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Chip Kelly: Build Upon The Positives

Posted Sep 30, 2013

One day after a disheartening 52-20 loss to the Denver Broncos, Chip Kelly met with the media to discuss the state of his team. Though the Eagles aren’t returning to the practice fields until Tuesday, Kelly and his coaching staff are already looking to put Sunday’s game behind them and move on to the team’s next opponent.

“I’m ready to go,” Kelly said. “We have to go play the Giants. We put the game to bed last night. We watched it and graded it on the plane ride home and as a staff today we went over the film - offensively, defensively and special teams - and now we’re fully on to the New York Giants.”

Following a 32-point defeat, Kelly said it was natural for a team to feel down in the locker room after the game. Now, he and the rest of the Eagles staff will be making sure that the players are ready to go for the week of preparation that lies ahead.  

“You see the energy that they show up with,” Kelly said. “Today’s an off day for them. I think there are a couple of guys that will go in and get treatment or whatnot. Tomorrow we come back, starting with meetings. What’s our mindset like? What’s our energy level like? What’s it going to be like when we hit the practice field?

“We talk to everybody about (keeping their heads up). I don’t think that’s anything uncommon when you’ve lost a couple games, that you’ve got to talk about what your attitude is like and how we approach this week of getting ready to go play the Giants.”

The Eagles trailed Denver by just eight points at halftime, 21-13, but the Broncos would go on to put up 21 unanswered points in the third quarter to blow the game wide open. Throughout the game, the Eagles moved the ball well on offense, racking up 450 total yards, but they struggled to cap off their drives with touchdowns, to which Kelly attributed mental mistakes.

“There are a lot of things (that we need to improve on),” Kelly explained. “You look at - specifically yesterday - penalties and drops. We’re in the red zone and drop the ball and then potentially in the red zone once and get a penalty, and in the red zone (another time) and get a penalty. When you set yourself back and now you’re playing first-and-20s or second-and-20s, that makes it a little more difficult. When we’re in the red zone we talk about no sacks, no turnovers, no penalties and no drops, and those are the things that are hurting us. Right now, it’s been the penalties and it’s been the drops.”

The Eagles offense, and specifically playmaker DeSean Jackson, has been well-contained in the last two games, with both the Chiefs and Broncos playing more man-to-man defense. Jackson has just 96 receiving yards in the past two games, after going off for 297 yards in the Eagles’ first two contests. Though Kelly acknowledges the different defensive looks, he believes that the Eagles themselves have been more of the issue.

“I think we’ve seen just a little bit more man (defense) and I think that’s with everybody and I also think we’ve been productive with moving the football, but I still just think that we’re stopping ourselves,” Kelly stated. “We’re not getting stopped by a scheme or stopped by a look. I think we’ve been in situations where we’ve driven the football and we’ve proven that we can drive the football, but again the penalties - two weeks ago when we played the Chiefs it was the penalty situation with the false starts and the illegal procedures and those types of things that handcuffed us as a football team. I think this past game it was the holding penalties and the drops that hurt our football team.”

Special teams were another issue for the Eagles on Sunday, as they allowed both a 105-yard kick return touchdown and a blocked punt that was returned 17 yards for a score. Though the special teams units have been good for the Eagles at times this season, Kelly knows that they need to be more consistent.

“At times, I think it’s been a real strength for us,” said Kelly. “The mistakes that were made, specifically on the kickoff and the punt, are things that we (practice) on a daily basis. It’s not like we put in a new scheme or we put in something special for the Broncos game that, ‘Hey, we were going to try to do this,’ and then you look at it and say that scheme kind of backfired. It’s base fundamental protection and base fundamental coverage that we didn’t get done on those two particular plays.

Also of concern, Alex Henery missed a field goal for the third consecutive game. Henery, who set a franchise record for field goal accuracy in his 2011 rookie season (88.9 percent), has missed three field goals in four games this season after missing a combined seven attempts in his first two campaigns. Despite the early-season struggles, Kelly’s faith in his kicker has not been shaken.

“I think Alex is a really good kicker,” said Kelly. “I think he’s been really accurate throughout his entire career. … We’ll continue to work with him. He’s been extremely accurate, I think he’s 85 percent for his career, just right now we’re 7-of-10 in field goals and when you’re playing a game like this against really good teams, that stuff gets magnified. I do have confidence in him. I know that Coach (Dave) Fipp has confidence in him. I think he’s a really accurate kicker. I see him in practice every single day, and from a kicking standpoint I’m pretty confident in him.”

Kelly and the rest of the Eagles must put this game in their rear view and prepare for the 0-4 Giants that are in desperate need of a win, especially against a divisional opponent. Kelly is taking the positives that he can from Sunday’s defeat and is moving forward as he prepares for his second NFC East matchup.

“We did some good things,” Kelly said. “I thought offensively we moved the ball, and there are some correctable mistakes there. We competed on the defensive side of the ball. I think we left them on the field a little bit too much in the third quarter, and I think on special teams, aside from the punt block and the return, we’re getting a decent job and decent effort out of those guys. I think there are some positives and then you look at the negatives and you put a plan in place to correct what you’re doing wrong, and then build upon the positives as we get ready to go play the Giants.”

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