We've figured out by now that Eagles head coach Chip Kelly is a guy who likes to let his work speak for him, but in Seth Wickersham's feature, for which Kelly declined to talk, we get details of how far Kelly's influence seeps into his players' minds.
The feature focuses on one Eagle in particular: LeSean McCoy. The running back was hesitant at first, but seeing the results—McCoy finished last season with a league-high 1,607 rushing yards, 268 more than Matt Forte in second place—he has fully bought in. Kelly preaches a maintained, well-rested body, and monitors the conditions of those bodies, down to the details of pee.
Nobody has ever run a team quite the way Chip Kelly runs one. And McCoy is about to learn what it means to live and work in Kelly's new system. During practice, players wear mandated heart monitors and GPS devices. Trainers carry water bottles labeled with each player's name and after practice ask the players to pee into a cup, part of Kelly's plan to track hydration. A monitor on a wall in the facility ranks the most hydrated players. Drinking water is now a drinking game.
Kelly also wants the players to wear special bracelets that monitor sleep. He tells them that elite athletes need between 10 and 12 hours a night — almost twice McCoy's usual doze. The bracelet is hooked up to an adapter that lies near McCoy's bed, beeping and whirring all night, disrupting what it's supposed to record.
Back before training camp started, McCoy's trainer Trey Williams would serve as a reminder of Kelly's method, though the Eagle's aware of he has to do, and not do. McCoy's so determined to report to training camp at 208 lb., he limits himself completely from booze at his birthday party, though it takes pushback to sneak a bite of cake.
McCoy walks to the cake, which is topped by a football. The crowd sings, and before McCoy blows out the candles, a man with a microphone says, "Gotta think of something good," something that "ends in a parade!"
McCoy exhales, then looks to Williams and mouths, "Can I have a piece?"
"No," Williams says. "Two-oh-eight."
Someone hands McCoy a slice so thick it's falling off the plate. Williams shakes his head. McCoy smiles deviously. Williams shakes his head again. McCoy takes a bite, but just a small one.
Sure, the players might be putting in a little more time under Kelly than other NFL coaches, but buying in becomes less difficult when the results are successful.