The Kansas City Chiefs looked like geniuses when they brought LeSean McCoy in right before the 2019 season kicked off. By season’s end, however, McCoy barely found his way onto the field as a player.
It came as a bit of a shock when the Buffalo Bills opted to cut LeSean McCoy right before the 2019 NFL season was set to kick off. Fans were thrilled when the Kansas City Chiefs brought in the bruiting running back, who looked like he still had something left in the tank.
Early on in the 2019 season, it looked like McCoy would be the RB1 in Kansas City and he backed that up in week one against the Jaguars when he rushed for 81 yards off ten carries. The Chiefs continued to heavily rely on McCoy through the first month of the season and for the most part, he delivered.
In his first four games as a Chief, Shady carried the rock 40 times for 214 yards and two touchdowns while also hauling in a touchdown through the air. The Chiefs relied on both McCoy and Damien Williams to get the job done in the back field, but Williams was banged up quite a bit through the early portion of the season, paving way for Shady to get more involved.
Things started to go downhill for McCoy in week eight against the Packers where his fumble proved costly. His fumble against the Colts three weeks prior was costly as well, but Andy Reid stuck with him and kept him involved. Shady wasn’t as lucky after fumble number two.
LeSean McCoy went from having nine carries in week eight to just three in week nine. He was present for 39% of the snaps in week eight and was only involved in 10% of the snaps in week nine. Things got even weirder when he wasn’t even in uniform for the Chiefs’ week ten game against the Titans despite being healthy.
While McCoy would be present for around 30% of the snaps between weeks 11 and 15, he was once again a “healthy scratch” in the final two weeks of the season. He was in uniform against the Texans in the Divisional Round, but was on the field for just 2% of the offensive snaps and did not play in the AFC Championship Game.
The excuse for why Shady hadn’t been playing in the three games he missed was that the Chiefs were saving him for the playoffs. I think we can fully say now that is a lie, as the Chiefs have been in the playoffs for the past month and McCoy has played in 2% of the offensive snaps in two games. TWO PERCENT.
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If LeSean McCoy isn’t active for Super Bowl LIV, it won’t be because the Kansas City Chiefs are saving him because there are no more games left to save him for. This is it. The big shebang. The game of all games. Football’s biggest stage. If McCoy isn’t playing on Sunday, all you’re saving him from is not getting hurt before the offseason.
The signing has been a disappointing one because McCoy really could have put this offense over the top. He was once one of the best running backs in the league and pairing him with Williams and the other young backs on the roster seemed like a good idea in August.
Instead, the Chiefs essentially gave up on utilizing McCoy. His fumbling issues proved pivotal and it appeared as if Reid didn’t trust Shady after he had two costly fumbles in the span of a month. The fact that the Chiefs run game was as weak as it was and McCoy still couldn’t get carries was very telling.
It’d be hard to imagine McCoy not being in uniform come kickoff on Sunday, but after the week eight fumble, it was clear that something changed with his role in the offensive gameplay. Whether it was Reid not trusting McCoy to hold onto the football or the offense wanting to lean more on Damien Williams, we may never know the answer.
What we do know, however, is that this signing didn’t end up being the home run many of us thought it’d be back in August and that’s a shame. The run game has been disappointing all season long and in week one, it looked like Shady would be the leading rusher, but it didn’t work out that way.
Hopefully the Chiefs win on Sunday and LeSean McCoy can get his ring with the head coach who drafted him over a decade ago in Philadelphia. That’d be a pretty cool storyline.