Thursday, November 27, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Chip Kelly talks injuries, kicking competition, potentially trading Mark Sanchez, and more

Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)
Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)

Eagles head coach Chip Kelly spoke with the media on a wide variety of topics on Sunday morning. Here is the full transcript:

Q. Were you able to find out how serious WR Josh Huff’s shoulder is?

COACH KELLY: X‑rays were negative. He's in a sling right now. He probably will be out this week, but we haven't done anything further from that, so kind of what he feels like and see how he goes. I know the X‑rays they took were negative.

Q. What about CB Cary Williams. Is he coming back?

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COACH KELLY: Yeah, Cary should be back this week. I think he just feels a little tightness in there, and I should imagine he would go tomorrow.

Q. You were talking about how the rules and penalties kind of affected the defense in the last game. What about offensively? Is there anything you do differently to take advantage of some of those things?

COACH KELLY: To take advantage of?

Q. Yeah, you knew they were going to be calling illegal contact down field?

COACH KELLY: We're not trying to run into them down field. We're trying to get clean releases. I don't think it's a rule you can look at and say the advantage we can get offensively is let's do this and try to run into people. I don't think that's the case. They're going to call it when they put hands on people more than five yards down field. And the other three penalties that really hurt us the other day were the illegal hands to face. Every single one of them their hands were up and they're too high on the target and up in the head area and they're going to call that.

Q. You gave LB Marcus Smith and LB Travis Long some work against New England on Friday. What were your impressions of their play?

COACH KELLY: Thought Travis did a real good job. He was really coming along for us and trying to figure out how he fits with us on the roster. Then Marcus got a real extended look. I think he played 70 snaps between special teams and defense, and he's got a burst. He's got some speed coming off the edge. But if you're going to play that many plays, we're going to need more production out of you. Still working at it. Still have a lot of things to improve on. But it's good. That's part of what the preseason is all about. Obviously, if you're playing the game, it's going to be a little different set‑up in terms of who is in there. But I think we know what [LB] Trent [Cole] can do. We know what [LB] Connor [Barwin] can do at that spot, but we need to find out the guys behind those guys.

Q. Did LB Bryan Braman play?

COACH KELLY: Bryan didn't play. His back seized up in stretch. I think they just said he's out. I think he's easy to go in today or go in tomorrow. But he did not play in the game on Friday.

Q. K Carey Spear hasn’t played. Has he provided the competition you want?

COACH KELLY: A lot of it is based on practice. Obviously Alex [Henery] is ahead of him when you see him out there in a competitive situation when we put them in practice. So you can't manufacture it, you can't make it up. You've got to go by what the numbers are. I know Alex has missed two kicks all camp, was 5-for-5, and 50‑plus, was 8-for-8 in 45 to 49 in training sessions. He did miss one in the game. But I mean, it's also something we're not going to throw another guy out there. Alex has definitely outkicked Carey so far in practice.

Q. What about kicking in game situations?

COACH KELLY: Well, if you don't make them in practice situations, I don't know.

Q. Why is he on the roster?

COACH KELLY: We brought him to camp to see what he can do, but we can't tell what he can do until we put him in camp.

Q. You've played pretty much everybody else, why not the kicker?

COACH KELLY: Alex still needs work, too. We need to get Alex as much work as he can possibly get. It's clear in our mind that Alex is number one over Carey.

Q. Halfway through the season, how would you characterize your progress? Is it where it should be?

COACH KELLY: No, you're never where you should be. You want to be clean. Obviously, we've got to clean up the penalties and we've talked about that. We've turned the ball over too many times on the offensive side of the ball. But the other process is we're making evaluations on who is going to make the 53‑man roster, so there is a lot that goes into that. A lot of that is the mixing and matching. There are a lot of guys that played well against the twos and threes and you get them in the ones and they're not as productive. What is the reason? Is it because of the other teams’ twos and threes or is it because of what they're capable of doing? So we'll continue to try to see in these next two games what we can do. The biggest thing we've got to get out of preseason is we've got to make sure we've got the right 53 guys here as we approach the season.

Q. Should we expect WR Jeremy Maclin or WR Riley Cooper?

COACH KELLY: Coop will. I think Mack is slated to be full return tomorrow, should be something today, so we'll see where he is.

Q. Can you talk about all three running backs? How's Chris Polk?

COACH KELLY: Polk will not go today. He's still working on his. Tucker will be back. LeSean [McCoy] will be back.

Q. When you look back at the problems off the field on third down, was the pass rush the biggest problem there?

COACH KELLY: It's a combination of both. It takes all 11. So coverage in pass rush. I think pass rush gets looked at, but it's both. I think sometimes you can make the quarterback hold the ball a little bit longer, and obviously, the quarterback can get home a little bit quicker. So it's a combination of the two things.

Q. Have you looked into how many hamstring injuries there on this team?

COACH KELLY: Five. Nolan Carroll does not have a hamstring [injury]. He has a groin [injury]. I don't know where you're getting the information on what they are. But there are a couple of guys that you listed as hamstrings that aren't hamstrings. Yeah, we had five of them, and that is less than we had a year ago.

Q. What is your evaluation of DE Vinny Curry in the game and specifically from the two gaps?

COACH KELLY: Vinny did a good job. He's getting better at that part from a technique standpoint in terms of what he's got to do in the run game. A lot of that has to do with other players are fitting on him. Sometimes you say this guy does a great job of penetrating and fitting up the field. If that's not the gap he's supposed to be in, we're going to get carved on a big run. Vinny's worked extremely hard on it. One thing you get out of Vinny is outstanding effort. A lot of the things he does are generated because of his effort. He made a huge effort play on Cary's interception down the field. He's improving, but obviously pitch production against the ones wasn't production like it was a week ago against the Bears and the twos and threes because you're going against a little better competition. But we're happy with Vinny's production and excited about having him.

Q. As a quick follow‑up, did Maclin's hamstring go out or is it his knee?

COACH KELLY: It's a ham[string]. It's tight. If we had to play a game, Mac could play. If we had to play a game last night, Cary could play. Some of these in terms of what they are are grade one mild. But to put Cary back in the game, I think we know Cary's going to be our starting corner when we play against the Jaguars, so it's a chance to get other guys repetition. The hamstring isn't a big concern for us, I know that.

Q. What's Carroll doing?

COACH KELLY: Nolan should be back doing some things this week. I don't know where he'll be from the standpoint of the Steelers game. But he's had an outstanding camp, outstanding off‑season until his injury. So obviously we feel a little better about the corner position if we get Nolan back.

Q. Are there receivers on the bubble? How do you think they did in the game? I know Ifeanyi Momah [Mo] had the fumble and Arrelious Benn [Regis] stepped up on special teams.

COACH KELLY: Yeah, Regis did a really nice job from a special teams standpoint. Made a big catch on cleaning up for Mo on the one he dropped in the end zone. You're getting great effort out of Regis. It was good to get Jeff [Maehl] healthy and back out on the field. I thought besides the fumble, that he did a nice job. He's got a good skill set in terms of being able to release and not getting caught on the line of scrimmage. Mo gets better and better. The one thing with Mo is how many reps can you get him because he needs them all? As he gets them, he improves. So fighting to see who those last four, five, six are going to be. It's a matter of just getting those guys back out. For Jeff, it was just getting them healthy and getting them back out on the field. But I've seen improvement out of all those guys and these next few weeks will be huge.

Q. In the games, what did you see?

COACH KELLY: I think [T] Allen's [Barbre] done a nice job. He could stick to blocks a little better. He's got a good feel and sense of what we're doing. He's a physical player at the tackle spot. So he doesn't get overmatched by anybody in there. Really happy that we have him, and that obviously with Lane [Johnson] being out for four games that Allen's in there, but Allen's done a really solid job for us in the left tackle spot.

Q. How has DE Fletcher Cox played?

COACH KELLY: Fletch played well. He only played 18 snaps, but I think we know what Fletch can do. It's trying to find some of those other guys and give them an opportunity, and I think that's where some people, when you look at it say you're not getting this, but a lot of those guys weren't in. [DT] Bennie [Logan] played 13 snaps and Fletch played 18 snaps. Fletch has been steady and productive for us in terms of what we're asking him to do.

Q. You guys played preseason games, do you see these next couple weeks in practice maybe getting first team snaps in practice for guys like WR Jordan Matthews?

COACH KELLY: Yeah, he gets a lot of first team reps in practice now. One thing I don't think anybody worries about is how many reps did they get? Jordan's running around, he played the most snaps out of any receiver on our team on Friday night. So I think he's getting acclimated a little better. One thing about him is he seems like he can run all day. He's never, knock on wood, never banged up. Never pulling himself out of things. So he's been really a steady force from that standpoint in terms of being what he can be from a practice standpoint.

Q. You gave DE Brandon Bair a lot of work early on against the Patriots.

COACH KELLY: Yeah, Brandon did a nice job. One thing Brandon can do is he can two gap. He was very productive. I think he had three tackles. Can get off of blocks and was solid in there. I think we feel like Fletch and said, if we were playing on our two ends, but a lot of the situations we're looking at and trying to put people in is how do guys fare when they're in there with the ones? Brandon we felt did a nice job against the Bears, but now let's see what he does when he gets a chance. And I thought Brandon and Vinny did a nice job in terms of taking some opportunities when they went against the ones on Friday.

Q. Did Bair give you pass rush or is he still a two gap run?

COACH KELLY: He's a little bit more of a run guy.

Q. QB Mark Sanchez has played so well in preseason and teams are looking for veteran quarterbacks. How do you rank the decision to trade him or keep him on the roster for the season?

COACH KELLY: Good question because Mark has played well, but we haven't had anybody call and ask us anything, so that's not something we're talking about. We're spending time with things that could happen, should happen, I don't know. But we're really happy about him. I feel very, very confident in our quarterback situation, probably better than a lot of teams in this league going into it because I think we have two guys right now that have actually played in games. That's, I think, Mark has 68 games under his resume and is playing at a really high level right now. Obviously, Nick coming off an outstanding season last year, so we feel really confident. But I'm also a big guy that you better have two quarterbacks in this league. So unless something blows you out of the water, we're really confident with Mark coming and starting the game for the Eagles.

Q. When somebody calls you and says we're interested in Mark, what happens then?

COACH KELLY: What are you giving me? I mean, we'll listen to anything for anybody. We're not going to bury our head in the sand and say no. But it better be a pretty good deal in terms of what it is. But that's not any of our thought process. We need him. In terms of how he's playing right now, how he can function in what we're doing, and I've always said you need to have two quarterbacks.

Q. Are you confident in QB Matt Barkley?

COACH KELLY: Yeah, I think Matt can play. He threw one interception on an unbelievable ball that bounced straight up in the air, but I feel real confident. We have one of the better quarterback situations in the league with the three of those guys.

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