Eagles coach Chip Kelly talks World Cup, gives update on team
Eagles head coach Chip Kelly spoke to the media on a number of topics on Tuesday morning. Here is a full transcript of the press conference:
Q. Did you watch the World Cup?
COACH KELLY: I watched the World Cup yesterday, the afternoon game.
Q. The guys kept fumbling. Is that apples and oranges?
COACH KELLY: I mean, I don't know what's going on with that. It's out of my realm. I'm just glad they won.
Q. You've had pretty much everybody in attendance for the OTAs.
COACH KELLY: We had a hundred percent attendance for everything, including mini‑camps.
Q. What do you think that says?
COACH KELLY: We got a bunch of guys that love playing football.
Q. Travis Long, last season, were you able to get a true evaluation of him on the practice squad, and what have you seen now on the field?
COACH KELLY: He's really improved. I think obviously when we got him, he was coming off of an injury. Spent a year on the practice squad and didn't miss any time, but you could tell he was still recovering from the injury, but has really made some great strides and is a guy that's really pushing hard to make this football team.
I think he'll be able to contribute from a special teams standpoint, obviously adding some depth at the outside linebacker spot. So he's definitely a guy you have to keep an eye on right now.
Q. What's your evaluation of the year Fletcher Cox had?
COACH KELLY: He was transitioning from a 4‑3 to a 3‑4 defense so I think his production towards the end of the year was most like everybody else on our defense. It was a little bit better towards the end of the year than it was the beginning of the year.
But he's big, physical and can run for a big guy. Very difficult to block in one‑on‑one situations, try to create some one‑on‑one situations for him but I think he's really starting to get acclimated to what we are doing on the defensive line and obviously like everybody, I think year two will be better than year one for him.
Q. How different was last year's off‑season program where you had to install everything?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, it's a lot different. Obviously there's a transition that goes on when you have a new staff. So we are all teaching new systems offensively, defensively, special teams. Players are getting to know the coaches. Coaches are getting to know the players. We are evaluating what they can do and they are evaluating us from that standpoint.
I think when everybody knows where they are supposed to go, and you don't have to explain what's going on, what this meeting is about, where we are headed to, what's the schedule, why we are doing it in this manner, [we’ll be on the right path].
We spent a lot of time explaining not only what our systems were but why we were doing what we were doing. So guys had an understanding that we are not an operation that just says do it because we said so. I believe we need to explain and make sure they understand, because the more they have a better understanding of what we are trying to get accomplished, whether it's in a meeting room for weight lifting session or training session or whatnot, I think the more they are going to get out of it.
Spent a lot of time in our first year explaining what we were doing, why we were doing it and now it's more of the older guys grabbing the younger guys and saying, ‘Hey, this is where we're going and this is what's going on and this is the reason we are going to do it’ so we don't have to spend as much time on that stuff.
Q. You have three days left before camp. Offensively, what are you trying to get in these three days?
COACH KELLY: Honestly the same things we get in the first 10 OTAs, so this is just opportunity number 11 for us. It's so it's not, we didn't take an approach that this is different than what went on in the last couple of weeks.
The only difference in the schedule is that they get to stay here in the afternoon and we had a walk through in the morning and the afternoon we get to watch tape and then we have them here a little bit longer. But our schedule and practice in terms of time periods, all the other things, is the exact same thing we did in the other 10 OTAs.
Q. Same style special teams is in ‑‑
COACH KELLY: Yeah, everything is in. The way the off‑season program goes, we had two weeks of just meetings and they were just with the strength coaches and we weren't with them on the field and then we had three weeks where we were with them on the field and the offense and defense couldn't go against each other.
Now we have had three weeks of OTAs and then this is just the last week of it so everything from an insertion standpoint and all that stuff has been in. It's been inserted actually multiple times, inserted it, went back and started over and did it again. They have an understanding of what's in.
It's just a matter of going out and executing and as I've said before, the more reps we can get on film where we can coach them off the tape, I think every one of them can spit it back to us what do you do in this situation, they can give it to you but do they actually do it and how do they step and coaching them on the intricacies of the play, whether it be offensively or defensively.
So that's what we are looking to do, just can we get a lot more film, get it on tape, coach it up and we'll watch it. And it's tape we'll use when we come back in July when we get back with these guys that, hey, we'll obviously watch today's and tomorrow's after, but then Thursday, we don't have an afternoon meeting.
So we'll follow‑up with that when they come back in July.
Q. How close is Jeremy Maclin to being all the way back?
COACH KELLY: He's participated in everything, so, you know, whether it's ‑‑ I mean that's more of a question I think for Jeremy but I think he's been cleared to do everything and has not missed anything, so he's been running around doing everything for us.
He could probably give you a better indication percentage‑wise where he feels he is at this point in time. But he's doing everything and you'll see him out here doing everything.
Q. Because of the style of your offense, quarterbacks have quick release versus arm strength or is that not fair? You guys threw down the field more than any other team last year, but do you focus on that because your guy is like a point guard?
COACH KELLY: We focus on everything. There's not one thing that we look for and say, ‘You know, he has a quick release but it's okay, he doesn't have a very strong arm.’
I think you want the whole package in terms of what you're looking for. You don't look at one and say, ‘Hey, we'll take this over this.’ I think it's a combination of how accurate a thrower he is; and I'm not going to say, ‘Hey, I want to take this guy, he can get it out of his hands really quick but he's inaccurate when he throws the football.’ So there's a lot more that goes into it than one thing.
Q. Ed Reynolds, what do you do to compensate for the time he has missed?
COACH KELLY: There is no compensation. Those are the rules. Zach [Ertz] went through it last year. Anybody that's ‑‑ I think there's six rules that still fall under that thing. We were allowed to Skype with him. So our defensive coaches and special team coaches, secondary coaches, John Lovett and [Dave] Fipp Skyped with him I think once a week.
Just follow the rules that they have in place for those guys. He got here, he participated in Thursday's OTA and he'll go through today but there's no compensation. It's not like if we put him out here now, it's like, okay, now he hasn't been here ‑‑ our whole premise is we are going to throw him in at the deep end and see if he can swim.
Q. It's not more reps, though, or anything of that nature?
COACH KELLY: No. It's not fair to the other guys. The other guys have to get reps, too.
Q. You have a bunch of guys working punts returns and kick returns. Talk about that competition that you have there and do you feel like you have the guys to make it happen?
COACH KELLY: I don't know. I think it's a difficult time in a lot of these evaluations in the spring because there's no contact, you really can't get in front of people and do things.
So we are just rolling guys through there, really working on the fundamentals of how to field the kick and how to catch a kickoff or punt and how to get it up the field a little bit. But there's a lot of ‑‑ especially in the special teams, cooperation that has to go on because of the non‑contact and everything.
So it's just getting fundamental reps of guys back there fielding balls. But who it's going to end up being or where it is, Darren is the one proven commodity that has had a lot of success in the league doing it.
But anxious to take a look at two of the young kids, Josh Huff returned kickoffs in college and Jordan Matthews returned punts in college. So get a chance to take a look at those guys and add them into the mix with some of the other guys we have active. Damaris [Johnson] and Jeff Maehl have returned kicks before. We have always tried to get Coop back there.
Just because when you have a 46‑man roster, who is your backup returner, it becomes a big question. So if you lose your returner in the game, who can go out there in a pinch. We are just trying to get those guys fundamental reps right now.
Q. What have you seen out of Josh Huff?
COACH KELLY: The same thing, I know him extremely well just because I had an opportunity to coach him for three years. Great work ethic, an explosive player that really can change direction very, very quickly. He's big, he's physical.
He's just transitioning because our terminology is different than what he had in college. I can explain because I know what his terminology in college was like, so we called it this [at Oregon and we call it this now]. Real student of the game. I think he and Jordan [Matthews] have hit it off and really play off each other right now so it's two good young guys to go together.
Q. Talking about Fletcher in the defensive line earlier, would you like to be able to rotate defensive linemen more this year?
COACH KELLY: It all just depends on the players. You know, you want to get your best players out there but obviously if, depending on the amount of snaps, the fresher you can have guys out there, the better.
If you're going against an offensive lineman it's a 70‑snap game, and throwing two bodies at them and they are of equal ability, you can do that. If you have one guy that's just head and shoulders above the other guy, you have to keep him on the field a bit more.
Q. Looking at Huff, he is built almost like a running back, do you see yourself getting him the ball in different ways?
COACH KELLY: He has the ability. He's a dynamic kid, running after the catch with the ball in his hands and that's why we are looking at him as a returner now.
We are conscious with our young guys not to overload them from a mental standpoint and there's still a lot of learning. I think the perception that because Josh played with Oregon, he can step up. But our offense is totally different than it was at Oregon.
It's still a learning curve for him. The one thing that he has that I don't have the benefit of with Jordan is I understand where Josh came from. So I know the language that he spoke the last couple of years. So I can help him and say, this is this, this is this. But this is new, this one is new, and this is what we called it over here. There's some similarities but I understand where the terminology gap is going to be for him.
Q. What's the value of having the two rookie receivers that can kind of be together in meetings and on the field and off the field probably and having two rookie guys at the same position?
COACH KELLY: We have four, you have to add Kadron Boone and Quron Pratt to that. So the four young receivers right now, have really, really impressed with just their ‑‑ what they want to get accomplished here. They are here every day early. They work extremely hard. They are always asking questions so I think the four of them are feeding off each other.
Q. Villanueva, what kind of camp has he had so far, he's gained some weight. Just talk about his progression.
COACH KELLY: He's doing a real nice job. I think you forget what he's transitioning from. Not only did he spend his stint with the Army, but his last year at West Point, he was a wide receiver, and now he's playing defensive line in the National Football League.
So not only is it a transition because he has not played football in a couple years; it's he's playing really a new position. He played some defensive end I think his sophomore, junior year at Army, but then he was moved to offensive line. Then he went from offensive line to wide receiver, so he's had a real varied background.
But it's impressive to see a guy that's had that much of a background, have that much of a layoff, to see how he's acclimated and fit in. When we got a chance to see him work out, when we brought him in to work him out, you could tell how athletic he is for a guy that's 6‑9. Now he's up, I think he was 277; he's gained some weight now, because he was running four or five miles a day just to keep in training for the army, so it's a little bit different running that's going on here.
So he's a guy that I think you can really keep an eye on just because he's got such an upside and I really don't know how the whole thing will pan out but in terms of a work ethic and things like that, his is kind of second to none.
Q. Is there something Cedric can do to, any linemen, something that he can do in the off‑season dramatically to improve their pass rush?
COACH KELLY: Dramatically? I don't know if dramatically but I think everybody can improve. The one thing we have said is how hard he works. He was here every day in the off‑season, did a lot of hand work in the off‑season. So there's a lot of things. The one thing you forget about him is he's still extremely young. He's just going into his third year.
All of them can improve but I think ‑‑ I don't know if I would use the word dramatic for anybody at this point in time when you're in the National Football League. I don't think you're going to go from all of a sudden turning into a 15‑sack guy, but I think he can improve, yeah.
Q. What kind of progress do you see from Nick Foles just in the springtime?
COACH KELLY: Just a better command and an understanding of what's going on. You know, lining guys up. Coaches were lining everybody up last year. But now Nick has really got a great command of what we are doing offensively to kind of ‑‑ and you can just see it.
There's a lot more confidence in how he's playing and now it's just a matter of refining the little things for him, footwork, hand‑offs, carrying off fakes. Not the minor details; they are really major details, but he's not worried with where he's going with the ball. It's just how is he going to do that; how can he manipulate the safety, but he's still going to throw the ball to his left.
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