Full transcript: Chip Kelly has better sense of roster than last year
Chip Kelly spoke to reporters before practice today.
Did you get down to 75 today?
COACH KELLY: We're in the process of that. They'll have a final list. It's got to go through the league and that's how that is. So hopefully by the end of practice before we get out of here today I can comment on it after that. So we're working on it today.
Will you be at 75 today?
COACH KELLY: I don't know if he'll we'll be exactly at 75. We'll make a predominant amount of cuts today instead of Tuesday. We didn't feel it was beneficial for players to have practice with us Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and cut them in the afternoon on Tuesday. Give them a chance, if there is a chance, and I don't know if there is, but see if they can catch on with somebody else in this last week before they get in. It's tough to bring somebody in if they get released at 75 at Tuesday at 4:00 o'clock and get them ready to play in a game on Thursday if you wanted them. So that's just the approach we took with this group. We will have a final list for you. It's got to go through the league first, so we can comment on that after this.
As you get down to 53 going into next week, do you feel you have a better sense of your roster than you had this time last season?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, just because we've been around them longer and we have a better understanding of how they can play and what they can do. So I would say, yeah.
Based on what you've seen in the preseason, is the way they are enforcing illegal contact going to make it harder for teams to play a lot of man coverage this year?
COACH KELLY: No, and I think the one thing is the rule hasn't changed. The rule is the same rule it's always been. It's just I think after five yards, some teams got away with things six, seven, eight yards down the field, and that's where those are the rules. So I don't think they're doing anything different. But that first five yards, it’s still a battle. That's what the teams that still have big, physical corners are still going to be. [They’ll] have big, physical corners, you just can't continue it after five yards.
Did you go after Cody Parkey during the undrafted free agent signing period?
COACH KELLY: We had a bunch of guys on our board at that point in time. Bonanza is a good word, free‑for‑all is another good word [to describe it]. That aspect after the draft is just kind of crazy. You know, when it's what you’ve got and what a team guaranteed them and what a team offered them and what they think sometimes their best options are. There are a couple guys that we're not going ‑‑ I've had conversations ‑‑ we're not going to you guys because you have so much depth at X, and we were like we don't have depth at X. You try to explain to them on the phone that's not what I was told. You're going to sign these other free agents and you're not going to get them. That same person that turned you down calls you back an hour later and has nothing and says I really want to come. But, we've [already] signed someone else at that position. It's kind of crazy, but we had a list of guys.
It seems like Parkey went to a place where he probably wasn't going to win the job, and probably had a better opportunity here.
COACH KELLY: I think that is a better question to ask him than us.
Where do you see Nick now compared to where Nick was a year ago at this time when you're just here. Where do you feel like the strides are the greatest and where do you feel like there are still some areas he can improve?
COACH KELLY: There are all areas he's got to take a step forward. I'm not trying to not answer your question. But we don't look at any of our guys and go back to hey, what was he like a year ago and look at his progression now. It's just how do we get better? I think he has gotten better. Obviously, he had an outstanding year last year, to do what he did from a statistical standpoint, to do what he did from a leadership standpoint, being in a difficult situation. Taking over for a guy that everybody on this team had so much respect for in Michael [Vick]. I think the way Nick handled that situation is a credit to what his leadership ability is. So I've seen him improve in a lot of different areas. I think he's more accurate. I think he's a better decision maker than he was a year ago at this time. But I don't spend a lot of time and none of us do at any of them, whether it be Trent Cole or Nick or Connor [Barwin] and say what were they like a year ago and what strides have they made?
What’s the plan at kicker for the next two weeks and how do you properly evaluate a guy for a two‑week process where he's only played in one preseason game and practice?
COACH KELLY: You've got to do it. You've got to do it. We'll kick today a little bit. We have kicking periods during the week, and we have a game to play against the Jets on Thursday, and we'll see what opportunities give us a chance to express and see how it is. If we don't score any points, we don't get an opportunity. You can say hey, I want this guy to get six kicks. He may not get an opportunity to kick two. Sometimes that's out of your hands in terms of that. We hope we get some situations against the Jets where we get an opportunity to kick, but you never know. So we'll kick today in practice. We'll kick during the week in practice with the two of those guys and we'll figure it out after that.
Do you feel comfortable just based off of that sample size saying he's the guy in the clutch situations going forward?
COACH KELLY: You don't. There is nothing we can do. We can't get another scrimmage or another game. We have to make decisions based upon the amount of time we have Cody [Parkey] in here with Alex [Henery], and we go from there and that's it. But instead of us sitting here and saying, I don't know how I can do this or do that, we know how many times we can get out to the practice field which is from now until Thursday night, and we have one more game with officials under the lights where we get a chance to play and that's it, and we'll have to make a decision.
What is the status on LeSean McCoy, Cary Williams and Brandon Boykin?
COACH KELLY: All three will practice.
COACH KELLY: [Maclin] should be out there today, yeah.
With Henery, the fact that he's doing really well in practice and had problems in games, how do you take that into consideration over the next few weeks?
COACH KELLY: We've still got another game to play, so we'll take it all into consideration.
Why do you like having so many Oregon guys on your roster?
COACH KELLY: I like having good football players. So we think the guys we have are good football players. There are another 20 or 30 other Oregon guys in this league that are on other teams. They're good football players. We have a lot of Cincinnati guys on the team and they're good football players. That’s how we look at it.
The percentage of your roster is way tipped more than any of the others. Is it the familiarity with the Oregon players and how they practice?
COACH KELLY: There is a combination. There was a stretch there for four years and they were really good, and those guys were part of that group.
Is Huff a candidate for IR or short-term IR?
COACH KELLY: I don't think so in terms of where his progress is right now. But we don't have to make any decisions on that until next week. But that's not something we've had a discussion about right now. We're hoping he's back before we get to that.
What have you seen on film from Marcus Smith this week?
COACH KELLY: I think Marcus was a lot more comfortable. Got lined up a lot better and did a better job, I think. It seems like things are slowing down for him. He's settling in, and I thought he set the edge a couple times really well in the run game when they were running the ball at him and he held the tight end up at the line of scrimmage. I just think he was a lot more comfortable in what we were doing in Game 3 than he was in game 2.
Are you starting any work this week to prepare for the regular season?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, we'll get some work on our ones and get them prepared for Jacksonville, and get our twos prepared for the Jets.
What about Allen Barbre, have what have you seen from him?
COACH KELLY: I've seen Allen progress during the move and it was important we got him there day one and really comfortable playing next to Todd. That’s kind of how the thing’s going to shake itself out. He's going to be our starting right tackle, barring an injury in terms of us moving forward here in those four games. Did a really nice job in the run game, gave up a little pressure, but it was not an assignment error. It was some technique things he continued to work on and I thought he did a nice job.
Will any starters play in the Jets game?
No starters will play in that game. Including, I think there are a couple twos who won’t play. We're going to start Matt Barkley in that game. We need to see Matt play a lot. I think we feel comfortable in what Mark Sanchez has done in the first three games. So both Nick and Mark will be out in that game. We want to see Matt play for an extended period of time. I know Matt's gotten in there into the twos, some three work. I think he's done a really nice job. But we kind of thought about it as a staff, I think Mark is 25 of 31 and has led us on a lot of scoring drives. We feel very comfortable with our one and two quarterbacks. So we're going to give Matt a really extended look against the Jets on Thursday night.
Do you think it's unrealistic to expect Lane Johnson to come back after the absence and be able to hop back in week five? Is your thought that Allen will be in there?
COACH KELLY: We haven't discussed that yet. That's long‑term down the road. I know Lane will be gone after the Jets game and we'll assess it as we get back there. I mean, Allen could be gone by the time Lane comes back too. That's why I'm not evading it, it's just a waste of time for us to have this conversation when we spend three hours in a meeting talking about what's the scenario, and you look up and our right tackle is Matt Tobin in the game because Allen got hurt or a couple other injuries could happen. You never really know. We'll address it when the time is necessary. But we've got four games of Allen playing with us, and hopefully we can keep all five of those guys healthy up front. And then bring Lane back and work him into the mix and see how it fits at that point in time.
Are you expecting Chris Polk to practice this week?
COACH KELLY: They said he's going to try to go. We'll see what he can do. He's going to run around today.
Is Jordan Matthews going to play on Thursday?
COACH KELLY: I don't think Jordan is, but it depends on a little bit of – [Benn] had a concussion. I think he's going to get cleared, but he has to go through concussion protocol. Some of that depends on the depth of that position, do we have to have him up, do we not have to have him up, and where's Brad Smith at that situation. There are a couple guys at the wide receiver spot that we need to look at whether Jordan's up or not up.
What about at safety? You see Earl Wolf playing or Nate Allen?
COACH KELLY: I see Earl Wolf playing, definitely. I don't think Nate will play, but that depends on the depth at that position.
What would that indicate?
COACH KELLY: It means Earl needs a lot more reps.
How did Travis long play as inside linebacker?
COACH KELLY: Travis did a really nice job. He’s played a little bit of it. They did a 3-3 stack when he was in college and has played the second level linebacker. But, again, making that transition from outside to inside is a difficult thing. I thought for first extended time playing in a game like that, we felt like he did a decent job. So he will be another guy to really watch this week in terms of where we can get him on the field against the Jets both inside and outside.
Seems offensively this season there are seven skill guys who could merit significant playing time, and you only have had five on the field at a time. What dictates the personnel groupings in a game situation?
COACH KELLY: Everything. What we're trying to accomplish, what they do defensively, how do they defend certain sets. Can we get them in a certain set, can we get them off the field in certain situations? Health, there are a lot of factors involved in that.
Are you able to do more with personnel groupings this season because of the combinations you have at TE, RB and WR?
COACH KELLY: I mean, we have the same three tight ends as last year. So I think the addition of Sproles...
But Ertz is further along?
COACH KELLY: Yeah. Yes.
Will Sproles play Thursday night?
COACH KELLY: Darren's not playing.
Your offensive line is very good at pulling. Is that a Stoutland thing? Is that because you have athletic guys?
COACH KELLY: We obviously want athletic guys, and they've got the skill set to do it. And that is a play we've run a ton last year. It's not a new wrinkle or anything we're doing. I think everybody knows Jason Kelce is really good in space and has proven it in the two years we've had him. So I think that's something that those guys excel at, so we can try to put him in those situations, but it's just, we just ran the same ‑‑ I think we ran that same sweep play three times in the same drive against the Dallas Cowboys, so it's not a new play. We've got some good players and I think the depth in our offensive and defensive line is pretty good. So I think that kind of showed up on Thursday night for us.
There were a lot of questions about your second-team offensive line going into training camp...
COACH KELLY: I didn't have any questions about them.
Are you happy with the second-team offensive line?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I'm happy with them.
What’s the status at kickoff returner?
COACH KELLY: We'll see. Nolan's a guy that we've got looks at, but he was coming off an injury, so we didn't put him out there. He's done it in games. You obviously have Darren. What is Huff's status in terms of when we get Josh back because we know how he did against Chicago and he can do it. Kenjon Barner has done it, so it's a lot of the decisions that have made based upon health more than anything.