Saturday, December 27, 2014

Chip Kelly says Johnson's absence 'will have an impact'

Chip Kelly spoke to reporters Saturday prior to the Eagles' practice.

Q. What impact will Lane Johnson's suspension have on the number of first‑team snaps he gets in the pre‑season and training camp?

COACH KELLY: It will have an impact. Obviously, we’ve got to get another guy ready. Allen Barbre will start out there. Obviously we’ve got to prepare for our first four games, so we’ve got to get the guy who is going to be the starting right tackle for the first four games.

It will have a big impact on terms of where he is. We still have to develop Lane. So he'll get reps, but they won't be with the first team right now.

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  • Will Lane Johnson’s suspension mean big trouble for the Eagles?
    Yes. The O-line was a big part of last year’s success.
    No. Allen Barbre will be a capable replacement.

    Q. Coach, back in March, a resolution was passed that called for education at the high school level for coaches, athletic directors and players on the use of steroids. Do you think that's a way to make athletes safer to go in that direction? 

    COACH KELLY: Well, I think they are with the testing that goes on. 

    Q. I meant at the high school level. 

    COACH KELLY: I don't know. I think a lot of that depends on do they have the money to test from a drug standpoint.

    I think education should go on everywhere. That's part of the component in terms of what you're doing. If something's not working in the way it should be working, then I think the education is always a key to that. 

    Q. Do you think there is there a lack of oversight in the building on this issue? 

    COACH KELLY: No. I think we educate our players all the time. I think anybody that's in the NFL knows you're going to get tested.

    There's also some individual responsibility that goes with the player. So, you know, if the answer is, I didn't know. They know. They get tested at the Combine. They get tested anywhere. Any one of these guys that comes from an NCAA institution knows they get tested.

    They're also their own men. It's no different than if you got pulled over for a DUI, you're going to turn around and tell your employers, I didn't know I couldn't do that.

    They're adults. They're going to make mistakes. They're going to pay a hefty price for those mistakes. They're going to miss four games, four game checks. Hopefully that works.

    In certain situations, here or anywhere in the NFL, there are guys that just got pulled over again that were suspended for a year.

    Sometimes I think the responsibility goes on the individual people in that situation. 

    Q. The NFL comes down with the suspension. There are the suspensions that are in place. Do you have anything additional? If you get a guy that happens to, do you have a shorter leash to that guy? 

    COACH KELLY: I think the penalty in terms of those guys and what happens to them is appropriate. I think that's a pretty stiff fine. If that doesn't resonate with them, that's their responsibility.

    Playing in this league is a privilege. If you can't follow the rules of this league, you're not going to be there. 

    Q. After the preseason is over, will Lane be able to go to meetings or work out at the facility?

    COACH KELLY: From my understanding, he's not allowed to be here.

    Q. How big of a deal is that? He'll have to transition back in.

    COACH KELLY: Well, we'll see. The ball's in his court in a lot of these situations.

    Q. Do you think there needs to be more education on the team level of what you can take and what you can’t? 

    COACH KELLY: We talk about it all the time. We educate our guys on a daily basis. We don't wait for someone to make a mistake and say, Hey, look at this. We try to look at other teams. It's something we talk about.

    There's signs all over our building about what you can't take, what you can take. There's a protocol for what you're supposed to do. If there's ever a question, you are responsible for what you put in your body. If you're not sure, then you should ask. There's people you should ask.

    That's not what he did in that situation, and he's paying a price for it. 

    Q. When you extended Allen Barbre this spring, was that because you knew this suspension was coming?

    COACH KELLY: No. Allen's contract, we had been working on that for a long time. The timing of that had nothing to do with what was going on with Lane.

    Allen is an integral part to what we're doing and we wanted to make sure we kept him here.

    Q. How much do you gain seeing Allen be able to work with the first teams?

    COACH KELLY: Part of that, you know, we've seen Allen every day. He’s been part of this thing going into his second year here.

    We feel like he's a talented football player. He was really going to be pushing those guys if Lane wasn't [suspended], pushing all those other guys for playing time.

    When he's had an opportunity to perform, he did a great job. He did a great job, again, in the off‑season program. That's why we wanted to have him back here. 

    Q. The way you phrased it, he’ll be getting first team reps today. Does that mean he’ll be the starter?

    COACH KELLY: I care who starts today. That doesn't mean they're starting against Jacksonville. 

    Q. Will you look maybe at playing Allen at guard and bringing Todd Herremans back to tackle?

    COACH KELLY: No. I'm worried about today. Today we're starting Allen Barbre at right tackle and we'll go from there.

    Q. Do you think it was a mistake not selecting an offensive lineman in this year’s draft?

    COACH KELLY: We'll find out. You know, I mean, we felt confident going in. There's a lot of guys we had targeted in the draft, but may have gotten picked a little bit higher than we anticipated or we thought.

    We may have had a third‑round grade on them, were hoping they were in the third round, but they went in the second round. That's what happens.

    You don't know what the other 31 teams think about other prospects. In the draft, I don't think, none of us thought, it was a deep offensive line draft. There weren't a lot drafted in the first round.

    I think some of the guys in the bottom rounds may have gotten pushed up a round or two. That's sometimes just how it falls.

    But you're not going to reach and take somebody and say, Hey, just because we need this… I think that's when you make a lot of mistakes when you say, Hey, we need to get a guy at this position, we're going to take him higher than the grade we have on him.

    Q. What did you like about Barbre when you brought him here the first time. 

    COACH KELLY: I wasn't around then. I've seen Allen since we've had him here. He was part of the team when I got here in January of '13.

    I think he's big, he's physical. He's a very, very strong‑handed guy. When he gets his hands on people, he can really move people.

    He's got a great understanding. He's got flexibility in terms of being the guard-tackle for us. When he gets some extended playing time, especially in the Green Bay game, when Jason [Peters] was out, he did a really, really nice job at left tackle for us.

    The biggest thing is just him transitioning over. He had been more of a left guard, left tackle kind of guy. Just moving him over to the right side and getting comfortable. That's why we felt on day one we need to get him reps starting at right tackle.

    Q. Your team has been described at interchangeable. Since acquiring Malcolm Jenkins, based on his communication skills, because they're interchangeable, is it as important for the other safety to have those types of skills? Is that fair to say? Does a little fall more on Malcolm?

    COACH KELLY: No, that's fair to say.

    Q. Why have the whole roster here at the beginning of camp?

    COACH KELLY: Well this is the day we were starting.

    Q. As opposed to last year, when you had rookies come in early.

    COACH KELLY: We had a rookie camp last year, but we also had a young rookie quarterback. We wanted to get him in early, get him a couple extra reps.

    But, you know, after evaluating it from one year, we don't have a rookie quarterback. We also want to make sure there's a certain tempo and pace if you've seen us practice and go. To try to run our rookies into the ground when you don't have a quarterback, you know, we did that a little bit in our rookie camp. [Offensive quality control coach] Press Taylor, one of our wide receiver coaches was throwing, and it wasn't as productive as we thought it was going to be. We just wanted to hit the ground running with our guys today.

    Q. You didn’t tackle to the ground in camp last year. Is that going to be the same this year?

    COACH KELLY: We'll have a similar format. We had live tackling drills where the offensive backs went against linebackers, wide receivers went against DBs, so we’re going to stick with that. We have four preseason games where we're allowed to tackle to the ground that I checked on. 

    Q. Is everybody practicing today?

    COACH KELLY: Everybody's here, ready to go.

    Q. With the season that Foles had last year, what are you looking for him to improve on this training camp?

    COACH KELLY: Looking for him to improve in everything. I said in the off‑season, his footwork, his timing, his understanding of where the ball's supposed to go, ability to check protections and move us in the right situation, ability to check in the run game.

    Great thing about Nick is Nick understands that, too. He's still young. He had an outstanding season last year that everybody was excited about. But he knows as an individual he can still get better. That's what he worked on when we were with him in the whole off‑season program. That's what he'll continue to work on when we start today, so...

    Q. Is there something about the first week of camps, is there more of a danger of getting hurt because guys had that layoff?

    COACH KELLY: I think that's why teams have conditioning tests, to see kind of where those guys are. It wasn't a long layoff. It was only 35 days. But after watching what our guys did in the conditioning test, I'm confident our guys are prepared to go, so...

    But we may have a guy or two, you never know, you can't predict it. But right now I would say our level of conditioning and being ready to go, I'm more excited about that.

    Q. Have you noticed that other guys have gotten hurt during other teams’ camps?

    COACH KELLY: I haven't really paid attention to what's going on in other camps.

    Q. You said during the spring that Earl Wollf was back to where he was before his injury. His learning curve in terms of zone defenses, understanding of passing concepts, is that where he needs to improve the most in your estimation?

    COACH KELLY: No, I don't think there's one thing he needs to improve on. I just think it's a general overall knowledge of what we're doing, a comfort level more than that.

    I think if you asked him questions in terms of anything we're doing, he could answer it. But now can he implement it? Is it happening like that (snapping fingers)? Is he thinking on the run that it's a double formation, a motion to trips and we're going to ball snap.

    He understands what the adjustments are going to be before the adjustments come. It's more of him getting comfortable in what we're doing. 

    Q. In Keelan Johnson’s case, why the course of action that you chose?

    COACH KELLY: We sat down and talked. He's got an issue he's got to take care of. It's a little bit more important than being at the first day of camp. 

    Q. Do you have a timetable with him?

    COACH KELLY: No timetable.

    Q. Evan Mathis was reportedly considering holding out. Were you ever concerned that he wouldn't show up?

    COACH KELLY: No, I talked to Evan all along. He's here and we're ready to go.

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