1. Shady is motivated
The addition of new competition in the form of his friend Frank Gore and a rookie in Devin Singletary. The rumors of being moved off of Buffalo’s roster and the talk of him losing a step at age 31. All of it has LeSean McCoy supremely motivated for the 2019 season.
McCoy spoke for the first time on the final day of training camp Tuesday, and is ready to silence the critics.
“I’m the guy. I feel like that. That’s what I’ve been told,” said McCoy. “That’s my every day approach. We’re all a team and trying to help each other out to win games, compete against each other and make each other better. Me and Frank have been competing for years. We train in the offseason and we’re always trying to beat each other. I’m excited for the challenge.”
McCoy admits that things might be a bit different for him knowing the whispers that are out there about where his personal game is at coming off a season of career lows in rushing yards and yards per carry. Now in his 10th NFL season, McCoy has learned to use that negativity as fuel.
“There’s always talk about something,” he said. “Whether it’s off the field, on the field. Whether it’s age, my salary, there’s always something. So I learned to use that as motivation. That’s something that Frank has taught me. No matter what goes on they’ll look for the guy with the name or the money. So it motivates me in different ways.”
Though McCoy’s offseason training regimen remained largely the same, the team’s feature back did start earlier this spring. He’s happy with the new additions to the offensive line and receiving corps believing it will lead to a more balanced offense.
And he also believes that a 1,000-yard rushing season is attainable for him in 2019.
“I think so. That’s the goal. The main goal is winning games and being productive,” McCoy said. “Making every play count. Once you do that then good things, the stats come along with it. When you focus on the numbers or the yards then you don’t get them. The first goal is to make every play count and work hard and win games and the stats and all that other stuff will follow.”
McCoy has heard all the trade rumors as well over the past two seasons and is using that to drive him harder as well.
“For the last two years people have been saying that. If that was the case I’d have been gone,” McCoy said. “Two teams were trying to get me so if I was gone, they would’ve gotten something for me. It’s common sense.”
For McCoy, all of that is outside noise. The season is a month away and McCoy is locked in on returning to form and nothing else.
“I’m challenging myself. I come to camp and this team, I look to be the best player every snap,” he said. “I’m motivated.”
2. Allen: Offense is still tightening some things up
As camp came to a close, Josh Allen was asked for an assessment of the offense’s progress and execution. The second-year quarterback is encouraged by the steps the unit has taken, but believes there is still ground to cover.
“I think we’re getting there. I’m not going to say it’s there yet,” Allen said. “We’re not playing against a real team with real bullets flying yet. I’m anxious to see how we do on Thursday.”
Allen is referencing the team’s preseason opener against Indianapolis on Thursday night at New Era Field.
“We’re working on a lot of different things right now,” said Allen. “Today was our first practice diving into what Indianapolis may do. Depending on how much time I get out there with the ones or twos, we’re just trying to tighten some things up as far as what we’re doing. We want to be on the same page.
“It’ll be a good starting point for us and we’ll work out all the kinks. I’m excited to play on Thursday, get the ball to our playmakers and see who makes some plays.”
3. Andre Roberts making presence known at receiver
When he was signed as a free agent, he was seen as a player who could provide a shot in the arm to special teams as a dynamic return man. While the Pro Bowl return man certainly brings top end talent on the team’s kick and punt return units, he’s also turned some heads on offense at receiver.
Over the last three days of practice there might not be a receiver who has pulled in more passes than Roberts. Tuesday was no different.
Unofficially, Roberts made four receptions in a shortened practice and has been getting consistent separation from defenders.
Getting a fair shot at receiver in addition to his special teams abilities on the previous NFL teams he’s played for has proven difficult the last several years. In Buffalo, he’s had more reps at receiver than he’s seen in several years.
“I’d have to go back to 2014 or 2015,” said Roberts. “I’m getting a lot here. That’s just what I like to prove every single year that I play. Be what I am at returner, but at the same time be a dual threat and do some things on offense.”
Josh Allen was looking for him on Tuesday as they found a rhythm together in the passing game.
“To have that kind of explosiveness on special teams is awesome, but he comes out here and puts his hard hat on every day ready to work,” said Allen. “He communicates very well. He’s locked in during our meetings. He’s been in the league for a while and knows how a pro is supposed to do it and has been a good example for some of our younger guys. But he comes out and he’s been developing as a wide receiver for us. He runs some crisp routes and has been catching the ball and has the same explosiveness that we see from him on special teams.”
“That’s what I want to let him know,” said Roberts of Allen. “Him being able to depend on me when he’s throwing the ball.”