Wake-Up Call: Herremans Regaining Form

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Moments after setting a franchise record for rushing yards in a single game, LeSean McCoy turned the attention directly towards his offensive line.

“I mean the guys up front just gave me opportunities one-on-one, blowing those guys off the ball,” he said. “I think everybody is so intimidated and scared of their guys up front on Detroit, but I think the big guys on my team took a challenge and stepped up.”

Tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley are the strength of the Lions’ defense. The onus fell on interior linemen Jason Kelce, Evan Mathis and Todd Herremans to try and keep them under control. They not only did that, but dominated down the stretch to blast open some holes for McCoy to prance through.

Herremans in particular stood out for his handling of Suh.

On his 40-yard touchdown run early in the fourth, McCoy chose to run between Lane Johnson and Herremans, who is escorting Suh out of the picture.

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The seas part, and McCoy takes off.

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Johnson started out on Suh but, with Herremans demonstrating control, was able to peel off and eliminate linebacker Stephen Tulloch (55) from the picture. It was a similar deal on McCoy’s 57-yard TD run later in the quarter.

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“He’s really done a great job as far as our backside blocks,” said Johnson. “I know he made a bunch of holes for Shady, coming off on Suh, that allows me to get to the next level. Todd does a great job. I think people underestimate him, but he’s a really good player.”

McCoy finds some daylight between Herremans and Jason Kelce.

The result?

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The Shady Dance and a little snow angel action.

Herremans had his share of struggles early in the season, particularly against the Chiefs when he was charged with five quarterback hurries. Some of that was related to his ongoing recovery from a major foot injury last season.

“I never really had any problems with how it felt earlier in the year — I think maybe the strength in my leg wasn’t quite there,” said Herremans. “Each week it’s progressing and getting better. I think a lot of that has to do with the in-season lifting we’re doing where we’re not trying to just maintain but we’re also getting stronger as we go…

“Change of direction; anchoring was one of the bigger things earlier in the year. It’s coming along. It’s good to have it back.”

The Eagles have the top rushing offense in the league (159 yards per game) and are second in rushing plays of 20-plus yards (16) through 13 games. McCoy, the NFL’s leading rusher, is finding success running to the right, averaging 5.2 yards per carry behind Johnson and Herremans.

“I think Todd, ever since maybe the third or fourth game, has really played great,” said Kelce.

WHAT YOU MISSED

Nick Foles, who has a  146.9 quarterback rating in road games this season, preps for his visit to the dome.

Eagles are getting stronger, Jon Dorenbos tricked UTEP into giving him a scholarship and more in the latest Inside Voices. 

Sheil uses the All-22 to explain how Chip Kelly has adjusted the offense to better suit Foles.

Jason Peters is coming on strong.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

ESPN.com Vikings blogger Ben Goessling discusses whether running back Toby Gerhart can keep the offense going in Adrian Peterson sits out.

It depends on his health. He’s dealing with a hamstring issue of his own, so if Peterson does indeed miss the game because of his sprained foot, Gerhart might not be able to handle the same kind of workload as Peterson. He’s only got two games of 20-plus carries in the NFL, but then again, as Kelly said, he’s certainly built to take a pounding. He’s a stout, physical back who runs well between the tackles and does a solid job picking up blitzes. Plus, he’s not exactly afraid to embrace the idea that he’s auditioning for other teams before he hits free agency in March. He certainly isn’t going to be a featured back in Minnesota behind Peterson, and while I’m sure the Vikings would like to keep him, he might find better opportunities elsewhere.

Minnesota is showing respect for McCoy. Zach Berman with more.

Each week, opposing coaches speak to Philadelphia-area reporters about the Eagles and almost all of them identify McCoy as the key to the team’s offense.

“His change of direction is probably second to none,” Vikings defensive end Jared Allen said Wednesday. “His ability to turn a nothing play into something, it’s really special. The kind of year he’s having is one of those years he probably wishes will never end.”

COMING UP

We’ll roll out our predictions for Sunday’s game in Minnesota.

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