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Bills RB LeSean McCoy sees value in finishing strong

LeSean McCoy’s not ready to pack it in.

Even though the playoffs are no longer a possibility, the Buffalo Bills’ running back is still eager to get on the field in the final two weeks, starting Sunday in New England.

“I want to. I want to get out there and get it going a little bit,” McCoy said Thursday after practice. “I need some more yards. But no, it'll be fun to get back out there with my teammates, finish the season strong.”

McCoy, who was a full practice participant Thursday, said he feels good after sitting out last week’s win over Detroit because of a hamstring injury.

“I’ll be out there,” he said of playing the Patriots. “Any time you go out there and compete, you want to do your best. I think everything means a lot to me, my teammates.”

McCoy’s 2018 season to this point has been, in a word, miserable. He has just 479 rushing yards and an average of 3.3 yards per carry, easily the worst of his 10-year career. His two rushing touchdowns matches his lowest output since 2012. That year, though, McCoy had three receiving touchdowns. He does not have any of those this year.

Asked Thursday what’s gone wrong, McCoy was in no mood for reflection.

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“That doesn't matter. At this point, that's irrelevant,” he said. “We'll get it better. We'll get it going.”

The Bills have gone through a decided youth movement recently, but McCoy bristled at the idea that could cut into his carries.

“I'm out, man,” he said after being asked if he would be the “featured back” against New England. “Yo, this dude. … Am I the featured back? What am I, going to come off the bench? We'll see. I don't know. We'll see.”

Both McCoy and the Bills would benefit from a productive final two weeks. General Manager Brandon Beane said earlier this season that McCoy is a part of the plans for 2019, but things can change in the long NFL offseason. If that remains the case, it would be beneficial to see McCoy sustain some success, something that has not happened this season.

“It's certainly a piece of our offense that you need, that you have to establish whether it's the end of the season or the beginning of the season,” coach Sean McDermott said. “It's an important part of the offense.”

McDermott has been asked several times this season where he thinks McCoy is mentally during what has been such a trying season.

“I think he's in a decent spot,” the coach said Thursday. “Obviously when you're having a year where you're banging out 1,000 yards or so, certainly you're in better spirits than when you're not. This is an adjustment for him.

“That's what the great players do, they adjust as their careers change a little bit. As you get a little bit older, you've got to make adjustments.”

The Bills could be getting a pair of running backs back in the lineup against the Patriots. Backup Chris Ivory practiced fully Thursday. Like McCoy, he missed last week’s game against the Lions because of a shoulder injury that McDermott said is “probably not totally going to heal up until we get to the offseason.”

Undrafted rookie Keith Ford ended last week as the team’s only healthy running back.

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All of the eight players listed as limited during Wednesday’s practice were upgraded to full participation Thursday. That includes McCoy and Ivory, as well as fullback Patrick DiMarco (ankle), kicker Stephen Hauschka (hip), wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie (ankle), defensive end Trent Murphy (chest), tight end Logan Thomas (hamstring) and linebacker Corey Thompson (ankle).

Defensive tackle Kyle Williams (back) and cornerback Ryan Lewis (concussion) were limited participants Thursday after sitting out Wednesday. Lewis remains in the NFL’s concussion protocol.

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New wide receiver Victor Bolden said he’s approaching the final two weeks of the season as a “12-day job interview,” after being signed off San Francisco’s practice squad this week.

"That’s how I’m approaching it — every day is the biggest interview of my life,” Bolden said. “I've just got to go out here and compete. I've been given the opportunity to show what I can do, so nothing but grateful to the Bills for giving me that chance.”

Bolden set the Oregon State program record for career kickoff return yards with 2,420. The Bills have yet to find the right answer at both kick and punt returner.

"In the short amount of time I’ve been around the young man and then what I’ve seen on tape, I like,” McDermott said. “He seems like an energetic young man with juice and a competitive fire that jumps out to me on tape. We’ll just get a feel for him … and see where we go from there.”

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Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier was included on the Fritz Pollard Alliance’s annual list of head-coaching candidates. Frazier was one of nine coaches to be included by the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which promotes diversity and equality in the coaching, front office, and scouting staffs of NFL teams.

"I think he should be considered, I really do,” McDermott said of Frazier getting a shot at once again becoming a head coach. “It's a great honor to be considered in any capacity, in particular with the Fritz-Pollard honor. He's been a head coach before. I think he's a good coach and he's done a nice job with the defense.”

Former Bills General Manager Doug Whaley was one of 12 named as GM candidates.

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