Bills' McCoy: Skepticism 'weird' heading into '19

PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy on Tuesday offered a transparent view of the skepticism revolving around him during the offseason.

McCoy, 31, ran for a career-low 514 yards in 2018, sparking outside conversation about whether the two-time All-Pro could still be productive.

After more than a decade in the NFL, McCoy said he has learned "there's always talk about something," and he generally uses it as motivation. However, he said doubts about him playing at a high level were difficult to process.

"It's kind of weird," McCoy said while making his first public comments of training camp. "Since I was 9 years old, I've been, like, the top guy. So it's weird to hear stuff like that. The good thing is, I've learned how the media is, how you guys are, how people are, how fans are ... fantasy team owners. You have a bad two games and three hot ones and you're the man.

"It's the NFL, this is how it is. I'm fine with that. I know who I am."

Bills general manager Brandon Beane focused on bolstering the team's backfield this offseason, adding Frank Gore and T.J. Yeldon via free agency and rookie Devin Singletary via the draft.

McCoy, who has been the team's starting running back since he was traded to Buffalo in 2015, said his mindset hasn't changed -- even with the added competition.

"I'm the guy; that's what I've been told," McCoy said. "We're all a team, we're trying to help each other out and win games. ... Me and Frank, we've been freaking competing for years. We train in the offseason and always try to beat each other in everything we do."

McCoy was listed as the Bills' starting running back in their first preseason depth chart, released Monday night.

The people around McCoy have been impressed with his mentality through spring workouts and training camp. Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll said the running back is "business," and head coach Sean McDermott suggested McCoy's struggles in 2018 weren't entirely his fault.

"It's never all one guy. And, in this case, there are some runs he'd like to have back -- and I think he would tell you the same," McDermott said during a joint news conference with Beane on July 25. "But there's a lot of other reasons for it, and you saw some of which we addressed this offseason with the offensive line.

"We are encouraged as to this point of where he is, and the competition we are going to see not only at the running back position but the offensive line position as well."

Beane attributed the "outside noise" to people having nothing else to talk about during a lull in play, and he stood by McCoy as the team's lead back.

"There's not any inside noise, so outside, it is what it is," Beane said. "When LeSean and Brian Daboll roll the ball out, LeSean is going to be the first running back to touch the ball. That's the way we see it. Like I said, we've added depth, we've added competition at running back and a lot of other spots, but we anticipate that he's handled the challenge all through the spring.

"I think he sees the competition and he hasn't shown that he is afraid of it or he's got a problem with it. That's where it sits."

Second-year quarterback Josh Allen, who led the team in rushing in 2018, also took note of the two-time All-Pro's demeanor.

If anything, Allen said, McCoy is more determined than ever.

"He works hard, but this year I think there's just kind of been a different tune that he's been listening to," Allen said. "He comes out every day ready to work. ... He's a great guy to have in the locker room.

"Honestly, he's one of the best running backs that the game's seen. So to have him on this team, to have his leadership, to have his playmaking ability, is going to be special for us this year."