Brains and Brawn

Posted: December 14th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 73 Comments »

We’ve talked a bit in recent days about how smart Chip Kelly is with his approach to football. That is balanced by his simple logic that big guys beat up little guys.

I used to talk to my buddy Ryan about Andy Reid. We both loved Big Red, but were also highly frustrated with him at times. One of the things I used to say was that Andy made football into too much of a chess match. X’s and O’s are fine, but at a certain point, the physicality of football has to be factored in. Did Kasparov ever grab the chess board and start hitting Bobby Fischer upside the head?

Reid forgot this side of things too quickly and too often.

Kelly doesn’t. He never strays far from the basic elements of football. He wants big players. He wants physical players. Kelly bases his offense on running the ball. I can’t be the only one who wondered what might have happened last week if Reid was the coach. I guarantee there would have been more than 22 pass attempts.

The Eagles lead the league in rushing. They are 2nd in rushing attempts. The highest finish for a Reid team in number of attempts was 5th. That happened in 2002 when Donovan McNabb got hurt and the team turned to AJ Feeley. Kelly sees that LeSean McCoy is his best offensive player. He’s feeding him the ball. Simple as that.

McCoy will set a new career high for carries in a season on Sunday when he gets his 14th carry. Then he’ll have another couple of games. McCoy has a great shot to set the Eagles single season rushing record and to lead the NFL in rushing. And there is still room for improvement.

Kelly got on McCoy for making a poor decision on his 26-yard run. Late in the run, McCoy went inside, where the pursuit was coming from. He might have gone for a 71-yard TD if he had stayed wide. Kelly will continue to work with McCoy on making some better decisions. If Shady becomes more of a downhill runner, he could post some really freaky numbers.

I love the fact that Kelly isn’t kissing his star’s butt. He’s pushing to McCoy to get even better. Don’t let good enough be good enough. Complacency is the enemy of greatness.

Bo Wulf wrote about Shady in the newest edition of Wulf’s Den. Shady’s numbers stack up pretty well with some of the greatest RBs in NFL history. Playing for Kelly for the next few years could put Shady into some freaky good company.

Because McCoy is only 25 years old, it’s odd to think of him in this kind of historical context. But the truth is that he very well may be the greatest running back in Eagles history already. Of course, where he ultimately ranks, both in Eagles history and league history, will be determined by his production over the next few seasons. Because running backs can have such volatile careers, there are no guarantees. Of the nine other running backs listed in the chart above, four got even better after year five (Brown, Peterson, Sanders and Simpson) and four saw their production, at least in yards per carry, fall off a cliff (Dickerson, Johnson, Davis and Simpson). Gore has remained steady.

That McCoy has the fewest carries through his first five seasons among the aforementioned group (though he’ll likely pass Simpson soon) probably bodes well for his future. Regardless, when you’re ooh’ing and ah’ing as McCoy breaks another tackle or 10 this Sunday, keep in mind just how rare a player McCoy is. We’re watching one of the best.

Great stuff from Bo, as always.

Kelly has a great player in McCoy. He’s willing to use him a lot and in the right way. This is one of those situations where the smart thing to do is the obvious thing. Give the football to your dynamic RB and let him run. Get some big, talented OL and let them beat up on the defense. That way the RB can do his thing.

When the Football Gods are kind enough to give you a great player, use him.

* * * * *

Go watch this video segment. Kelly breaks down the Eagles offense from last week. He does a great job of showing the running concepts and also the importance of Nick Foles on the run game. I didn’t appreciate the impact Nick had by carrying out his fakes.

* * * * *

Bo Wulf also had some funny stuff in his piece. Make sure to find out which Eagles player shops at Yankee Candle.

And then read Bo’s interview with Damion Square. Interesting.

* * * * *

I’ll post a game preview later tonight.


73 Comments on “Brains and Brawn”

  1. 1 nopain23 said at 5:50 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    Hey T
    in the off season.should the iggles back the brinks truck up to jarius bird’s house or should they re sign allen who has been solid this season?
    Also what kind of contract should they offer Allen if they opt to resign him?
    I am going on record : wolff and allen are a competent safety tandem and can only get better as they develop more chemistry.
    on another note it looks like the iggles will be picking in the lower third of the draft.hope they go best player available. it would be VERY interesting of Manziel fell to them though……..

  2. 2 P_P_K said at 6:01 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    One of the higlights of the season for me is my renewed hope that Nate can be a very good safety. If Manziel fell to the Eagles, I would hope they could make a really good deal for that pick with a team that needs a qb.

  3. 3 GEAGLE said at 7:23 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    I’m really enjoying the MOMENT, but after the job Howie has done these past two offseasons, with two different personel staffs, I’m DYING to Know who we draft and sign

  4. 4 BlindChow said at 6:51 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    I don’t think they’ll pursue Byrd. Allen and Wolff aren’t bad enough to warrant the money Byrd’s going to get on the open market.

  5. 5 ACViking said at 6:57 PM on December 14th, 2013:


    Totally agree. Spending guaranteed big money, over 4-5 years, on a 7th year safety is like paying a 32-year old pitcher $120 for 6 years guaranteed. No Ruben Amaro’s at Nova Care.

    By the way . . . can you put the Hitch music to your “CK Presents” creation?

  6. 6 GEAGLE said at 7:15 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    I wouldn’t care if they gave him a big signing bonus, and the money against the cap wasn’t that bad…but if after 3 years we can’t get out of his contract without taking a major hit, then I would be against signing him..

    If we weren’t about to go to the playoffs, I could underrstand not adding the big names, but if we are getting playoff experience THIS year, then I expect to try and really CONTEND next year, and since we are so young, I would expect to contend for the next 3 years…so If we could get him, and get Out of his contract 3 years from now, without taking a Cole type major cap hit, then i would be for it

    But the last thing I am going to do is complain about choosing NOT to add a player Chip knows so damn well. Chip knows Byrd, he will know how much he is worth, so if we chose not to add him! you won’t be hearing a peep out of me…
    TheycallmeRob: please post Cary’s comments talking about Wolff on this site when you get the chance

  7. 7 BlindChow said at 8:01 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    Well, I could put it under my creation…

  8. 8 Anders said at 9:53 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    Byrd will be 28 next year. Most elite safeties can play at an elite level to at least 32. If you sign him to a 6 year deal where the last two years are easy to get out of, I would do it

  9. 9 GEAGLE said at 7:09 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    In fairness, we really have no idea how much some team offers Nate..

    I will say this…I will be surprised if one of these 6 names aren’t eagles next year:
    Byrd man
    Ward the Gronk Slayer
    haha Dix
    Craig Loston LSU
    Joyner FSU

    We laid a really solid starting foundation where we are in an awesome position to really just take BPA because we can live with the guys we are starting today at every position….with the exception of Safety!
    Chung is a liability on so many levels
    Nate isn’t under contract, would anyone be shocked if eye takes the first ticket out of philly? Haven’t been exactly kind to him..I’d be ok with taking Nate back(props to Anders because I NEVER thought I would be saying that)..but when we have such a solid foundation and we are getting out of a contract, I think it be a wasted opportunity to not try to IMPROVE that position. I would be mad if the moment FAnstarts we announce a deal with Nate. But if they TRY to get better than Nate and have to end up settling for Nate, I would be fine with it..

    But in terms NEED, ii think there is a BIG drop off with the NEED for a safety and all the other positions, so I would be shocked if safety isn’t one of Our MAJOR investments this offseason,either expensive top 3 FA safety or drafting one in the first 3 rounds…

    But if the Eagles re sign Coop and add a really talented safety in FA, then NO Team will be in a better position than us to just draft BPA

  10. 10 Michael Jorden said at 7:13 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    I think I agree with that. My concern with safety right now is the health of Allen and Wolff. I do believe they could be an effective duo and improve even more next season, if they can stay on the field. I definitely anticipate drafting one more.

    This off-season is going to have some tough choices because both the OFF and DEF starters are playing so well together and seem to have a good chemistry. Which starters do you really let go to upgrade them with either a FA pick up or a rookie draft pick? I can see bringing in a lot of depth and rotational guys to push the starters. A year ago, I would have expected to see several starters replaced this coming off-season – my view on that has changed.

  11. 11 Insomniac said at 7:40 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    I would rather see us write a fat check for Altteraun Verner than Byrd.

  12. 12 Tom33 said at 5:50 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    So, when I went through this quickly the first time, I read the first sentence of the second paragraph as “I used to talk to Buddy Ryan about Andy Reid…”.

    Holy crap! Tommy knows Buddy???? Then I re-read it, and got it right the second time. But for a minute I was really impressed.

  13. 13 nicolajNN said at 5:52 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    Haha, I was just about to post the exact same with. Glad I wasn’t the only one who read it with a capital B first

  14. 14 P_P_K said at 5:58 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    Same here. Betcha’ Tommy knew what he was doing.

  15. 15 TommyLawlor said at 6:02 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    Unintentional. Just came out that way.

    Before posting, I did notice it. Thought about changing, but decided to leave it as is.

  16. 16 A Roy said at 6:06 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    Do you have a Bud named Grant, too?

  17. 17 Baloophi said at 6:16 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    I was talking to this guy Pearce…

    I was speaking with my pal Antonio…

    I was hanging with my peer Juan…

    Okay, you know you’re really stretching it when you’re forcing puns that add up to an import home decor retailer.

  18. 18 Charlie Kelly said at 6:18 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    my buddy the elf knows Santa… i know impressive right?

  19. 19 Andy124 said at 7:10 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    I was coming in here just to say, “I wish I had my own Buddy Ryan too”.

  20. 20 GEAGLE said at 7:20 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    Andy sorry I didn’t get back to you about where I find my awesome quotes…everything you need is on I don’t read any articles, but I watch every single video they post..

    TheycallmeRob has some awesome Cary Williams quotes talking bout Wolff, hope you got a chance to see them

  21. 21 Andy124 said at 7:26 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    That make sense.Thank you. Can’t watch those while at work of course. Will have to make it a point to watch those at home.

  22. 22 GEAGLE said at 7:31 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    MUST watch!!!

    I might sound like I read everything, but you can find everything I know on,here.phillymag,CSNphillyEagles….I literally don’t read anything else any more unless someone gives me a Link to something interesting….everyone’s quotes that you read practically come from all the videos anyway….

    When I wake up early on Sunday and can’t wait til the game to start, I just go to PE and re watch all the videos posted from the past week

  23. 23 ACViking said at 6:46 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    Re: Crazy Andy

    I never liked Reid’s exaggerated pass-first philosophy — especially after Childress left. Hated it, in fact. Put a hole in my den wall during the 2002 NFC title game against Tampa because he wouldn’t run the ball. Put a chair leg through the same wall in the Carolina game in 2003.

    But in saying that feeding McCoy the ball because he’s the best player is smart football, I think it’s fair to ask who was Reid’s best offensive player for the 2000-05 seasons?

    I think it was McNabb — at least until Marty showed up. Reid made the right decision to let McNabb be the centerpiece of his offense.

    Should he have run more? Yes. Would Reid have gotten to a 6th NFC title game if he did? Doubtful. Another SB? Maybe.

    But the point, obviously, is Reid — doing things the Reid way — took the Eagles to the NFC Divisional Round after one season. And the NFL title game after 2 seasons.

    And Reid didn’t have a McCoy at RB in 2000 and 2001. He had Duce Staley — who missed most of 2000. Duce was solid but not remotely in the same class as McCoy. Reid didn’t have D-Jackson and Cooper at WR in 2000 or 2001. He had Small and Johnson, and Thrash and Pinkston.

    I like that Kelly runs the ball. I also like that he finally got around to putting Nick Foles in at QB. (Maybe Kelly would like the QB decision back.)

    But I’m not ready to forget Andy Reid’s playoff numbers, regardless of the NFC title-game heartbreaks.

    Reid posted numbers that no one but Belicheck exceeded in the ’00s.

    Kelly, as brainy as he seems to be, is a long way from what Reid accomplished.

    I don’t think T-Lawlor was suggesting anything to the contrary.

    But, speaking of the greatest Eagles, I thought a reminder that Kelly’s a long way from topping Reid — who constantly put the ball in the hands of *his* best player — was worth saying.

  24. 24 Michael Jorden said at 7:00 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    You certainly can’t discount Andy. He may have had some frustrating quirks, but he is a very successful, complex winning coach. I find Kelly to be very refreshing and we’ll see if he becomes as successful – I think he shows the right stuff, but much like Nick it will have to remain to be seen.

    Also, I take it guests in your house don’t sit between you and the wall =)

  25. 25 ACViking said at 7:02 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    Not during Eagles’ games.

  26. 26 jshort said at 8:27 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    Are you saying, you need a 5gal bucket of joint compound for Christmas. 🙂

  27. 27 shah8 said at 7:25 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    Reid is more serious about having a rushing component to his QB’s overall production than many other coaches.

  28. 28 ACViking said at 7:31 PM on December 14th, 2013:


    Would you elaborate? Just want to be sure I understand.

  29. 29 shah8 said at 7:53 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    Judging by what QB he tends to aquire, from McNabb to A. Smith.

    Also, it seems that there is more of a bail option in his playcalling–dumpoffs don’t tend to be used. Not anything like what Jim Mora Jr. did, but not much of a hot route option guy, not much of a dumpoff option guy.

    Not really sure because I don’t really remember the first half of the 2ks.

  30. 30 BlindChow said at 7:56 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    Alex Smith is the king of dumpoffs.

  31. 31 ACViking said at 8:01 PM on December 14th, 2013:


  32. 32 mheil said at 7:31 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    Reid won early for several reasons-banner yrs ahead of compitition in handling cap; great staff including JJ, Harbaugh and many more; weak NFCE; bad coaches in division; McNabb. Eagles were able to overcome Reid’s lousy coaching against weaker teams with poor coaching and front offices. If they needed the HC to step up against a good opponent, they would almost always lose. Reid won a lot of games but he was a mediocre coach.

  33. 33 ACViking said at 7:48 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    “. . . he was a mediocre coach.”

    Maybe a mediocre *game day* coach. But I don’t know that a mediocre coach drags a team as racked by injuries as the 2003 Eagles to the NFC title game.

    I think Reid was strong-willed. Willful, in fact.

    But his players loved him. He was a creative schemer. Then time came to say good bye.

    Can’t sign on to the mediocre tag, though. And I was never a big fan of the Fat Man.

  34. 34 shah8 said at 7:55 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    I miss Denny Green. Has his flaws, and some people never forgave him for having them, but the kind of coaches the Vikings have had since…

    Good coaches are good coaches. No need to use the flamethrower on them when they’re having a bad day, or doing the same thing they’ve always done.

  35. 35 ACViking said at 8:00 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    Why did DG get cut loose in MN?

    He had some great years. And was 1 Gary Anderson FG from what could have a really great SB

  36. 36 D3FB said at 8:51 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    I could be wrong as I was pretty young, and despite living in the state wasn’t a big Vikings fan, but from what I can recall green changed fans expectations to the point that he was no longer able to meet them. The fans were really bitter about the Championship game loss. Vikings and Bills fans are probably the two other fan bases that we can relate to as far as praying we get to see our team win it all just once before we kick the bucket. The owner at the time was also kind of a jackass.

  37. 37 ACViking said at 11:34 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    That is a great explanation. So similar to Reid.

  38. 38 mheil said at 9:00 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    He never assembled a complete team because he was willful, as you said. They always had some major flaw, be it WR on O, LB on D or returners on ST. They won with superior talent and great assistants against weaker teams despite Reid, not because of Reid. He protected his players so I agree that they loved him. When he lost his great initial staff, banner lost his initial advantage and McNabb got old and injured, Reid couldn’t win.

  39. 39 ACViking said at 7:52 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    By the way, talk about weaker teams . . . the Eagles’ schedule this year’s hardly been a death march.

  40. 40 cliff henny said at 10:47 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    watched the those games alone with my dog, thought about it, except he was 90 lb german shepherd who took no crap…man, those games sucked

  41. 41 Daniel Norman Richwine said at 6:57 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    Fischer never played Kasperov ya mook
    just kidding. great analogy, actually. Hits the nail on the head. One angel that I’d like you to write about is how Chip seems to look at his players as needing to be trained. It seems coaches show the players what to do, and expect them to execute, withtut the requisite training methods you would expect in things like the Navy Seals. I wonder if the Sport Science goes.beyong smoothies and to concepts of how much repition is required for a team to execute without thought…

  42. 42 OregonDucker said at 9:57 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    Yep, he trains ’em like Navy Seals. As you may know, a Seal team mocks up the high priority mission then repeats the attack over and over again. The Bin Laden takedown training took a lot of reps.

  43. 43 cliff henny said at 10:44 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    well, if chung’s a seal, he needs to learn friendly fire rule. agree though, love to understand more about kelly’s mental rep/toughness. feel like eagles are 1000 fold better already in that. belicheck certainly seems like a master in this.

  44. 44 GEAGLE said at 8:06 AM on December 15th, 2013:

    Ha I LOLed….friendly fire Chunger hahahaha

  45. 45 GEAGLE said at 6:57 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    What’s up brothers in green? Everyone getting ready for the 2013 “boots to ASSES bowl”???

    We lose this game under Andy!
    Under Chip! this will be the game the team really takes on the personality of it’s coach? Let down game? More like a stat padding, BCS type of STOMPING! Take that to the bank!!!

  46. 46 ACViking said at 6:58 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    Dove sei stato nascosto?

  47. 47 GEAGLE said at 7:18 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    Settimana difficile per me…Mio gato a portato pulci a casa…been dealing with a flea infestation, it’s destroying my damn life…change the subject before I cry lol

  48. 48 ACViking said at 7:25 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    Ci torneremo a discutere le aquile

  49. 49 GEAGLE said at 7:32 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    Hahaha yes please. My week has been a disaster!mi need birds talk/game as a distraction…I can’t believe just how much a tiny insect is making my life hell

  50. 50 ACViking said at 7:33 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    Will do. Until otherwise instructed.

  51. 51 GEAGLE said at 7:37 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    Hahahah cuanti punti segniano Su la Nostra diffesa forte domani?


  52. 52 ACViking said at 7:41 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    I’d like to see more from the offense. Via the rain man.

    But I think you’re a right on w/ the defense. Molto forte, molto forte

  53. 53 GEAGLE said at 7:43 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    Lol like to see Barkley/Vick get some work

    Or, us working on killing the clock with run game in the 4th because we have a monster lead….but make no mistake, I’m not opposed to seeing us put 50 on the board….either way, the emperor will strike back!!!

  54. 54 ACViking said at 7:45 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    I love it, I love it!

  55. 55 eagleyankfan said at 7:30 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    Good to see you Geagle. This will be stomping. If you take each week, game by game, there shouldn’t be a let down. McCoy AND Polk score again.

  56. 56 GEAGLE said at 7:34 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    I rant and rave about how this team exhibits all the signs of a well coached team…if what I say is true, there is NO letdowns during crunch time, and I simply don’t think our opponents have enough horses to overcome us being a more disciplined better coached team!!!

  57. 57 ACViking said at 7:44 PM on December 14th, 2013:


    That’s the NFL formula. And why QB may be so important in games between closely matched teams.

  58. 58 cliff henny said at 10:34 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    your lips lips to midnight green jesus ears. long as defense shows energ early, i’ll be cofident. why i like running teams, it brings that attitude needed to win on the road and foles can light up vikes secondary if shady is shown early

  59. 59 GEAGLE said at 8:05 AM on December 15th, 2013:

    Road warriors cliff!!!

  60. 60 mtn_green said at 1:47 AM on December 15th, 2013:

    Disagree have you seen Andy Reid’s record in December? It is ridiculous. These let down games people talk of were probably before the bye.

  61. 61 ACViking said at 7:15 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    Watching former Oregon QB heir-apparent Bryan Bennett (lost out to Mariota) — in the Div IAA playoffs.

    Bennett playing for SE Louisiana against N.H. in the pistol. Good arm. Very mobile. And pretty good size.

  62. 62 Weapon Y said at 7:53 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    Might enter camp next year in a role similar to Dennis Dixon. Could push Barkley for a roster spot.

  63. 63 ACViking said at 8:12 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    Bennett still has a year of eligibility, apparently.

    This QB class has slowly shrunk. If TB stays at Louisville, the draft may be like 2013 — w/ no 1st Rd QB.

  64. 64 cliff henny said at 10:29 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    yup, 7 months ago i would have sold my soul for top 3 pick.

  65. 65 Insomniac said at 7:17 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    Interesting article written by amateur scouts.

    I couldn’t agree more with this guy on Mike Evans.

  66. 66 ICDogg said at 8:16 PM on December 14th, 2013:

  67. 67 cliff henny said at 10:19 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    speaking of little d, scandrick got 2 yr extension in ’17 and ’18 for 4.5m each. lowers his cap number a little, but just seriously kicking the can down the crappy cap line. not a terribly player, but it’s all guarenteed. man, i love how eagles manage cap

  68. 68 SteveH said at 11:25 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    Cowboys fans be like:

  69. 69 cliff henny said at 10:27 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    we might look back in 3-5yrs and thank Reid for under-utilizing shady. scary part is, 3/5 of the line was coming off major injuries, 1/5 was raw as raw can be. a healthy ’14 might have shady in ledengdary numbers.

  70. 70 GEAGLE said at 8:04 AM on December 15th, 2013:

    Nice point…shady won’t be underutilized anymore that’s for sure..

    If our line stays healthy shady will have a 300yard game next year

  71. 71 SteveH said at 11:20 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    “Did Kasparov ever grab the chess board and start hitting Bobby Fischer upside the head?”

    I feel like this is a trick question somehow.

  72. 72 jshort said at 11:40 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    Where is Bobby Fisher?

  73. 73 Westpaceagle said at 11:57 PM on December 14th, 2013:

    “I used to talk to my (buddy Ryan) about Andy Reid”
    Did a double take on that one