Westbrook Reacts To McCoy Trade
Brian Westbrook said his initial reaction was surprise when he found out that LeSean McCoy had been dealt to Buffalo, but then, after going over some of the conversations he had and whispers he heard within the NFL’s inner-circle, he concluded that it really wasn’t much of a surprise at all.
Westbrook — a longtime mentor of McCoy — arrived at the same thought that Todd Herremans floated just a few days before: when it comes to skill position players, Chip Kelly believes the system will take care of it.
“I think Chip Kelly, the way he views things – especially on the offensive side of the ball – is that he can almost plug-and-play. He can plug-and-play anybody, and as long as his offense is doing what he wants it to do, it will work,” said Westbrook in a phone conversation with Birds 24/7.
The DeSean Jackson move last offseason “put LeSean on notice”, Westbrook said. It was at that moment he realized that he and his rather large salary could be following the receiver out the door in a moment’s notice. Jackson, though, was not looked at as a scheme and culture fit, whereas any clash between McCoy and Kelly was less obvious. Westbrook described the relationship between Kelly and McCoy as “decent”.
“I think he questioned some things,” said Westbrook of McCoy. “I don’t think he was a jump-out-of-line type of guy. I think quiet whispering probably is a better way to describe him. He didn’t like everything that was going on, but he also saw the production.
“It did take some time for guys to get used to this Chip Kelly thing,” Westbrook added. “And I don’t know how comfortable LeSean was with the whole Chip Kelly thing even though he did buy into the system. I don’t know how much he liked it but he did buy in, and that’s a credit to him. And he flourished in it.”
McCoy racked up nearly 3,000 yards in two years under Kelly, establishing himself as one of the top backs in the game. That production has now been removed from the equation, just like Jackson’s was this time last year. What kind of effect does that have in the locker room?
“I think that everybody has bought into the victories, but I don’t know that everybody has bought into his [methods],” said Westbrook. “And I think these are the type of moves that force players – especially those that are students of the game on and off the field – to start looking around and say, ‘OK, I’ve got this big contract, I’m just as dispensable as DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy, and I may not be on their level as a player.’
“If I’m a wide receiver, if I’m Jeremy Maclin, and I’m going to get this big-time contract from the Eagles, then at this point after the first couple years if I get that salary up to eight, nine, ten million dollars, I wonder if I’ll be sent out on the first thing smoking. So my longevity now is in question.
“The truth is I think guys will question whether they want to come to Philadelphia because of that.”
Westbrook understands the vision, though. He believes Kelly is trying to build this team in the New England mold, which isn’t typically rich at the receiver and running back position. (Though they do have a pretty good quarterback.)
“Who’s to say this won’t work?” he said.
As for McCoy, Westbrook believes he has a good amount left in the tank and will be carrying a pretty big chip into Buffalo.
“I think it’s going to motivate him to work even harder, and I think he’s going to have an awesome year again this year.”