Eagles head coach Chip Kelly spoke to reporters on Wednesday in advance of Friday's preseason opener against the Bears in Chicago. Here is the full transcript:
Q. What’s going to be the rotation for Friday's game?
CHIP KELLY: We're trying to get our starters or 1s somewhere between 10 to 15 snaps, just depends on how the game goes, and then we'll start to substitute after that. It could be ‑‑ really just depends on offensively or defensively how much success they're having. Could be you've got a couple three‑and‑outs and they've got to go back out there, but if you get two decent drives, and I think we feel like that's what we're aiming for right now, but it's got to be kind of a fluid situation.
Q. Do you expect WR Jeremy Maclin and WR Riley Cooper to be out there?
CHIP KELLY: Not sure about Mac. We'll see. I don't think Coop will go.
Q. Can you give any more of an update on what's going on with Riley's timetable, exactly what he's dealing with?
CHIP KELLY: He's got a foot, and it's a day‑to‑day thing, and we'll see how he feels.
Q. What's going on with CB Nolan Carroll's injury? What's his status for Friday?
CHIP KELLY: Nolan has got a muscle deal in his ‑‑ I don't know if it's a hamstring or a groin, but just a couple‑day thing and he should be back soon.
Q. Will he play Friday?
CHIP KELLY: I don't expect him to play Friday, no.
Q. How have you divided up the kicking responsibilities?
CHIP KELLY: Alex [Henery] will start. I think [special teams coach Dave] Fipp wants to see if we can get Carey [Spear] a kick, but a lot of times that's fluid, if we're not in a kicking situation. It depends on how the game goes. Obviously Alex will start and we'll just see how it goes from there.
Q. Do you go into a game like this really wanting to see the young guys as opposed to maybe some of the veteran guys?
CHIP KELLY: No, I think you want to see everybody. You want to be able to evaluate them. We haven't played a game since the beginning of January last year against the Saints, so get out there against a different color jersey and find out what we've got. There's a certain amount of work I think everybody that's healthy needs to get in, and then we'll move on from there. There's a lot things that can ‑‑ that we all need exposure to. There's a new emphasis in the league. There's some rule changes. You've got officials. Although we did have a real good session with the officials here last week, we didn't have the full complement. We didn't have all seven of them. I think the guys we had were a lot more back‑end oriented. There weren't guys up front. There wasn't a referee. There weren't guys watching the interior line play, so how do we handle that from an official standpoint, so there's a lot of different things that you want to get accomplished, and it's exciting just to get back out and play football for real again.
Q. You obviously saw enough of Maclin last year before the injury to want to bring him back. He's already played more than he did last year during camp. What are you seeing about his development, especially coming back from the ACL, but also within the offense? Do you still envision using him the same way he did last year prior to his injury?
CHIP KELLY: I mean, we didn't do anything with him last year. He went down before we put the pads on him, so there really wasn't any vision for where he was fitting in. Obviously he's extremely talented. It was just unfortunate that we didn't get a lot of work with him. He was in the process like everybody last year because it was their first year of learning things. The things that stick out with him is he's explosive, he gets off the line of scrimmage. He obviously has speed to separate. He's a very, very good route runner. He's got some legitimate line of scrimmage strength where he can kind of maneuver a little bit, doesn't get knocked off balance. He catches the ball really well, and I anticipate, but I haven't seen it, but you've seen it before with him on film, is that he's really good with the ball in his hands after the catch and see if you can put him in some situations where he can catch and run. Just happy to see him get back out there full and get ready to run.
Q. Nolan as a kick returner, I know the depth chart doesn't always ‑‑ can you talk before he got hurt how he was doing?
CHIP KELLY: He was doing a real nice job, but I wouldn't put much into depth charts. You've got to send one out, so who's solidified as our No. 1 kick returner isn't based upon what we put down a couple days ago on paper. But he's definitely in the mix there. He's got outstanding speed and can really hit it. A lot of guys back there, sometimes it's a different mindset than maybe a punt returner. You need to kind of hit it up there and almost trust it that you're going to get through and come out to the other side. Some guys that are more make‑you‑miss guys are going to kind of dance a little bit, but especially on the kick return we want guys that can get up field, and he's demonstrated when we were in the off‑season program last spring and through camp that he seems like he has those qualities, so we're anxious to see if we can get him in a game and see what he can do.
Q. Does putting him at the top of the depth chart have anything to do with seeing that?
CHIP KELLY: Seriously, the depth chart, I don't care. I think [Eagles PR Director] Derek [Boyko] did it. I mean, it's absolutely nothing. I know we're going to get questions on it, and I'll be honest with you, I do not care how that's listed, added. I said a long time ago, it's written in sand, it's written in water, it can be written in anything. That depth chart means absolutely nothing. The only reason we make one is because they tell us to make one. Call it whatever you want to call it.
Q. In RB Darren Sproles' case there's curiosity about how you'll use him. In the preseason are you reluctant to put on tape the ways you'll use him in the season?
CHIP KELLY: No, I think everybody has seen him used, so it's not ‑‑ you've seen him be a returner, you've seen him be a running back, you've seen him be a receiver. He's not going to be an offensive lineman, but he'll play all those positions for us. I don't think anybody is going to look at our preseason tape and say they're hiding him and not using him to do this, but Darren like everybody else needs reps in our offense. He's been very successful in the other offense. He's been very successful in everything we've asked him to do, but it's hard‑pressed to put a guy in a game and say, all right, now all of a sudden we're going to do this with you but he doesn't have reps at it so he's not comfortable. I think there's too much written into, well, they're hiding this and they're hiding that. We need to get our guys ready to go play a game.
Q. RB LeSean McCoy, that obviously brings another ‑‑
CHIP KELLY: But it's not like that's going to be a surprise, like oh, my God, they're in the game at the same time. I think when people go to play us, they realize that we can put those guys on the field at the same time. I don't think we're going to catch anybody off guard the first time we put them out there and no one covers Darren Sproles and they go, oh, we really fooled them this time. I don't think that's going to happen.
Q. What do you see more from your quarterbacks out here ‑‑ your backup quarterbacks. I'm not talking about Nick Foles, I'm talking about the backups. What do you really judge more, a game or here?
CHIP KELLY: Both. I think we evaluate them on a daily basis, how are they in the meeting rooms, what are they like when [quarterbacks] coach [Bill] Musgrave is talking to them, what are they like when we're in group settings and answering questions and then what are they like out here, and then what are they also like when now the rush is coming in on them. But it's very rare that a guy is doing awful on the practice field and then all of a sudden in the game goes out and goes 6-for-6 and he makes every check and hits everything the right way and all of a sudden the light just goes on. It's a combination of both, but it is a little bit different from them because they're not hit in practice. The pocket collapses around them every once in a while. They do have to move their feet and adjust to it, but they know that people are supposed to stay away from them. On Friday night they're not going to stay away from them, so it's a different environment.
Q. Do you try to get these guys enough time in a game to really judge them that way, and how do you do that with your backups?
CHIP KELLY: We're judging all of them so I don't think you can just say at that. If you wanted to judge the quarterbacks you would throw every single down when they were in, but we also have to judge our offensive linemen, can they run block. We have a bunch of young running backs; we've got to see how they compete and what they can do. There's a lot of different aspects to it. In the ideal world you're just going to judge a quarterback whenever you put your 2s and 3s in you'd throw every down and never run it, but then how do we find out how good a run blocker [T] Matt Tobin is or [C] Dave Molk is or some of those guys. You're not just evaluating them, you're evaluating the other 10 guys on the field with them at the same time.
Q. What are your hopes for LB Marcus Smith in what's really his first time in action?
CHIP KELLY: I hope to see the same out of everybody. I hope they rise to the occasion and go out there and rip it up. But I have the same expectations. It doesn't matter if you were the first pick or you were an undrafted free agent or we signed you in the off‑season. We don't have any different expectations for Marcus than we do for [DT] Beau Allen. It's really a chance to get to see guys in live action with officials in a different setting and see which guys can show up a little bit, and that's the interesting thing of this, there's going to be some guys that I think maybe someone didn't have an idea where they were going to be, and there's going to be some other guys that maybe will disappoint, but you don't know until you can put them into action.
Q. When you drafted DE Taylor Hart and DT Beau Allen, there was some talk about schemes, that maybe that helped them go where they went, but they seem to be doing well. They obviously haven't gotten game action, but what have you seen out of those two specifically, and can you talk about the balance between these guys fitting what you guys do and just their raw talent.
CHIP KELLY: They both have the physical skills to play defensive line in the National Football League, but I think that the good thing for those guys is they've been in two‑gap defenses at the college level so that they have a better grasp or a better understanding than someone that just came out of a one‑gap system. There's some skills that are taught a 3‑4 nose tackle or defensive ends is a little bit different than a 4‑3 interior guy or defensive ends, and it's just a different skill set. It doesn't mean that some guys don't have it, but it's how familiar are they with it, how good are they with their hands, have they been drilled in a certain way or trained in a certain way before they got here.
I think the advantage that Taylor and Beau both have is that they've had an opportunity to two‑gap at the college level.
Q. You said initially that the decision to go with the two‑gap 3‑4 part of it was because that was a defense well‑equipped to take on spread offenses. Why is that the case? What about it makes it well‑equipped against the spread?
CHIP KELLY: I don't think that's the only thing, but I think the ability of the guys to play two gaps in that you don't have to devote ‑‑ you can, quote‑unquote, stop the run with five guys in the box as opposed to having an extra. Usually you have to outnumber them in the box, but if you do, you're a little bit lighter in the secondary, so if you have defensive linemen that can two‑gap and make plays off of two‑gapping, then I think you can play with one less guy in the box at times.
Q. Have you seen a big difference in CB Curtis Marsh this year?
CHIP KELLY: Yeah, Curtis his improved. He's one of those guys that I think one year to the next, as he's moved into his second year in our system is making plays at a really good ‑‑ last couple days he's really come along, broken up a lot of passes, and have seen improvement from Curtis, and he's another guy that we're excited, got high expectations when we put him out there against the Bears.
Q. Where has TE Zach Ertz made the biggest drives from the end of last year and is he more versatile than at the end of last year?
CHIP KELLY: Than the end of last year? I think he's about the same from a versatility standpoint. He played outside for us last year and in the slot and a little bit of tight end, and he's doing the same things now. Again, as I say with all those guys, it's just the growth in the system. He's not a young rookie coming out of Stanford trying to figure out exactly what we're doing. He got better as the second part of the season went along last year just because he got more familiar with what we're doing and he kind of picked up where he left off. He was kind of behind a little bit to be honest with you because he missed a little part of the spring, but has picked up since we got back here in preseason camp in terms of ‑‑ he's always been great with assignments, and I think that was just a matter of giving him some reps in terms of being confident and what we're asking him to do out there.
Q. Nick Foles spoke a lot this summer about cutting down his sacks and getting rid of the ball instead of taking those yards for loss. How is that process coming with him and are the games really a better indication of that than what you see out here?
CHIP KELLY: Yeah, the games are an indication, because out here, again, the quarterbacks are red jerseys and they're not getting hit, they're not getting taken to the ground. You're making arbitrary decisions if that would have been a sack or maybe it wouldn't be a sack, and he's moving up in the pocket, someone is getting a hand on him. I think all the defenders think if they get a hand on him that is a sack. But in a game and the reality of it, one of Nick's strengths is that he is 6'6", 250 pounds, and you're going to have to get more than just a hand on him to take him down to the ground.
It's one of the things that he knows he needs to work on and we need to do a better job, and it's something that we talked about in the off‑season that we need to ‑‑ we're going to improve on the offensive side of the ball. We need to not be in as many negative yardage situations.
Q. Do you expect the changes in the extra point to have an effect on the success rate or on the amount of two‑point conversions thrown?
CHIP KELLY: I don't think in the preseason. I think everybody is going to kick them because you want to see what your kicker can do. I don't know. I mean, the statistics will tell you when you back it up, the percentages aren't as high as what they were. I think they were at almost an all‑time high this year in terms of the extra point. I think they should narrow the goalposts if they want to make it a little bit, but no one asked me.
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