Inside Slant

The Sports Xchange

December 27, 2018 at 1:43 am.

Sunday could be finale for Bills RB McCoy

To the surprise of no one, Buffalo Bills coach Sean McDermott said Wednesday that he certainly is looking forward to having LeSean McCoy back in 2019 and seeing him bounce back from what has been a terrible season for the 10th-year running back.

“Overall, I’m really excited about where we’re going and LeSean being a part of that,” McDermott said. “I know this year wasn’t what he had hoped it would be and the biggest thing I want to see is what we’re going to do to get it to back to where it needs to be. And so I think he’s committed to that cause, as are we. LeSean’s a pro, he’s played at a very high level for a long period of time and I expect him to get back on track.”

And now back to the real world. McCoy has been in decline all season, and that likely isn’t changing when he turns 31 before the start of the 2019 season which is his last under the contract extension he signed with Buffalo in 2015.

McCoy has 488 rushing yards, nearly 200 fewer than his previous lowest mark which was 637 in his rookie season with the Eagles in 2009. That year, he started only four games and was the backup at his position. This year, McCoy was supposed to be the focal point of the Bills’ offense as they had major question marks at every other position group on offense, most notably quarterback.

But McCoy was held to 22 yards by the Ravens in the season opener, and it never improved from there. He has had just one 100-yard game, that against the Jets on Nov. 11. In the other 12 games he has played (he sat out two with injury, and left early in the first quarter of two other games), McCoy has topped 50 yards only three times.

One of those games came in Miami when he had 52 yards on 15 carries in a 21-17 loss. Sunday, when the Bills close their season by hosting the Dolphins, McCoy’s role may be limited.

Last week, McCoy was benched for the first play of the New England game due to a disciplinary situation meted out by McDermott, who refused to go into what the issue was.

“Yeah, that’s between LeSean and myself and I appreciate him being accountable,” McDermott said, referring to the fact that after the game, McCoy admitted he was in the wrong and that McDermott put him in his place. “We’ve moved on and that’s where we’re headed. That happens from time to time. Nobody’s perfect. But again, I appreciate him being accountable. And I’m not perfect in this case, he wasn’t perfect and we addressed it and we’re moving forward.”

Rookie Keith Ford started, and he ended up playing 30 snaps to McCoy’s 31, and Ford outgained McCoy 33-9. McDermott has made the decision to test young players in the final few weeks, and it stands to reason that Ford will get an additional look in the finale, meaning McCoy may not play much.

McCoy is scheduled to count $9 million against the salary cap next season, but if the Bills cut him, they would save $6.5 million. It seems like a foregone conclusion, no matter what McDermott said, that McCoy is likely dressing with the Bills for the final time.

SERIES HISTORY: 106th regular-season meeting. Dolphins lead series, 60-44-1. The Bills lost 21-17 in Miami on Dec. 2 when Charles Clay dropped a would-be game-winning touchdown pass. Last year in the season finale, the Bills beat Miami and clinched their first playoff berth in 17 years.