The following item is excerpted from the latest edition of Albert Breer's exclusive Inside the NFL Notebook:
Count me as a believer that Chip Kelly will get it done in his second go-around, with the San Francisco 49ers, because he's one of the most intelligent and pragmatic people I've been around. But there's one caveat that's an absolute when it comes to all this: He needs to sell his program better and the resulting buy-in needs to be much better.
Consider this, from a discussion I had with Shady McCoy (yes, the same guy who purportedly can't stand Chip now) back in December 2013 on sports science: "It's the small things you don't think about: the nutrition, the sleep, the way we train. Coach Kelly, maybe a guy in the front is working so hard, and it's the guy in the back who may be putting out more of a workload. It's him knowing everybody individually, how hard they're working. It's, 'Hey, McCoy, I might cut you back a little today, because your workload has been amazing.' It's things like that, monitoring everything. ... I'm probably at my best weight since I've been in the league, staying around that 210-to-213 range, never up, never down. It's the way we train, staying strong. It's not lifting to get bigger or extra strong -- it's maintaining, to get through a long season."
And on his fit in Chip's offense, Shady added, "He gives me the ability to be myself, to run where I want to run at, and he gives me the ball enough. ... This offense is built around the back."
Somewhere along the line, thereafter, Kelly lost that kind of buy-in from McCoy and other players. And part of that is just this generation, which is different than previous generations. Word around the campfire is that Kelly could've done more to explain to guys why they were doing what they were doing, and to use guys like McCoy (when he was getting results) as salesmen. In other words, his methods were sound, but needed to be made more relatable.
So I went to Trev Moawad, a mental conditioning coach who works at Alabama and Florida State and with pros like Russell Wilson, to see how that gets done with sports science at places like 'Bama and FSU: "They can't be gimmicks. Players see right through that. Implementation is everything. It starts at the top and the execution is everything. Your subject matter experts have to be unbelievable ambassadors of the top-down message."
And to that end, Moawad cited 'Bama strength coach Scott Cochran, "He doesn't rest until players understand how and why the training will help in the fourth quarter. He is a world-class coach and guys know it. NFL players are some of the toughest 'consumers' in the world. You better have a strong game to get them on board. But when they understand and buy in -- watch out -- they go all in."
At one point, Eagles players, even McCoy, seemed to be that way with Kelly. The job in San Francisco will be to make sure it's more widespread and sustainable.