Eagles coach Chip Kelly met with reporters Tuesday afternoon as the Eagles started to prepare to face the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. Here's a transcript of the conversation, courtesy of ASAP Sports.
LeSean McCoy, would you like to see more north-south running out of him?
We just talk about production. There's certain plays, depending how we call them, we could be calling sweep plays but obviously what was necessary on Sunday was downhill runs but I don't want him running north, south if we had a sweep play called.
As far as how Earl Wolff responds to yesterday's practice, have you talked to him today to just to see how it felt?
No, I haven't. We'll get him when we get on the field.
Yesterday at practice, we heard you playing the Vikings' horn. Is that to kind of desensitize them?
I have no idea what that is. I literally have nothing to do with the music. I thought it was the horn from Anchorman. Remember when he asked for his guys and they were all standing right next to him? Our guys, T.J. [Paganetti] does all that. I'm not concerned with it.
LeSean, his numbers are better each quarter, first, second, third, fourth quarter. How much of that do you think is him getting stronger or staying strong and the O‑line?
Good question, I think it's a combination of all that. I think obviously there is a cumulative effect as the game goes along. I also think your guys up front have to continue to do what they are doing.
At times it doesn't matter how strong the running back is, if we are not strong up front we are not going to get any initial push at the line of scrimmage. Therefore, it's going to be a little bit difficult so it is a combination of both of that.
How tough do you think he is to defend against? He can catch the ball and he obviously can run the ball. If you're on the other team trying to stop this guy, how tough does he make it?
He's a tough matchup because you can use him in the passing game and he does have good hands and he can run routes. He had a big play for us in the Chargers game on just a short little three‑ or four‑yard option route that he turned into a 60‑yard gain down the goal line. He is a tough matchup. Some of these guys are runners and other guys are really good receivers out of the backfield but I think he's a combination of both.
You talked about Brent Celek, a lot of times tight ends are asked to block bigger guys than them, defensive ends. How do they offset that size?
I think Ted [Williams] and Justin [Peelle] do a great job with them from a technique standpoint. The that's the one thing is he's always working at his craft. When you do get matched up with someone bigger than you, it's not just a battle of brute force. It's really the technique and the leverage that he's using.
I think one of the things that really kind of went unsaid on Sunday was just the fundamentals of how our offensive line executed is when you look at our productive runs, we were pad under pad. There was a lot of leverage in what we were doing and our guys, it got back to a fundamental game on Sunday and same thing with the defensive line in terms of their technique.
It is a technical position, especially like you said, that matchup, the defensive ends are bigger than Brent so he has to be good at the technical part and he is. That's one of his strengths.
How important - a lot of times your - the running play is going the other way but how important is it that they seal that guy?
It's huge, just because a lot of our plays are cutback plays. If the defense is flowing and we get him moving in one direction, LeSean as the ability or Bryce [Brown] to cut the ball back, but that means what really didn't start at the point of attack ends up being the point of attack.
Do you get worried about a letdown game in this kind of spot? Is there anything in the structure of the program that prevents that?
No, we are just a one‑week operation. I literally was thinking of the Vikings game coming off the field on Sunday. What's our next opportunity to go out and see where we are as a team and that's what this deal is all about. I think the teams that are mentally tough can work their way through it and I think we have a mentally tough group.
Riley Cooper is second in the NFL in yards‑per‑catch. I guess people thought that maybe he couldn't stretch the field -
People, or you?
I didn't, no - I've heard that before -
I've heard that before, too.
Why, because he's a bigger guy, and why has he done so well?
One of the things that Riley is, and got a great background in baseball, he does a great job of tracking the ball while it's in the air. I think a lot of it is he has some background in being an outfielder.
That catch he made on the post route, he just did a great job at tracking the ball and he's very, very good at tracking deep balls and that's a skill that he has, when you watch him every day in practice, you can see him, he can adjust to the thrown ball, and it's not an easy thing. Sometimes it's got to be a great pass by the quarterback for it to be a successful play.
I think with Riley, you can miss him a little bit but because of his ability to adjust to the throwing ball in the air, it's really one of his strengths and it's what I think really separates him from other people.
Sometimes players and especially quarterbacks get caught up in themselves and their own success. You may not have had that in college, but it happens in the pros, but it doesn't happen with Nick. What is it about him that you may notice or you can tell us, well, why it doesn't happen with Nick?
You know, I just think Nick's a great teammate and he's a very, very unselfish player, and I think what he realizes and what everybody realizes is that for you to be successful, you need the people around you.
And it's everybody contributing to the common goal, and I think that's kind of pervasive throughout our team now and I think our guys understand that; that it is the team. When someone sees you and says, ‘Hey, you play,’ they ask you what your record is. They don't ask you what your individual statistics are, and we don't spend a lot of time nor do we ever talk about individual statistics or individual awards.
Is it something in his DNA?
There is. He's a very unselfish person and it's noticeable when you first meet him. He understands where he fits. Obviously being a quarterback in this game, it's a different position than maybe any other sport. But to be ultimately successful, you have to make the players around you better and I think Nick has that quality.
You said that you were thinking about the Vikings as soon as you were coming off the field, have you given yourself a second to enjoy what your guys did on the field that day?
Yeah, I enjoy the process. I'm not a results guy. I enjoyed the game. I enjoyed our energy. I enjoyed our enthusiasm. I enjoyed pregame and I enjoyed how the game was going on. But then what's the next step? We did that. Let's go on. Let's see what the next challenge and the next opportunity is for us. But I don't think life has a rear‑view mirror so I'm not a big guy that looks back. I always look forward. That's just a personal standpoint.
I want to know what the next challenge is. The next challenge is a really good Vikings team and that's what excites me. I don't spend a lot of time looking back at what happened yesterday or the day before or all those other things. That's just kind of the way we're wired.
Vince Lombardi used to give himself until Sunday - he was famous for starting to think about it the next day. You don't even give yourself Sunday to enjoy it?
There's nothing to give myself. I didn't do anything. This is what I do. I love coaching and so, what's the next opportunity to coach?
What's your process for deciding on adjustments and how do you relay those to the team before they come out?
We meet as a staff, each side of the ball for about four or five minutes and go over the necessary adjustments to implement both offensively and defensively, and then once we agree on them as a group, ‘Hey we are going to do this, this and this,’ everybody gets to their individual position guys and goes over what they are going to go over.
I guess getting back to the question about Riley and the deep balls, there's a conventional wisdom that it's pure speed is what creates those plays but obviously there's other factors. Riley's ability, to like you said, track the ball, not that he's slow, does that overcome that maybe he doesn't have world‑class sprinter speed?
I just think that conventional wisdom is that speed isn't the factor, because if it was, then having the fastest guy in the NFL would catch the most deep balls. It's not that. There's a lot more to it. It's not - this isn't a track meet. It's who has the ability, and DeSean [Jackson] has a great ability to do it, too, even though DeSean has the speed element.
But there's a lot of fast guys that run down the field but when the ball is not thrown directly to them, they can't adjust to it. They are straight‑line guys that can't veer off course. I think the ability to adjust to the ball and the ability to understand leverage of the defensive player and the ability Riley has of being big enough not to get knocked off‑track, when obviously the defensive player knows where the ball is going, too, but your ability to hold that line is a huge component to it. So it's more than just the speed factor.
With Chris Polk, did you notice something when you were coaching against him at Oregon and he was at Washington that made you think that he would fit in this offense?
I think they fit in every offense. Everybody needs to run, be a physical football player and get your shoulders squared up to the line of scrimmage. What we do offensively isn't different than what Minnesota does offensively and the one thing I knew about Chris is he was just a tough, hard‑nosed, physical football player.
I mean, he had a thousand - I'm exaggerating but he had like a thousand carries in college. He was the workhorse for the University of Washington and they just ran him and he kept getting stronger and stronger as the game went along. You know, he was always the - when you played Washington, you had a game plan for Chris Polk because he was the featured back there.
The last few games, there a clear difference with the way the defense is playing. Did you see anything in that Broncos game that gave you optimism that this could happen?
Yeah, I've had optimism and so did Billy [Davis], and I think we both expressed that since the beginning of the year. I thought we had enough talent on the defensive side of the ball to be good, and it was just a matter of everybody getting an understanding of what we're trying to do.
So I was confident in this group coming out of camp. I was confident - I've been confident with them all along and I think it's shown.
Nick was on the cover of Sports Illustrated and he's been getting all this national attention and doesn't seem like a guy who necessarily wants attention on him. How has he been handling that?
Great. I mean, I didn't talk to him about the Sports Illustrated thing because I just found out about it. But I don't worry about Nick from any aspect like that. He's a team guy and understands what our focus is on the Vikings and I know Nick's focus is on the Vikings.
You're aware of the cover jinx?
I don't believe in that.