LeSean McCoy says he can now tell when Chip Kelly is pissed off at him and when his head coach is pleased with him.
The Eagles’ running back talked to NFL Network’s Rich Eisen about what he’s learned about Kelly in the last year and a half. Asked specifically what pisses Kelly off the most, McCoy had an answer ready.
“Well, I can speak for myself, not running in the correct hole gets him very angry,” McCoy said.
“The cool thing about Chip is he has such a great personality where he actually wants the best for the player, and there’s times where we have these talks, and everything is to help the player out. And sometimes during the games we get into it because I might see something my way and the play should be going a certain way. And that’s just kind of teaching me to play within the system and then after that, letting your natural instincts go. And that’s something that he helps me out with to be a better player.”
The relationship between Kelly and McCoy has been a fascinating one to observe. When it comes to running the football, Kelly is a perfectionist. That was never more clear than on Dec. 9. A day earlier, McCoy had carried 29 times for 217 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Lions. While everyone else was slipping and sliding on the snow, McCoy played like he was cutting and running on a dry turf.
Kelly praised McCoy during his press conference the next day, but also offered this.
“There were plays that LeSean made… LeSean made one big run. He could have had a 70‑yard run,” Kelly said. “He cut back to it and got tackled by [Ndamukong] Suh and the defensive linemen. If he had broken to his left, he might have had another one. Those are things we’re continuing to work on.”
Earlier in the season, with the Eagles trying to run the clock out against the Bucs, McCoy and Kelly exchanged words on the sideline. According to an Inquirer report, Kelly thought McCoy could have hit the hole and picked up additional yards on a play late in the game. After watching the film and realizing there was no hole, the head coach reportedly apologized to the running back in front of the team.
Clearly, Kelly sees McCoy’s talent and is determined to maximize it. By all accounts, McCoy appreciates being pushed. While everyone else is patting him on the back, Kelly is trying to get him to do more. That’s the way the relationship seems to work. And based on how things turned out in 2013, there’s no reason to change the setup going forward.