Pats have hands full with McCoy

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Pats have hands full with McCoy

FOXBORO The New England Patriots have seen their share of talented running backs this season.

There's talented running backs, and then there's Philadelphia's LeSean McCoy.

The third-year running back may be the most complete ball-carrier the Pats see all season. His NFL-leading 1,019 yards rushing stands out, obviously. Even more impressive is the variety of ways he goes about getting them.

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has seen plenty of video of McCoy leading up to Sunday's game in Philadelphia.

When asked what jumps off the screen about McCoy's game, Belichick responded, "he's unbelievably quick; he's got tremendous quickness."

But if McCoy's game were primarily about speed, containing him would be a lot easier to do.

"He's you don't see anyone tackle him one-on-one," Belichick said. "You need a group of guys around him."

The Patriots faced a similar dilemma earlier in the season when they played at Oakland and their standout running back, Darren McFadden. McFadden came into their Week 4 matchup averaging 131 yards rushing. In New England's 31-19 win, the Patriots held him to just 75 yards on 14 carries. And keep in mind, McFadden broke off one long run of 26 yards in that game.

Limiting McCoy's ability to make the big play, will be much easier said than done.

One of the reasons he has been such an dynamic running back this season has been his ability to break off long runs. The third-year running back has 38 runs of 10 or more yards, tops in the NFL.

Belichick also believes McCoy's strength factors into his success on the ground as well.

"He gets through the line. Guys get a shot at him, and he's able to run through them," Belichick said. 'I'm not saying he's a big-time power runner like (New York Giants running back Brandon) Jacobs. He's got good playing strength."

And unlike most speedy tailbacks, McCoy has also shown the ability to steadily improve as the game goes on. Of his 10 rushing touchdowns, six have come in the second half (tops in the NFL). When he carries the ball 21 or more times, he's averaging 6.6 yards per carry which is also tops in the NFL.

McCoy's versatility reminds some of a former Eagles running back Brian Westbrook, who was one of the franchise's all-time rushing leaders.

"I think he's better than Westbrook," Belichick said. "Westbrook's pretty good. This guy's pretty good now. I'd say he's quicker than Westbrook. Westbrook may be a little stronger, I don't know. This guy's a handful."

Tom Brady delivers video message at funeral of Navy SEAL

Tom Brady delivers video message at funeral of Navy SEAL


Tom Brady delivered a video message last week at the funeral of Navy SEAL Kyle Milliken, a Maine native and former UConn track athlete killed in Somalia on May 5.

Bill Speros of The Boston Herald, in a column this Memorial Day weekend, wrote about Milliken and Brady's message.   

Milliken ran track at Cheverus High School in Falmouth, Maine, and at UConn, where he graduated in 2001. Milliken lived in Virginia Beach, Va., with his wife, Erin, and two children.  He other Navy SEALs participated in a training exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011 where he met and posed for pictures with Brady.

Speros wrote that at Milliken’s funeral in Virginia Beach, Va., Brady's video offered condolences and thanked Milliken’s family for its sacrifice and spoke of how Milliken was considered a “glue guy” by UConn track coach Greg Roy.

Milliken had served in Iraq and Afghanistan, earning four Bronze Star Medals and was based in Virginia since 2004.  He was killed in a nighttime firefight with Al-Shabaab militants near Barij, about 40 miles from the Somali capital of Mogadishu. He was 38.

The Pentagon said Milliken was the first American serviceman killed in combat in Somalia since the "Black Hawk Down" battle that killed 18 Americans in 1993. 

In a statement to the Herald, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said: “It was an honor to host Kyle and his team for an exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011. It gave new meaning to the stadium being known as home of the Patriots. We were deeply saddened to hear of Kyle’s death earlier this month.

“As Memorial Day weekend approaches, we are reminded of the sacrifices made by patriots like Kyle and so many others who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend and protect our rights as Americans. Our thoughts, prayers and heartfelt appreciation are extended to the Milliken family and the many families who will be remembering lives lost this Memorial Day weekend.”