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McCoy Is Cardinals' Top Priority

Posted Nov 29, 2013

Notebook: Sore Ellington is questionable for game; Fitzgerald always big against Philly

The Cardinals know they have to slow down Eagles running back LeSean McCoy Sunday.

Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles has yet to turn the ball over this season, yet there isn’t a Cardinal who is putting Foles at the top of the defensive to-do list Sunday.

“You better take LeSean McCoy out of the game first,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said.

McCoy has been fantastic under new head coach Chip Kelly’s offense, leading the league with 1,009 yards rushing and spearheading the NFL’s best ground game.

“He’s a modern day Barry Sanders,” Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles said.

The Cardinals have done a good job against the run all season and currently rank second in the NFL in that category. In Kelly’s system, McCoy frequently has space to run with the Eagles’ spread formations, and when the up-tempo focus is added in, defenses often don’t have time to sub in fresh bodies either.

Linebacker Daryl Washington said Philadelphia will use “window dressing” with certain formations, making it look like a pass setup in order to get the linebackers out of the box and try and force the defensive line to deal with the offensive line and McCoy alone.

After McCoy has the ball, the Cardinals must be smart as well. “You have to be disciplined, because he can make you miss,” linebacker Karlos Dansby said.

“We stop (number) 25,” Washington said. “That’s the mindset.”

ELLINGTON’S KNEE MAKES HIM QUESTIONABLE FOR SUNDAY

Running back Andre Ellington, who hurt his left knee late in Thursday’s practice, did not practice Friday and will be listed as questionable for Sunday’s game. Arians said Ellington would be a game-day decision.

“Nothing real serious but we are going to be real careful with it,” Arians said.

Arians said the gameplan would have to be tweaked slightly if Ellington cannot play but insisted the Cards have plenty of other backs to step up. Whether that would mean Ryan Williams would finally get a chance to be active remains to be seen.

“We’ll see how it goes,” Ellington said. “We have two days before the game. That’s a lot of rest, two days. I’ll continue to rehab and get to Sunday and get out there and run around a little bit.”

Everyone else on the Cardinals’ injury report is listed as probable. For the Eagles, only safety Earl Wolff (knee) is out. Everyone else is expected to play.

FITZGERALD’S GAUDY PAST VERSUS EAGLES

Over the years, there has been no team that has felt the wrath of Larry Fitzgerald’s talents more consistently than the Philadelphia Eagles. Fitzgerald has played five games all time against the Eagles – including the NFC Championship game in the 2008 playoffs – and his numbers have been impressive.

His first game, Christmas Eve in 2005 in the final game for the Cards at Sun Devil Stadium, Fitzgerald had five catches for 93 yards and a touchdown. In the regular season of 2008 in Philly, he had five catches for 65 yards and two touchdowns. In the NFC Championship that year, he had nine catches for 152 yards and three touchdowns. In Philly in 2011, Fitz had seven catches for 146 yards and two touchdowns. And last year in Arizona, Fitzgerald had nine catches for 114 yards and a touchdown.

Of course, that’s against the defenses of Andy Reid, and Chip Kelly has his own new system.

“It’s an anomaly, man,” Fitzgerald said. “Lightning strikes twice every once in awhile in the same place. I don’t really focus too much on it. It’s just the next team on the schedule. My complete focus is playing our best every single week. I wish I could have that kind of success against every franchise but I don’t look at it any different.”

Fitzgerald also shrugged off the idea seeing the Eagles could add to his confidence.

“I never need a boost of confidence,” Fitzgerald said. “My confidence is usually pretty good. It’s just another game.”

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