Following the Eagles OTA workouts on Tuesday, head coach Chip Kelly spoke with the media about the rookies' progress, other new Eagles, and various position battles.
Here's a full transcript of Kelly's session with the media:
Q. How has WR Jordan Matthews been playing?
CHIP KELLY: Jordan has done a nice job since he's gotten here. Obviously for all the rookies it's getting acclimated with what we are doing in terms of schemes and learning new terminology but you get great effort and a consistent approach on a daily basis from what he gives you. So, [we’re] really excited about them. But right now he's still just acting like a rookie.
Q. Is it dangerous to move Matthews around and not have him focus on one aspect of the WR position?
CHIP KELLY: Is it dangerous? [Joking] It's extremely dangerous. No, they are just learning the offense and trying to get a feel for what they can do, and part of this process for us is not only are they learning it but we are learning them so what are their strengths, what are their weaknesses.
We've got a long way before we play a game, so it's just a matter of getting as many guys out there and getting as many reps as we can with them.
Q. The OTAs, breaking them up and only having a certain number of days, does it make it more difficult how you do your job or you just change how you would do it?
CHIP KELLY: No, I mean, I don't look at it that way. I look at it here is the rules and just implement them. I think you're wasting time. I hear people complain about them but they are not going to change. This is the amount of time and it's how it's allotted and how do we use it as efficiently as possible and that's what we are always looking to do.
Q. LB Marcus Smith says he's learning LB Connor Barwin's position right now. Is that the plan, or to ease him in and have him learn both of them?
CHIP KELLY: Piggyback off of that. It's trying to figure out what those guys can do and what their skill set is and what their strengths and weaknesses are, and then we'll go from there.
But you got to start them somewhere. You can't say, hey, learn every single position. Just want to put them at one spot and figure out what their strengths and weaknesses are as we evaluate them. We are in the eighth OTA today and see how they go. We have two more OTAs, Wednesday, Thursday, and then we have three days next week. And then we'll sit down as a staff and what's our plan as we approach preseason camp.
Q. RB Chris Polk didn’t have a ton of touches last year but he seemed to be pretty productive when he played ‑‑
CHIP KELLY: He did and he's really had a great off‑season. He worked extremely hard rehabbing his shoulders but he was one of our key special teams players for us and starting to ‑‑ you look at from probably the Detroit game on, he had a couple really big runs in that game and starting to develop as a back and just trying to figure it out again where he fits in that piece. Obviously we have a talented one in [RB] LeSean [McCoy], and then when you add [RB Darren] Sproles to the mix, where does Chris fit into it? But I think in terms what has he done in the off‑season, I think he's really put himself in the picture.
Q. Can you explain the decision to have QB Mark Sanchez running with the second team right now?
CHIP KELLY: There is no decision. There's no decision. We're just getting reps. So there's not a decision of who's who.
Q. QB Matt Barkley is supposed to be with QB G.J. Kinne, so that’s less than --
CHIP KELLY: It's not less ‑‑ we chart it every day. Our ones and twos and threes are getting the same amount of reps. G.J. sometimes takes the one reps when it comes back.
If anybody is trying to make anything of who is playing what or how many reps, all we are trying to do is see if we can get three reps a minute as fast as we can go, get it on tape and coach off of that.
So there's nothing to read into who is where, what, whatever, because we're not playing a game until September. We are just trying to get as many plays as we can possibly get. So I would not read anything into who is where or what.
Q. There was some thought given to putting Marcus in that spot in Connor's spot. What was the thought there?
CHIP KELLY: We had two, we had Brandon [Graham] backing up Trent [Cole]. So we had no one backing up Connor right now. So let's get him on the field and see what he can do.
Q. What have you seen from Sanchez so far?
CHIP KELLY: He's done a really nice job. Unique situation for Mark because he's probably ahead of where Nick [Foles] and Michael [Vick] were last year because he has Nick to rely on. So everything was new for everybody in the quarterback room last year.
Now when you add Mark to the room, he's learning from Nick; he's learning from Matt [Barkley]. And he's got guys that have been through it before. He is really sharp and he work extremely hard. He's got a great work ethic and really, really wants to perform. Spends a lot of time and asks a lot of really good questions.
And he also has probably a lot more experience than a lot of guys. He's played in this league for a long time and has got 60‑plus starts.
Been real impressed with how quickly he's picked it up, and for him it's really just learning new terminology. A lot of the routes are things he has done when he was with the Jets. It's just trying to say, it's called this here and now it's called this now that I'm with Philadelphia.
But I've been impressed with his football background. He's still working through his shoulder. I don't believe he's 100 percent now but he has not missed any reps, so I'm real impressed with him so far.
Q. How has S Malcolm Jenkins done with picking up the defense and serving as the quarterback in the secondary?
CHIP KELLY: He’s been outstanding and I said that the last time I talked to you guys; his ability, because he's played multiple positions in this league, he's been a corner, he's been a safety. Rob Ryan, I have a ton of respect for, runs a pretty sophisticated defense in New Orleans, and I think his ability to transition from that to ours, there are some similarities in terms of what we are doing. He's become the vocal leader on the back end for us, so we are excited to see where he's going.
Q. Does that surprise you at all that he was able to pick it up?
CHIP KELLY: No, it's one of the reasons we targeted him and that's what we were looking for and he had the specific skill set that we were looking for. So he was the No. 1 guy we were looking for in free agency.
Q. You’re counting on the veterans to improve in their second year in the scheme. What goes into that projection?
CHIP KELLY: I'm confused with the question. We are counting on every veteran to improve I guess.
Q. If you look at a 31‑year‑old player ‑‑
CHIP KELLY: We look at guys as individuals. I don't look at it as ‑‑ there's not an age. I've seen some 31‑year‑old guys that are broken down and can't even move, and I've seen some 30‑year‑old guys that can play five more years.
So we look at the individual and how they performed and what they produced and where we think they are going.
Q. In Trent's case, why do you think he's better in the second year?
CHIP KELLY: Just more experience, having a better understanding of what we are trying to do. I would hope everybody on our team is better in their second year because they have a better understanding of what they are doing both offensively, defensively and on special teams.
Q. You talk about formulating the offensive gameplan; how does defensive coordinator Billy Davis go about spearheading that and taking advice from other position coaches?
CHIP KELLY: I think it's always a collaborative effort. I don't think on any staff, whether you're in the NFL or in college, there's not one guy that sits in the room and says here is a game plan and go teach it.
You sit down and you break down film by situations, by personnel, and you spitball ideas and everybody comes up with kind of how you want to approach it, what their thought processes are. I think one of Billy's great strengths is that he listens to people. But finally, ultimately, the group has to make a decision and that's the same way we do it offensively.
Q. What has QB Nick Foles done to expand his leadership role?
CHIP KELLY: I just think Nick is more comfortable with the situation and obviously being in his second year you would anticipate that but I think now, he's not wondering what's next. He knows what's expected during the off‑season program during phase one, during phase two, when you get into the OTAs and when you get into mini‑camps; so he can help the younger players.
That's one thing Nick is really good at is taking the young guys. Right now he's been taking the young guys under his wing and showing them, this is how we do this, this is how we approach this. He's done the same thing with Mark, this is how we want it to look, this is the vision we want to have for what this thing is supposed to look like, and he can articulate that really well. And what he did last year from a performance standpoint, people are going to listen to him.
Q. Given the time of year, is it easier to evaluate offensive players at this point compared to defensive players?
CHIP KELLY: I think it's difficult for both, especially in the lines. Look at some of the young guys, is he a good drive blocker? Well, we can't drive block each other. The biggest cooperation has to go on between the offensive and defensive guys, and our guys understand that. And I think more importantly we tell them as a coaching staff we understand that.
A lot of times out there, I know he wouldn't have made the play. I understand that, that would have been a sack. But we can't go near the quarterback. We have to stay away.
Obviously there's a certain amount of work we know we have to get done, and part of that is there's a lot of guys in certain situations that are pulling back just because you don't want to risk injury. And we can get a good amount of work done but obviously there's certain questions that won't be answered until we get a chance to put the pads on.
Q. Have you seen any payoff from K Alex Henery this Spring, especially with his kickoffs?
CHIP KELLY: Yeah, I think he's gotten a little bit stronger in terms of the distance he's kicking the ball and in terms of where we are placing the ball during kickoff drill.
Excited to see where it is, especially when we get into some real live situations. The tough thing with the kickers is we can't rush them, we can't do anything. A lot of times right now it's like they are going out on the driving range and hitting balls. It's not real live action for them.
Again it's another position where we won't have anything determined until we get into preseason camp and get into some preseason games.
Q. Most of the rookies have been running with the second and third teams. Does that speak to the increased depth at each position?
CHIP KELLY: No, it's usually what we do. We script it that way. Our ones obviously have a better grasp of the playbook, so in certain situations, we want to see things done.
So instead of slowing down 10 other guys, because one guy is not sure what the play is, we make sure we know when that group is in where they are. I think [offensive coordinator] Pat [Shurmur] and [defensive coordinator] Billy [Davis] have done a really good job of cooperating on how they are scripting and the looks they are going to face. Just a combination of where it is.
Q. In Sproles’ case, what have you learned about him as his coach that you may not have known coaching against him?
CHIP KELLY: I don't think I learned anything. You know, we knew he was a really, really talented player and when he got here, he showed that right from the jump.
We heard from the coaches that coached him what an intelligent football player he is and learned that from the first day he was in this building and how sharp he is and how dedicated he is.
I talked to Norv Turner and he remarked to me when I saw him at one of the pro days, he said, ‘You'll have to slow him down because he only knows one speed.’ And that's the same thing you see. Darren practices and trains at one speed. It's awesome. He fits in with the culture that we want in terms of preparation but it's everything we wanted when we got him here.
Q. Talk about LB Mychal Kendricks and how he’s been calling plays and setting up the defense – something he didn’t do last year. Is that a natural part of his progress?
CHIP KELLY: No, he did that one day so far because [LB] DeMeco [Ryans] wasn't here. He mimics what DeMeco says but if you listened to the call, DeMeco is making the call. Mychal is just getting comfortable; if for some reason DeMeco is not here, gets an injury, rolls an ankle, he's sick, Mychal can step in.
That's just part of everybody getting outside of their comfort zone and expanding their role. Instead of waiting for someone to tell him what we are going to call, he's going to make the call himself, not a big deal.
Q. How do you balance out the tight end position with Brent Celek and Zach Ertz?
CHIP KELLY: We got a really good one in [TE] James Casey, also. But again we are not playing any games so we are just trying to get as many reps as we can. They are both playing tight end and they are both playing move tight end. They are just getting better at what they do and trying to get as many reps as they possibly can.
Q. How has the progression from T Lane Johnson been?
CHIP KELLY: He's different. Obviously he's not a first‑year player and he's not relying on [G] Todd Herremans to make the call for him. Similar to Mychal Kendricks, I think sometimes Mychal leaned on DeMeco and didn't make the decisions himself. Last year a lot, Lane made decisions with Todd Herremans; and Todd just told me what to do and executed. Now Lane knows what to do and he's communicating a little bit better with those guys.
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