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Game Vs. Steelers: Head Coach Chip Kelly

Posted Aug 21, 2014

Chip, what happened to WR Jeremy Maclin on that play?

COACH KELLY: I didn't see it. I just saw him on the ground and I think everybody thought the worst, but he got back up and went back in. He said he was okay. I went out there and [head team physician Peter DeLuca] and [head athletic trainer Chris] Peduzzi were with him and said he was okay, so he went back in.
 
I know K Alex Henery made a field goal early in the game. But do you think he's battling confidence right now?

COACH KELLY: I wish I could put my finger on it. I don't know what he's battling. But obviously you have to make a field goal like that. You have to make it.
 
Do you think you're going to bring in another kicker?

COACH KELLY: I don't know. But if outside influences are going to affect you, then that's something you've got to deal with. You know what I mean? There is going to be competition at every position. Our job is to make sure we put the best players out there and the guys that give us the best chance.
 
How would you assess the competition at that position?

COACH KELLY: I couldn't assess it after. We just got [K Cody Parkey] literally this afternoon. We obviously need to bring someone else in, and that's what we did, and we'll see. We've got another week. The good thing is we have a week before we go play the Jets so we have a chance. I met Parkey in the locker room so.
 
What were you thinking when you saw Maclin go down? Are you happy with your depth at that position if you were to lose one of those guys?

COACH KELLY: I don't think anybody's happy with their depth at any position if they lose a starter. I'd be sad if we lost [RB LeSean] McCoy or [QB Nick] Foles or anybody. [TE Brent] Celek. We only have 46 guys active, it is what it is. We only carry five, six receivers, probably five on game day. It is what it is. When Mac was down, I was hoping he was okay and he was so.
 
What have you seen from the first team offense?

COACH KELLY: Well, obviously in the Chicago game, we didn't do a very good job offensively. I thought defensively we did a better job, but offensively I don't know if it was three series, two interceptions and ten penalties it seemed like. I just think they're not shooting themselves in the foot. They're executing the way they're capable of executing. I thought we ran the ball fairly well. We had a good mix. I think we got the ball spread around to different receivers. Our tight ends were instrumental for us. We got the ball out wide. Having [WR Riley] Cooper back obviously helped; he made a couple big catches on third down, getting Mac back in there. So I see improvement. The one thing defensively, I thought those guys did a really good job. The big thing for us is our twos went in the third quarter, but their ones stayed in, and I thought our twos handled themselves fairly well. [QB Mark] Sanchez drove us down and we got a score there. I thought our defense did a really good job with the second group in there. We're still a ways away, but fortunately, we've got some time here. We've got a legitimate week to prepare for the Jets game and then ten days till the opener.
 
Their down defense was better, two of five in the first five. Do you think it was the pass rush?

COACH KELLY: Like I said, it's a combination of everything. It's a pass‑rush but we're closing coverage too. So sometimes you can have a real good pass rush but we're not creating coverage, so the ball's coming out quick and guys are open. But I thought we were close to the receivers and that forced [QB Ben Roethlisberger] to hold the ball a little bit. Even the touchdown he threw, that's why he is who he is. He got flushed pretty good and came up and drops the ball only where it could be dropped. I think [S Chris] Maragos was really close to trying to make an undercut on the ball, and it was over an outstretched arm. It was just a hell of a throw on the run. Even the ones that converted, we moved him a little bit, so that was good to see. So we still need to do a better job, especially when you play big guys like that. We've got to get them on the ground.
 
DE Brandon Bair continues to flash even though he’s on the older side. How much does that weigh into your factor when you're looking at younger guys?

COACH KELLY: I hope he doesn't age more than four or five years during the season. My concern is the season. So I think if he continues to put himself in positions to play, then our focus with those guys is what's going to help us immediately. We're not building for the future. Our future is right now.
 
How do you feel he's competing?

COACH KELLY: I feel he's competing really well. He's done a really good job in all three games he's played. We got a tipped pass in there on an early third down. I think he's doing a good job and he's right in the mix.
 
What are you seeing from LB Mychal Kendricks and the way he's developing this summer?

COACH KELLY: Mychal has gotten better. I say it a lot but it’s true, with all those guys, it's their second year and he has a better understanding. If you see him off the field, him and [LB] DeMeco [Ryans] are inseparable, they work extremely well together. They're always talking football and always involved in terms of what's going on. We want him to make that jump from year one to year two. It should be a big improvement just because of the understanding of what's going on. I can see it on the field. As he continues to develop, we're really excited about him in there.
 
What did you think of RB LeSean McCoy?

COACH KELLY: The update is he hurt his thumb and he was out. So I haven't talked to him since then. I was talking to him on the sideline and he seemed to be in good spirits, so I don't think it's a big deal.
 
RB Darren Sproles?

COACH KELLY: [RB Darren Sproles] did a nice job. Again, we tripped that one time and ended up throwing a pick to [S Troy] Polamalu, he trips over the lineman's feet. I thought for the extended period, it's what we've seen in practice. He can hit things. He's a really good zone runner, so I'm really excited about him, and it was good to get [RB Matthew] Tucker back. He missed some time there with the hamstring, but we need to get healthy and get everybody competing there and find out who really the third running back is going to be. So it was good to get Tucker in there and [RB Henry] Josey and [RB] Kenjon [Barner] some carries, too, so we can make a full evaluation in that position.
 
After four quarters of action, what do you see from Nick Foles going into this point of the season?

COACH KELLY: I saw improvement from the first game which is what we were striving for from everybody. He didn't play well against Chicago, but I thought he did play well in his snaps against the Patriots game. Thought he did a nice job here getting around to some different receivers, keeping drives alive. So happy with where he is, but he'll be the first to tell you he needs to continue to get better.
 
What about T Allen Barbre? He seemed to have trouble early on?

COACH KELLY: Protection looked clean. I know there was one where he got flushed a little bit, but on some of those guys up front, I'll have to look at the tape. But I thought overall our offensive and defensive lines did a really good job in terms of our ability to move the ball and our stability to stop them from moving the ball.
 
Is there something going on in practice with Henery as far as bringing in another kid there?

COACH KELLY: No, we want to get competition. We thought bringing [K] Carey [Spear] in here we were going to have some competition, then when we had an opportunity to get Cody we felt that Alex had pulled away from Carey in terms of what we've seen in practice in terms of how many kicks are made and getting the chance to get Cody in here gives us a guy to come in and compete for the week.
 
It looks like you moved LB Travis Long around a lot in different positions. Tonight he really was all over the place. Have you seen versatility in him?

COACH KELLY: Yeah, we are. That's part of the deal is when you get to those final numbers and you kind of crunch them and the ability to play inside, the ability to play outside. It adds value to it. We've seen Travis make a lot of really good strides in terms of his progression here. Now what else can he do? There is still a big question on how many are you keeping. Last year we played with five inside and three outside, you know, and does that number flip? I don't know. We haven't finalized anything. But when you have some position and versatility, it allows you to do that. So just trying to find out what you can, and that is the great thing about preseason games. You can get them out there on the field because it really counts. It's not like practice where you can say let's run that play again. It really counts. But we've been pleased with Travis.
 
Did LB Marcus Smith have a bounce back game?

COACH KELLY: Yeah, he created some pressure out there. Saw him make a couple tackles. So I think you have to ask him, but I think maybe things are slowing down for him a little bit. He does have athletic ability. We've seen him do some things, so the more comfortable he can get with what Billy and those guys are teaching over there on the defensive side of the ball, I think everybody seemed like they kind of took a step from where we were in the first two games.
 
You started Nate Allen in all three preseason games. Is he your starter now going into the season?

COACH KELLY: For the Steelers game he was. I'm really happy with how Nate's played. He's had an outstanding camp.
 
Would you keep six outside linebackers the way they are performing?

COACH KELLY: Yes.
 
Would you keep three inside linebackers?

COACH KELLY: Yes throw another number at me. We could keep ten offensive linemen. 53 is the number. However we have to get to it, we have to get to it. But our job is to make sure we have the right 53 and the best 53. The one good thing I think for all of us that excites us about this group is there are a lot of decisions that still have to be made and that means there is competition going on there. It's not like, hey, I can count up 47, and I don't even know who the last couple are going to be. I think there are going to be some good battles as we continue this. That is a credit to the guys we have. We have more depth so we'll have to figure it out.

That's obviously going back to the question with Travis. Do we keep more at one position and less at another? At the end of the day you can only have 53. So however you figure it out and break it up, but if we keep extras at one position we have to be light at another position. That is kind of what this whole process is all about, and hopefully we'll continue to compete during this week in practice because it's a big week for all those guys. Especially that final game against the Jets is really big for a lot of those guys on the bottom of the roster in terms of who can compete in those 53.
 
What was it like for Barner getting ready for this game?

COACH KELLY: Added depth. We were down a guy. Chris has been out for an extended period of time. Tucker has been out for a while. And then [RB] David Fluellen was out for a while. So we were only going with McCoy and Sproles were kind of the warriors at that position out there every single day. So we felt like we had to get another set of legs in here, and that's when he became available. We don't know who our third running back is so, we're going to have to try to find out and add another guy to the mix. The fact that he's a special teams player, kick returner, he's been a personal protector for Carolina, he also runs down and covers kickoffs. That's another guy that's got some versatility. When you look at the bottom of the roster, the versatility will be key for us.

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