“The only thing I could tell myself is, it’s going to be a long season,” Vick said.
LeSean McCoy didn’t realize it until later. He was having too much fun, carrying the ball 31 times for 184 yards and taking advantage of a fatigued Washington defense.
“Sometimes when you’re rolling, you don’t really feel it,” McCoy said Thursday. “I was gassed. What kind of motivates the offense is, I’m tired. But I know the defense is way tired than I am. When I’m breathing hard and I look across and see them breathing harder, that gives me extra motivation.”
Coach Chip Kelly acknowledged this week that it will be up to him and his staff to monitor the starters’ playing time.
“There were times they didn't want to come out,” Kelly said. “They've got to understand, if we're going to get that many snaps, we need to make sure we manage it so when we're in the fourth quarter, we're fresher. … We’ve got to do a better job of rotating some of those guys. We've talked about it as a staff.
“When you're going to play that many snaps, you’ve got to make sure you don't run your own team into the ground.”
McCoy played his first four seasons for Andy Reid, who handed the ball off as a last resort. So McCoy isn’t used to being asked about carrying the ball too much. But he acknowledged that, as much as he enjoyed this one game, that might be an unrealistic workload every week.
The NFL record for rushing attempts in a season is 416, by Kansas City’s Larry Johnson in 2006. At 31 a game, McCoy would break that mark by 80 carries. Of course, he would probably break himself long before he got there.
Kelly said there was no ideal number of carries in his mind. It is “just how the game is going to express itself,” he said. But his job isn’t just to manage a game. It’s to manage the entire team through the entire season. Bryce Brown had nine carries Monday night, but Chris Polk, the third back, didn’t touch the ball at all.
“I didn’t mind Monday night,” McCoy said. “We’ll do a better job of rotating our backs. Because it’s a long season.”
It is, but only if you’re healthy for the whole thing.