Chip Kelly explains why the Eagles traded Isaac Sopoaga to the Patriots
Eagles head coach Chip Kelly spoke to the media on Wednesday after practice. Here is a transcript of the press conference.
Question: Talk about the Isaac Sopoaga trade and why you did it.
Kelly: Yeah, you know, I thought Isaac did a nice job for us, but we felt like we had a couple younger guys that we really need to continue to get in there, and when they've played, they continue to really produce. I think Clifton Geathers is a great example. Clifton Geathers played 13 snaps on Sunday versus the Giants and had three contacts with the ball, and he's a guy that just keeps getting better.
I think Bennie Logan is a guy we need to see more of. Damion Square is a guy who was up for of course two games, but because we kept seven defensive linemen, we brought Vinny [Curry] up and Square down, but you watch Square every day in practice and I think Square, Logan and Geathers need more reps.
And if it's one position on a team that we probably had the most depth on, probably the most encouraged we were about our defensive line, and we just thought the value for it was at that point in time, we didn't think ‑‑ I think getting the younger guys involved is going to be beneficial for us. I'm excited to see Bennie and Clifton and Square and those guys play a lot more.
Is it disappointing that this is a guy that you gave a decent amount of money to a veteran who had played the position for 10 years and you wanted him to come in and he only lasted eight games?
I don't look at it that way. I look at it as our three young guys are playing pretty good football. I think the strength of our team on the defensive side of the ball has been our defensive line and the production that we're getting out of those guys.
You try to get your best guys on the field, so I would be disappointed if our defensive line wasn't playing well at all, but I think it's more of we've got a lot of good competition going on at that position and how do we create more opportunities for those young guys.
On who will start in Sopoaga’s place.
We rotate just like we always do. So Clifton will get more snaps, Logan will get more snaps, Square will get more snaps. Ced [Thornton] can play in there at times. It just depends on the situation. A lot of times when you go into it, you look at the Giants first game compared to the Giants second game, the Giants played us in more base in the second game than they did in the first game, so now if they're in base, we're in bigger guys. If they're 11, we're in nickel more.
You really can't go in and dictate and say, hey, we're going to play this amount of snaps because if they're in 11 and 10 personnel then we're not going to be as big on the defensive front, we're going to be more in pass rush mode, so it really just depends on what we're getting and what we're matching up with.
What did the MRI on Mike Vick’s hamstring reveal?
Just that it's hurt in the same spot. We'll see how he goes. I don't anticipate Mike being able to play this week, but we'll monitor. The one thing I know about Mike is he's unbelievable when it comes to rehabbing and listening to [head athletic trainer] Chris [Peduzzi] and the doctors and our guys in the weight room, so we'll see how it goes. But nothing new.
There's no tear?
There's nothing new from what happened the last time is how it was explained to me.
How do you think Nick Foles did yesterday?
Nick did really well. I know he was cleared, but just because he was cleared we needed to see him out. I hadn't really had a chance to visit with him, to watch him out on the field, but I was really happy with how Nick practiced yesterday. One of the good things about practicing on Tuesday is you can kind of get a chance to get your eyes on people that have been out, and Nick was out, so Nick did a really good job.
Nick is going to be our starting quarterback this week, and he'll take the reps with the ones this week and we'll get ready as a team offensively to play for Oakland.
Because Mike Vick had reaggravated that same spot, would it make sense to maybe just be extra cautious this time and maybe just sit him down until the bye week or something?
I defer to our medical staff on any things like that. They’re a lot smarter than me or you when it comes to injuries, so what our doctors say and what Mike says is what we listen to.
What do you think of Terrelle Pryor, how he can take off and make a lot of big plays.
Yeah, really good athlete. Actually tried to recruit Terrelle in high school, never got a chance to get him to come out and visit, but I knew him pretty well. I was in Jeannette [PA] about four or five times watching him play basketball, tremendous athlete. I think the first thing that will strike you when you see him is just actually how big he is. You watch him on tape, he had a 93‑yard run, the longest run for a quarterback in NFL history. But when you see him you look like you're looking at a defensive end.
There's two guys that I've had an opportunity to coach against, Cam Newton and Terrelle Pryor, that are that, that when you look at them they're kind of like an NBA power forward, but they can run, and that's kind of the thing that jumps out at you is his athleticism. I think he's really come along as a quarterback. We actually faced him my first year at Oregon in the Rose Bowl, and I think he's a really good player. I think he's growing. You can see him gaining more confidence each week. He's really working on everything in his game.
But I think the one threat that he's always had is his ability to kind of take the ball and tuck it and run, so you've got to be really conscious, similar to like in the Washington game when you had RG3 that you'd better know where your rush lanes are, you'd better know who's got containment and where we are and try to keep him hemmed in and not let him escape because when he escapes it might not be a six‑yard gain, it could be a 60‑yard gain with the type of wheels that he has.
Matt Barkley said yesterday that that he'd never repped before the goal-line play that you guys ran before. Was he just mistaken?
I said the team has, so I don't think Matt was mistaken, no. I think when you go into a game, your backup quarterback doesn't get a lot of snaps. So I think on a daily basis, today we have 60 snaps for our offense today, and our starting quarterback will get 48 of them and our backup quarterback will get 12 of them. He may not have run that play, but it's a naked play. The route combination doesn't matter. We're always just trying to dress it up and do it a different way.
Has he run a naked since he's been here? Yeah, he's run a naked since he's been here. Do we have a guy in the flat? Yeah, we have a guy in the flat. Do we have a guy in the drag? Yeah, we have a guy in the drag. Is it that specific call? He may not have gotten that rep in practice. I don't think our quarterbacks ‑‑ the backup quarterback doesn't get low red snaps. We only snap the ball four times in the low red zone on Thursday practice, and all those reps go to the starting quarterback.
When your team comes back on Tuesday, when in between the end of the Sunday game and your preparation today do the players get to meet, watch tape and make corrections?
Tuesday we watch ‑‑ in terms of watching the tape?
Yeah, we watch the tape Tuesday morning as an offense, defense, special teams and then position coaches. That's what Tuesday is; you kind of put the game to bed. It's half of what did we do on Sunday and then we make corrections and then insertion for the beginning of the week on Tuesday.
And you start that process on Tuesday morning?
Tuesday morning? Yeah, that's the first time we start. They're here at 8:00 on Tuesday mornings.
Do you know about how long you guys do that for?
How long do we do [meet for]?
Our normal meeting is maybe 50 minutes.
A term you've used is the quarterback needs stability. Is this a week-to-week thing?
God, I hope not.
No, until Mike Vick is healthy.
Do you know something I don't know? [Joking]
Or is Nick Foles going to get a chance to provide stability at this position?
I hope so. You know, Nick got knocked out in the Cowboys game. I didn't pull Nick out of the game. I looked over and Nick is laying on the ground. We had to put another guy in.
But Mike is not going to be around forever. There is going to be a point where ‑‑
Yeah. Let me ask you a serious question: How many times are you going to ask me that same question and how many different ways am I going to -- I'm going to make my determination on a weekly basis who our quarterback is, first and foremost based on health. The ideal world, Mike is the healthiest in the world, Nick is the healthiest in the world, Matt is the healthiest in the world. Let's get to that point in time, and we'll have a conversation.
But that prolongs the stability ‑‑
It doesn't prolong anything. I'm getting ready to play the Oakland Raiders, and I'm getting ready with Nick Foles and Matt [Barkley] because Mike is not practicing today, and that's it. It doesn't help us ‑‑ me, anybody, and that's not the way I think, to say, hey, next week when Mike comes back, what are we going to do? Because what happens if next week when Mike comes back, Nick and Matt are hurt? I don't know.
And I think you just jump through mental gymnastics if this happens and that happens, you have no idea. It really doesn't ‑‑ I don't know. We get ready to play Tampa Bay, our emergency quarterback was James Casey. He pulled his groin on Friday and couldn't go. There's a whole monkey wrench in it. What if I spent all my day on Wednesday on who my emergency quarterback is going to be? Oh, good, I've got Casey, I'm good to go, and then Friday he gets hurt. Well, when it happens, it happens. That's the way it works.
So right now I know going into practice today, Nick Foles is ready to go. We're excited to get him reps with the ones, Matt gets reps with the twos, and let's go play Oakland. That's all we can worry about.
When you said on Sunday, stability or lack of stability at quarterback is part of the problem with the offense. With that being the case, when Mike goes into a game, you don't know if he's going to finish. You don't know if he's going to play the rest of the year. Where do you determine that winning games and finding out about next year? Where does that come in with Nick Foles?
We're all about winning games.
I get that. But where does next year come in?
It doesn't come in. It's about beating Oakland. That's it. It's a one‑week season, and that's all it is. Last week it was about beating the Giants. There wasn't, hey, what are we going to be like next year and let's go see if we can activate G.J. [Kinne] and throw him in next. That's not our mentality.
Our mentality is who are we playing right now, and I think it's a disservice to those other players on the team and it's a disservice to our fans if I'm thinking about who our quarterback is going to be next year. I'm thinking about beating who we're playing this week. We're playing the Oakland Raiders, and that's it. That's the deal.
We're trying to win the game we're playing this week, and if we start planning long‑term, I may not be here long‑term; you know what I'm saying? So let's go beat Oakland.
With a guy like Foles coming off of the game as disappointing as it was in Dallas, did you have an extra eye on him the first couple practices how he carries himself?
Yeah, that's a great question, how he is, and I think that's one of the things about Nick that I love is I think there's a resiliency to him. Nick didn't play well in the Dallas Cowboys game, and he understands that. But I've seen Nick play well.
I've seen Nick come off the bench against the New York Giants without taking a snap and lead us down the field and we get a field goal, and that's kind of a spark. He plays really well. I see him throw a great pass to Brent Celek with a guy draped on him. He drops it over his outside shoulder for a huge touchdown for us in the Giants game where it's kind of going back and forth, and that may have been a back‑breaker in that game. I saw him play extremely well in the Tampa Bay game.
He did not play well in the Dallas Cowboys game, but Nick wasn't the only guy that didn't play well in the Dallas Cowboys game. But I've got a ton of confidence in Nick, and I'm excited to see him get back on the practice field.