Tafoya's Notebook: Week 16 - NBC Sports

Tafoya's Notebook: Week 16
December 23, 2013, 5:30 pm


Week 16 -- Eagles crush Bears, 54-11

Michele Tafoya






The return of 7x Pro Bowl LB Lance Briggs to the Bears' starting lineup did little to help Chicago's 32nd ranked run defense in Philadelphia on Sunday Night.


The Eagles piled up 289 yards rushing, including 133 by LeSean McCoy, who ran for two touchdowns along the way.


Eagles veteran LG Todd Herremans told me McCoy is maturing as a back every year. 


"Specifically," Herremans said, "what I'm seeing this year is instead of relying on himself to shake defenders, you can actually see him setting up blocks and allowing his linemen to get in position then making a cut off that.  That I think has helped him leaps and bounds."


It's clear Herremans and the Philly offensive line enjoy blocking for "Shady."


"He's special," Herremans continued.  "He can do a lot of things on his own.  We've seen that in the past.  But I think this season he's worked very well with the offensive line and tight ends."





Herremans, McCoy and company say they feel fresh as they head into the final week of the regular season.


"I've never felt as fresh this late in the season as I do right now," Herremans told me.


The nine year vet credits the health of the offensive line to a little bit of luck and Chip Kelly's sports science.  He said Kelly constantly reminds players to get their sleep and rest their bodies -- and that the system gives them numerous ways to do that.





Herremans played eight seasons for Andy Reid and clearly has great respect for his former coach.


When asked to compare Reid to Kelly, Herremans said, "He's more of an old school coach who says, 'Do this because it's the way it's been done and because I told you to do it.'"


In contrast Herremans said Kelly's approach is more like, "Hey -- this is what we want you to do and here's WHY we want you to do it."


"As a player," the guard said, "that's a little easier to go along with because you understand and think, 'that makes sense.'"





Bears offensive lineman Kyle Long played just one season for Chip Kelly at Oregon, but his former head coach made a lasting impression.


What Long appreciated during his season with Kelly was the coach's consistency.  "Every Monday was the same.  Every Tuesday was the same.  And every week was the same," Long told me. "In terms of X's and O's, I'm happy (in Chicago).  But I miss seeing the guy (Kelly) every day who is on a mission every day."


Long calls Kelly "passionate" and a great motivator who would use "real world examples to get you motivated to reach your greatness." 




"He would have a room full of 18-21 year-olds just before they are going out to play.  And he would show them all-time great sports performances.   Or video of a SEAL team unit.  He would tell us, 'We're a team.  Here's how were gonna achieve our goals.'"


One of the goals for Long was to resurrect a career that had been derailed by substance abuse.  Kelly made a difference there, too.


"Chip opened the arms of his program to me," Long told me.  "There were not a lot of college coaches at that time who were willing to do that for a guy with a troubled past.  He allowed me to hit the reset switch and rewrite my own story at Oregon.  And He put me in touch with the right kind of people." 


Including Chris Herron -- the former Boston Celtic who threw away his career for drugs and alcohol -- someone Long still leans on.



NBC Sports
Channel Finder