At the end of last week’s win over the Bucs, TV cameras showed Chip Kelly and LeSean McCoy having a somewhat animated conversation on the sideline.
The Eagles had just put together an 11-play drive (all runs) and killed 5:29 off the clock before settling for a field goal. McCoy was dropped for a 4-yard loss on second down and then picked up 8 on 3rd-and-12. He was asked what the conversation with Kelly was about.
“He has a player mentality, a kind of attitude where he’s fired up,” McCoy said. “Sometimes he’s talking to me like he’s out there running. We talk, and he challenged me to do different things. I like that. I like a [coach] that challenges some of his top players, where most coaches probably let their guys go. Where there’s a play, he thinks I can make it, if there’s a block he thinks I should pick up, he’ll let me know. Or a tough situation, 3rd-and-9, 3rd-and-10, he’ll run the ball. So he gives me a different approach, I think, than other coaches cause he wants me to be great. Sometimes he’ll ask me: ‘How great do you want to be?’ and things like that. So I like it.”
Kelly wasn’t as forthcoming. Asked what they were talking about, he said with a slight grin: “Just life in general.”
Regardless, Kelly’s methods are clearly working. McCoy is on pace for 1,680 yards, which would shatter his previous career high of 1,309 yards in 2011. He leads the NFL with 630 rushing yards and is averaging 20.5 carries per game, second in the league.
But Kelly is impressed by more than just McCoy’s ability as a runner.
“The one thing I’ve been really impressed with LeSean is that he’s a complete running back,” Kelly said. “I think you look at him in blitz pickup, and some things that go a little bit unnoticed, he did a couple times, the Giants brought a couple blitzes and just he stepped up and stoned the linebacker in the hole.
“His ability right now as a receiver coming out of the backfield, if people are going to play man coverage, somebody has to cover your running back. And he’s a guy that we can create some mismatches with with some linebackers in this league.”
McCoy averaged just 6.9 yards per reception in 2012. This year? That number has skyrocketed to 16.1. He has four catches of 20+ yards. That’s as many as he had all of last season.
Kelly is finding different ways to use McCoy and is in his ear during games, intent on getting the most out of his talented running back.
“We talk so much of different plays or I thought I could have done something different or I thought maybe a better call, we should have done this or that,” McCoy said. “So we talk all the time. It’s never a negative thing. We never had a problem with each other. I love Coach Kelly. I’m so happy he’s here.”
WHAT YOU MISSED
Speaking of McCoy, great All-22 post by T-Mac discussing last week’s screen with Brian Westbrook.
During a joint press conference, Michael Vick announced Nick Foles will start this week.
From Fletcher Cox to Bradley Fletcher to the four-down nickel look, here are three leftovers on the Eagles’ defense.
There is money on the line for Vick if Foles ends up taking the starting job.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Greg A. Bedard of TheMMQB.com takes note of Cox’s performance vs. Tampa:
Most of Fletcher Cox’s first 20 games since being drafted by the Eagles in the first round two years ago have been a mixed bag, with a couple flashes here and some underwhelming play there. It didn’t help that as soon as the 6-4, 300-pound tackle finally got the hang of the Eagles’ 4-3 scheme, the coaching staff was fired. In came a new 3-4 scheme under coordinator Bill Davis, and a new two-down position as a 3-4 end.
But judging by the early results, Cox’s learning curve is getting less steep.
Paul Domowtich of the Daily News will be keeping an eye on special teams this weekend:
Cowboys return man Dwayne Harris leads the league in punt (23.6) and kickoff returns (34.7). Last week v. the Redskins, he had an 86-yard punt return for a touchdown and a 90-yard kickoff return. The Eagles got an up-close-and-personal look at what he can do last year when he had a 78-yard punt return for a TD against them.
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