Focus on defense is Eagles' run game

Posted Dec 27, 2012

RB's LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown lead the Eagles' running game into MetLife Stadium Sunday, and QB Michael Vick's return could be dangerous

The only scoreboard Giants defenders will focus on this Sunday in MetLife Stadium is the one that flashes the score of the game and the opponent’s rushing stats. A week after allowing a pair of 100-yard rushers, they’ll try to keep both numbers as low as possible.

In the Giants’ Week 16 loss in Baltimore, Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce rushed for 107 and 123 yards, respectively, dropping New York to 28th in the NFL in allowing 4.6 yards per attempt. And before they can concern themselves with playoff scenarios, the Giants look to do a better job in that category.

Against the Eagles this week, that includes a familiar foe and another not as much.

LeSean McCoy, who has rushed for more than 100 yards in four of his seven career games against New York, returned to the field last week against Washington after a four-game absence due to a concussion. He notched just 45 yards on 13 carries but added a season-high 77 yards on nine catches against the Redskins.

Meanwhile, rookie Bryce Brown has made a name for himself in McCoy’s absence, including a two-game stretch where he racked up 346 yards and four touchdowns. With McCoy back, Brown rushed four times last week for 18 yards.

“Same scheme, just two pretty good backs,” linebacker Michael Boley said. “Brown’s kind of burst on the scene. He’s run the ball quite well over the last couple weeks. He’s definitely a player that’s going to have to be watched closely.

“McCoy is more of a slasher, cutback-type runner. But as you’ve seen, Brown can do it as well. So they’re kind of similar in some aspects.”

The Eagles’ rushing attack currently ranks 11th in the NFL, averaging 117.6 yards per game, and could only be boosted by Michael Vick’s return to the starting role at quarterback.

“Another running back in the backfield,” Boley said of Vick. “He definitely adds the challenge of scrambling, getting out of the pocket, especially with the push that our guys get up front – facing a running quarterback with our front kind of forces us to be more focused on containing the pass rush and not just going to get it."

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