FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Chip Kelly expressed his disappointment in turnovers and penalties after the Eagles’ 42-35 loss to the New England Patriots.
“We need to clean that up before we win any football games,” Kelly said.
The Eagles committed four turnovers and were charged with 10 penalties. That overshadowed what Kelly said was a “better” performance from the first-team offense, especially quarterback Nick Foles.
The penalties particularly vexed Kelly. Even if the league is calling the game tighter in the preseason, he would not use it as an excuse in his biting assessment.
“There is no curve,” Kelly said. “Those are the rules. We got to play by them. Whoever ends up being the most disciplined team in this league is going to win.”
After the game, Kelly told the team that the rules are not going to change. And he did not need buy into the idea that the game will just clean up for the regular season.
“If you can’t play within the rules, you can’t play in this league,” Kelly said. “That’s just the bottom line. You’re just handing people’s first downs. Whichever team ends up being the most disciplined team from a penalty standpoint is going to be a big advantage in this league. It’s a challenge to everybody. We all got to figure it out.”
Kelly said players must realize they cannot grab a receiver five yards downfield, and said the team does not teach that playing style.
“If that’s your go-to move and that’s what you got to do, then you can’t play,” Kelly said. “And we never teach anybody to strike anybody in their face. You’re bad in your targets. …You don’t have to agree with the speed limit, but if the cop’s out there with a speed gun there, you better take your foot off the gas or he’s going to pull you over. That’s the bottom line. Rules are rules. We got to follow them.”
**Third-down defense was again an issue on Friday. The Patriots converted their first seven third downs, and that does not even include penalty conversions. Kelly said the problem is the Eagles’ pass rush.
“We’re not getting to the quarterback,” Kelly said. “We got to do a better job creating pressure on the quarterback.”
**Jordan Matthews led the Eagles with nine catches for 104 yards. He caught all nine passes in his direction. It came after he had two drops last week.
“I’m happy with Jordan’s performance today,” Kelly said. “He was a little overexcited playing in his first NFL football game in Chicago. The Jordan you saw in practice is the Jordan you saw today. …He did a good job with the run after-the-catch. …I think he’s just such an emotional guy and he plays at such a high level that he was just a little ramped up.”
**Vinny Curry took snaps with the first-team defense on Friday. Kelly said that was because the Eagles wanted to evaluate if Curry deserves more playing time.
“That was a big thing for us,” Kelly said. “We want to get Vinny with the ones and see how productive he can be.”
**It was not a good evening for Curtis Marsh. The cornerback struggled replacing Cary Williams. After playing well against second-team and third-team players during training camp, a different opponent and officials were not kind to Marsh.
“He obviously didn’t have a very good night, but he had been playing well,” Kelly said. “He had really upped his game from a year ago. Obviously, tonight he gave up a couple touchdowns and had a couple penalties called against him. …He’s a competitor. We’ll see how he bounces back and responds in the Steelers game.”
**Alex Henery missed a 47-yard field goal on Friday. The kick was not close.
“You got to make 47 yarders in this league,” Kelly said. “...I’m confident in Alex, but you got to convert in games, too.”
Kelly said he's encouraged by the work Henery is doing with special teams coordinator Dave Fipp.
**Quarterback Mark Sanchez completed 11 of 12 passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns. The only pass he missed was an interception.
“He’s made us feel really comfortable about the quarterback position,” Kelly said. “He’s getting stronger. He’s really comfortable with what he’s doing. He’s got a really good feel for playing quarterback. We’ve been really happy with him.”
**Kelly did not have an update on Josh Huff’s injury. He expects wide receiver Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin to practice on Saturday. He also did not agree that there are a high number of hamstring injuries. Seven players were sidelined on Friday with a hamstring injury, and Bennie Logan missed last week with a hamstring injury.