By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – One of the most frustrating things about the last couple of years of the Andy Reid regime in Philadelphia was the use, or underuse, of running back LeSean McCoy. Considered by most to be one of the premier running backs in the NFL, McCoy was often times ignored in favor of a more pass-happy offense.
To say that wasn’t the case in the first game with Chip Kelly as head coach would be an understatement.
McCoy ran the ball 31 times for over 180 yards and a touchdown. McCoy ran the ball so much, he even seemed to get tired in the second half. No one wants to see their star player struggling, but there was something enjoyable about using McCoy so much he was actually tired, and not itching to get the ball even more.
“I got to tell you man, a lot of the credit goes to Chip [Kelly]. He’s a genius,” McCoy said on 94WIP’s Players Lounge show on Tuesday. “He seems to call the right calls at the right time. I think it’s a guessing game. You get a play, it might be a 2nd and 5, 2nd and 4, and it’s to have that next call on deck, ready to go. It’s a difference, because like I said, before you really can prepare or get the calls in to kind of stop the pace or stop the offense. So it’s a matter of calling up the right plays at the right time, and honestly last night [Monday night] he made them calls.”
Keeping the opposition guessing is a trademark of Kelly’s offense, even more so than running the ball, the read-option, or the speed at which the offense operates. The central theory of Kelly’s approach is to make sure the defense is unsure of what he’s going to run, and where he’s going to run it. By having to cover everything, the defense leaves space and gaps for the offense to operate, which is exactly what happened for most of the first half of Monday night’s game.
“The rest of the season we’ll probably do it a little different as far as myself and Bryce Brown, you know Chris Polk, mix it up a little bit, because it’s a long season. I don’t think I should get the ball 31 times every game. It’s a long season,” McCoy said. “Me and coach [Kelly] have talked about it and he was saying, ‘Sometimes, hey come out and come get a break. We got a long season.'”
A long season that certainly started off on the right foot, especially for McCoy.