Tampa Bay Buccaneers: What happened to LeSean McCoy?

LeSean McCoy, Tampa Bay Buccaneers,(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
LeSean McCoy, Tampa Bay Buccaneers,(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

The Tampa Bay Buccaneer running backs have been terrible through their air so far this season, which begs the question: where is LeSean McCoy?

As soon as Tom Brady signed with the Buccaneers, the first question asked was who would take over the third-down role in Tampa Bay. James White played this to wild success during the end of the Brady era in New England, and it looked like Tampa Bay addressed this deficiency with LeSean McCoy.

Even after they drafted Ke’Shawn Vaughn, the Buccaneers knew that they would need a better option to pair with Brady during his first season on a new team. McCoy looked like one of the best free-agent signings of the period for Tampa Bay at first based on need alone.

Throughout his career with multiple teams, Shady has 513 receptions for nearly 4,000 receiving yards, so this looked like a great fit on paper.

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After a solid training camp and starting the season as the primary third-down option for the Bucs, it looked like the passing game in the backfield would finally begin to improve in Tampa Bay.

Unfortunately, after several weaker stretches and dropped passes, McCoy has been relegated to a non-existent role on the offense. Unironically, McCoy has only received one target in the four losses for Tampa Bay this season, and no one else has stepped into this spot to replace him.

Leonard Fournette has attempted to take over as the third-down back, but Tom Brady still hasn’t found anyone to build reliable chemistry with on a consistent basis. Fournette has still dropped passes in critical moments, Jones has fallen off the deep end as a receiver, and Ke’Shawn Vaughn continues to prove why the Bucs need to evaluate their running back draft picks in new ways.

Even if McCoy struggles on running downs, the Bucs have no choice but to bring him back to play a bigger role. The Buccaneer running backs have been abysmal through the air so far this season, and McCoy has been the one with the greatest upside.

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If the Bucs don’t see McCoy as a long-term option, which he isn’t, they can use him for the remainder of this season as a safety valve for Brady and then move on during the preseason, but not using him at all when this aspect of the offense has been so bad makes little sense.