How did the scoring system work today?
COACH KELLY: Really, it's set up depending on the drill, to be honest with you. Obviously in three on two, it's a lot easier for the offense. Depending on how you do it, offensive can gain one point, defense can gain two. If it is third-and-short, the offense only gets a point, but the defense gets more for a stop.
I've had the system for a while. It's a way to make practice a little bit more competitive and try to even out the balance.
Sometimes it's a one to two ratio, sometimes it's a one to three ratio.
First time you did it here?
COACH KELLY: First time we did it here. We hadn't been in pads. We didn't do it in the OTAs. Tough to judge when you don't have any pads on. We were thudding up in the first team period, tagging off in the last one. You could make a good judgment call if they were going to make the play or not make the play. We're tackling now in the first period, we're just not taking them to the ground.
Would you tackle to the ground at some point?
COACH KELLY: No, we have four preseason games for that. They're hitting pretty good when they get an opportunity. The big thing with tackling, you want to be on your feet anyway. We don't want people diving. We want to be good form tackle so they get an opportunity. In the first team period we do every day, we're going to be doing that.
Do you choose not to tackle because of the injury?
COACH KELLY: Yeah. When you get guys on the ground, it is not really the two guys that get tackled, it's what's chasing it. We're trying to keep everybody in every situation up.
If I'm blocking my guy and I'm trying to finish to the whistle, two guys in front of me fell, that's where the biggest thing occurs. It's the pile ups. Most of the time it's not the tackle or the tackler, it's the rest of the guys coming through.
You have a lot of big bodies moving. There's a fine line what we have to get done from a work standpoint. We also know we have to get our guys to the game, too.
It's a dance everybody's got to dance but you want to make sure you get enough physicality in practice. I think our guys are doing a good job right now. Our guys are being real competitive with each other, but they also know there's got to be a little cooperation that goes on.
You've dealt with injuries over the career. What is your reaction, how do you approach injuries when you have one like Jeremy had, a guy you thought was going to be a starter?
COACH KELLY: I think the first one is just a natural human reaction of sadness. You look at how much Jeremy has put into this, how much everybody on this team cares about him. He's a guy that is here every single day. Football is his life. It's a hard thing. I'm a big guy that asks the question ‘why’ all the time, why do we do this or that. Most situations you get a rational answer.
When a guy has a non contact injury, it's kind of tough to rationalize. That's hard. It's hard to put into words for him. You feel for him. You could see when I was standing over him when he was on the ground. He had gone through it before, he knew before they gave him any tests, Jeremy knew in his mind what it was. I think that's the range of emotion he had.
It's sadness. When you get back, the reality of it is you got to get ready with the guys that are able to play and healthy to play. It's kind of like someone dropped their shield in battle and the other guy has to pick it up, pick up the slack for him.
As a staff we talk about who else do we have right now. You'd love to add guys. With the numbers right now, you're not allowed to add guys. We were at 89, we added one more. You're kind of bound with what you got right now.
What did Cooper show you in the last couple days in practice?
COACH KELLY: Our evaluation of Riley is not, all of a sudden Mac is not here so let's start looking at what Riley has been doing. I've been watching Riley since I got here in January.
He's a big, physical player. I think one of the attributes he has is that his size is a weapon for him. He catches the ball really well. He's an outstanding blocker. He's a real technician in terms of what he wants to get done. He's another guy that lives and breathes football. He's here all the time.
It's an opportunity for him to kind of step up in a more expanded role. It's not like he wasn’t going to have a big role in our offense anyway.
Do you change the offense with him out of it and adjust to the personnel you have?
COACH KELLY: We're not at that point. We're still doing the evaluation process. We weren't into game plan mode. How we going to get Mac the touches, how do you get [
With him being injured so early, the second practice for us, it wasn't one of those where [you say], ‘Hey, let's throw this out.’ We're still in the insertion process of what we are doing offensively. We hadn't gotten to that point yet.
You talked about using three tight ends. You did some of that today. Was that a coincidence it happened to be today?
COACH KELLY: It was just being installed on day four.
When you see that, how do you think it works?
COACH KELLY: Zach has a little experience doing it. Casey has a little experience, being a move guy. If we were playing a game today, I would say Brent would be our tight end, our H back type guy would be Case, and our outside guy would be Zach.
That doesn't mean we can line up with three tight ends right next to each other and have three on the line of scrimmage. We ran one or two formations with those guys today. It was just an introduction. Being day four, that's the first time we had that personnel group on the field. That had been done last June when we put our installs together.
We'll continue to take a look and see how it evolves. Like everything we're doing, it's got to be a personnel driven deal. Let's play to their strengths. We keep finding out every day when we get on the field, what do they do really well.
Do you wait until you're getting ready for the first preseason game when you install the stuff?
COACH KELLY: No, I think we have a unique situation with the first preseason game. A lot of times when you're getting into that game, you spend some time during the week going over what their looks are. I talked to [New England Patriots head coach] Bill [Belichick] this morning, we were on the phone for about an hour going through practice. We don't have to install the Patriots' look because we're going to face them in practice. The game plan aspect of it is we're going to spend a couple days practicing against them, then go play a game on Friday.
The same guys going against each other on Tuesday and Wednesday are going against each other on Friday night. So it's a little bit different from that standpoint.
What went into that? You guys are going to know each other before you get to the game.
COACH KELLY: But I think it helps you. I think from that standpoint you don't have to spend a lot of time having your players learn the Patriots' offense because it's going to go against our defense. Our offense is going to go against the Patriots' defense.
We're not playing them in the regular season. Not only are they not in our division, they're not in our conference. The only opportunity you would have to see them would be the last game of the year.
I've known coach for a while, have a lot of respect for him. It's a great situation for I think both teams. He's done it in the past. I think he did it with Tampa Bay and with the Saints. He's got some familiarity with it. When I talked to him at the combine a little bit about it, I thought it was a good idea.
Sounds like you put a lot of weight to what you see in the preseason games. Do you think you'll have to carry it out to the fourth one?
COACH KELLY: I hope not. You know, I really do. We'd like to get this done as soon as everybody else wants to get it done.
Again, if you don't put people in live situations, it's tough to see where they really are. I know I made the statement, everybody gets a big kick out of it, but a quarterback is like a tea bag. You don't know what you're going to get until the rush is live. Guys are jogging up, they have a red jersey on them, people can tag them.
It's a little bit different game, especially from the quarterback standpoint. We'll see. We'd like to get it done sooner. Again, we can't force it in terms of that.
Are you waiting until the preseason games to make evaluations?
COACH KELLY: We're still evaluating now. I'm talking about a final evaluation. Every single day we're out here looking at them in terms of what they can do, what they can't do, how are they picking up what we are doing. It's an ongoing process. I believe the component of them being in a live situation is a huge part of it.
Is it the sole deciding part of it? No. Our decision won't be just made on how they perform in the first two preseason games, it will be everything leading up to that. It's almost like our in college, you take your tests, then you have a final. Your entire grade isn't on the final, it's over the course of the semester, so to speak.
On the evaluation part, isn't there something to be said for continuity?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, there is. But I don't think it's fair to err on the side of continuity. From a continuity reason we're going to name him. Is that the right thing to do? It's an ever evolving game. The one thing I know about this is you better get two guys ready to go in this league, any league. Same situation in college. We are going to try to get two guys ready as soon as possible. The other guy is a chin strap away from having to go into the game.
A lot of times, whether you are in college football or the NFL, quarterbacks go down. You better have a second one ready to go. Even if the decision is made after the first preseason game that this is our guy, doesn't mean the other guy isn't going to get reps and looks.
Again, I understand the continuity part of it, it makes great sense. But I think that's in the ideal world. But it's not the ideal world. We're in a quarterback battle. There's other teams in this league with quarterback battles. Would it be great right now to have one guy that we could name? That would be great, but that's not the situation.
You're five practices in. Do you feel you've seen some emergence in positions based on what you've seen here?
COACH KELLY: I think guys are starting to pick up what we're doing. And I feel we're better in practice five than we were in practice one. I think sometimes when you add new things, part of the install, those are the things that guys are making a little bit of mistakes on. It's just a matter of getting reps on those.
The things that we added and we continue to repeat, they've done a nice job with. I'm pleased with where we are at this point. Again, we're not even in the month of August yet. We're still in July.
What did you think of the Donovan press conference this morning?
COACH KELLY: To be honest with you, the one thing that occurred to me when Donovan was up there is how quick things go. I mean, it's amazing. You think about how short a career is. When you look at the lifespan of a human being is 79 to 80, whatever the lifespan is, just a short amount of time.
I remember when he got drafted here. I remember when he was a rookie. I remember when he was playing at Syracuse. All of a sudden, you're at his press conference for retirement. Just the guys who were here, Dawkins, Westbrook. I coached against Brian [Westbrook] when he was at Villanova and I was at New Hampshire, now he's retired.
It's hard to think of someone being retired when they're so young. But you better understand how special it is to get an opportunity to play at this level and to play at a high level for a really long time. It was a neat thing to be a part of, a neat thing to watch.
Do you have an update on the injured players?
COACH KELLY: I don't have the exact day. They're working at it. They're going through rehab with those guys. I think Regis [
So we're just trying to get those guys back to where they get cleared by the medical staff and get them out there. Hopefully it will be soon.
When you have a player like
COACH KELLY: Danny?
COACH KELLY: I haven't nudged anybody out of anything.
Definitely one guy that he has to leapfrog now.
COACH KELLY: No. I think with everything we've told everybody, your résumé is what you show us right now, so line up. If you came, you were picked at some point in time, which gives you no more precedent over someone else that was an undrafted free agent.
The best guys are going to get on the field. It's been our mantra with everybody at every position. You got to go out and earn it.
Are we excited about Lane? Why did we select him at four? We're really excited. He's still got to go out here every single day in practice and prove our excitement right. Same thing with Danny. Everyone came in here, one of the things they appreciate from all of us, they all have a clean slate. You get to show us every single day what you can do, where you belong in this thing. Ever since I coached, I don't set the depth chart. You guys do. You do it every single day you go out on the field, that you're in a meeting, that you're investing in yourself to show us what you can do.
They understand that. By the end of the day, you can ask them. They'll know who the best five offensive linemen are.
Is it easier to prepare a pro team than a college team because you have the actual teams to watch where you didn't have that at Oregon?
COACH KELLY: I mean, part of that is yes. You'd go into college games, especially with some freshman, a redshirt freshman that had never been in a game before, so you never saw them under that setting. No matter what you can manufacture on a practice field, it's totally different.
I think there were a few of our guys that were, just yesterday when we practiced in the stadium, when you come out, all of a sudden there's 30,000 people out there, which was a great experience, I'm glad we did it. We got a chance to go through it once before we go back for our first preseason game. When we play the Patriots, it won't be the first time running out on the field with fans in the stands. I think it was good for us. And it is different.
The one thing that everybody has, the positive is the experience, the negative is there's a chance to get somebody injured. So you run that fine line of we got to work really hard, but don't hit us hard. You know they're going to hit us hard, we're going to hit them hard. That's a part of the game that we all understand.
You seem to have a good competition at the safety position.
COACH KELLY: We do. I think that's one spot where we really have a couple of guys that it will be an interesting battle. I think Kenny [Phillips] came back healthy and is in the mix. Kurt [Coleman] has played a lot of football here.
If you look at it from a competition standpoint, there's a lot of guys competing over there. I know Billy [Davis] has been rotating those guys a lot, trying to get them all different kinds of looks. You've seen a lot of different combinations at the safety spot because we feel like we have six that are competing really hard back there.
It's a matter of trying to get enough tape on them so you can make some evaluations.
But I think that's a spot as we go through this thing, you start to get moving, there's going to have to be some difficult decisions made at the safety spot.
What are your impressions of
COACH KELLY: He's got the potential to play both. I think that's what we're ideally looking for. We need to, in our mind, figure out exactly who the corners are. I think he's the one guy that we're using inside at nickel that can do some of those things. [Eddie] Whitley is another guy. [Jordan] Poyer is the third that we're working through those positions.
Brandon is explosive. I thought he played really, really well yesterday. I haven't seen today's film, but yesterday he did a really nice job in the stadium. He showed up, made a play again. Whether it was in special teams or in the team in seven on seven situation. I'm pleased with where he is so far.
Tomorrow we have a day off. We've been at this for five days. Hit the reset button, get back out here on Wednesday. I'm happy with where we are at this point.