Last year’s rookie in Minnesota was an absolute terror during the season’s second half. A high-strider at 6-2, he reminds Vikings fans a little bit of Randy Moss in that he’s fast but also possesses some breathtaking juke moves.
Ask Ravens safety Matt Elam what happens when you come face to face with this dynamo in the open field. He had that opportunity during Baltimore’s Week 14 matchup with the Vikings last year. The play ended with Patterson in the end zone and Elam flat on his face.
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When McCoy starts coming at you with those fire feet, salute the SportsCenter gods with a prayer or two because the chances you end up like this guy are pretty high. McCoy’s shake moves might be somewhat limited in the sense that he doesn’t really spin or do any of the crazy stuff that made Barry Sanders so scary. But that’s because he doesn’t have to. His pivots and cuts are so ridiculous quick, and the way he leans and flows on his runs is so convincing, that defenders are constantly flailing like Teyana Taylor out there.
The guy who taunts defenders with “McCoy” shouts after each missed tackle led the entire NFL with 2,146 yards from scrimmage last year and is gaining on AP as the best back in the game.
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A long-distance touchdown is probably the most exciting play in football and adding a few juke moves to it only takes it to another level. As a defender, catching yourself in a one-on-one situation, with a sprinting ball carrier coming at you, will have you wishing you paid a little more attention to those summer tackling drills. The best always make you pay. It started with Walter Payton. It was brought to the mainstream by Barry Sanders. And it was perfected by Mike Tomlin.
Nowadays, with so many split backfields and shakedown specialists, defenders have to really be on their game. One week they have to be ready to bring down Adrian Peterson, the next, they’ll be trying to slow up C.J. Spiller. In the end, it often doesn’t matter — some offensive players are just too good. The best the defenders can hope for is to stay off the highlight reel.
With training camps in full swing and the season almost here, check out how a few of the NFL’s most shiftiest players do it.
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