion. So McCoy's impact was more than just about him running the ball: It was receiving, a little blocking and a dangerous decoy.

  • Until we know what other moves the Eagles, make it's tough to say what they've truly gained or lost. Alonso had a terrific rookie season, but the Bills' defense flourished without him last season when he missed with a torn ACL. But the move also provided them with an extra $10 million in cap space. That could result in two or three more players -- or one (potentially) dominant one.

  • It's not as if Chip Kelly made McCoy; the Redskins' thoughts about him being the best, for example, pre-dated this marriage. So whether Kelly can just plug any back into his system and produce the same numbers is uncertain. Perhaps he can. But the passing game last season definitely missed Jackson, the other big name he jettisoned. And it's always dangerous when a coach thinks it's about his system and not the players.

  • But these moves for the Eagles also are about the future and re-shaping the roster to more of what Kelly wants or needs. Perhaps he's getting rid of McCoy a year or so too early; we'll see. McCoy did not look like he had the same burst and wiggle as he did in 2013. He averaged only 5.5 yards per reception. McCoy still finished third in the NFL in rushing, but he also gained a combined 1,976 yards before contact the past two years -- an NFL best. Just a hunch: I'm guessing Kelly attributed that in part to the line and his system. It's also unnecessary to have a running back count $11.95 million against the salary cap as McCoy would have (though at least McCoy is a three-down guy, which increases his value).

  • The Eagles still have talented parts on offense; the line should be healthy and strong. Receiver Jeremy Maclin is dangerous (assuming he's re-signed; receiver Jordan Matthews had a good rookie season and tight end Zach Ertz is a big threat as well.

  • But they will need to replace McCoy and that won't be easy. Then again, they have a lot of money and flexibility -- and it makes you wonder what other moves are on the horizon and how it will impact the Redskins. Will this aggressive mindset carry into the draft with Kelly trying to land quarterback Marcus Mariota? And will the team on the other end be the Redskins or someone else? It would be a steep price to pay for the Eagles, but Kelly isn't afraid to make bold moves.