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Eagles backfield has the real McCoy

LeSean McCoy was a little surprised to hear he was fifth in the league in total yards.

"That's the first I heard that," the Philadelphia Eagles running back said on Thursday. "To be honest, I don't look at my stats during the season. I'll wait to the end and then see how I did."

McCoy, who played with a broken rib in last week's win over the San Francisco 49ers and will do the same Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons at home, is off to a great start ... whether he knows it or not.

After five games, McCoy has carried 68 times for 365 yards, an average of 5.4 yards per carry, also fifth best in the league. He has five touchdowns, one more than he had all of last year. And he's also caught 28 passes for 218 yards.

"Some of the things he does, you just can't teach," Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said. "He's just a natural in so many ways."

Three times in five games, he has surpassed 100 total yards. His 583 total yards are fifth best and just six yards away from being third best.

"He's running hard and he's playing well," Eagles head coach Andy Reid said. "He's a good back."

McCoy had the difficult task of taking over for one of the best backs in franchise history: Brian Westbrook. The change began last season when injuries sidelined Westbrook and the rookie McCoy's time increased. When the Eagles finally parted ways with Westbrook this past offseason, McCoy became the man.

"I'm glad I was able to be with Brian for a year," McCoy said. "I learned a lot from him. He's a great player and it was great for me to be around him. I learned a lot from him, a whole lot."

He certainly learned how to play through pain. There are a lot of running backs who would have missed last week's game. McCoy, who injured the rib midway through the loss to Washington on Oct. 3, wasn't one of them. Not only did he play, he ran for 92 yards, caught five passes for 46 yards and scored a touchdown.

"I don't know how many guys would have played with it, but I'm sure some other guys would have," McCoy said. "I know Brian would have. I know Duce (Staley, the former Eagle, who is now a coaching assistant) would have. This is a physical game. You're going to get hurt. You're going to get banged up every week, especially at running back. You just have to find a way to get through it."

The Eagles training staff tried to get McCoy through it by giving him all kinds of extra padding to support and protect the area where the rib was broken. It didn't exactly work.

"It was too much padding," McCoy said. "I didn't feel comfortable with all of that. I felt kind of funny. It was like I was all bulked up, it must have looked like I was about 230 (pounds). So I just took it off and left the one extra pad on, that was enough."

McCoy did not practice Wednesday, but returned Thursday. That's a day sooner than he did last week, when he showed up Sunday ready to go.

"I feel all right," he said. "I feel a lot better this week than I did last week. I'm getting through it. By the bye week (Oct. 31), I'll be fine."

NOTES: Quarterback Mike Vick (ribs), wide receiver Riley Cooper (concussion), defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley (elbow) and tackle Jason Peters (knee) did not practice. Peters has already been ruled out of Sunday's game. It's doubtful the other three will play as well.