COACH KELLY: Did a little last year.
A little at Green Bay?
COACH KELLY: A lot of it was injury driven when [S] Kurt Coleman and [S] Colt [Anderson] got injured a little bit. Those are kind of the guys we fit in in those spots.
What are the advantages of having a dime defense?
COACH KELLY: Depends on what person driven by the offensive personnel that's on the field.
So if they are going to be in four wide receivers and a back, how do you match up to all four of those receivers and the back and how dynamic is the back. You know what I mean?
So if you're going to play us, we need to get as many underneath cover guys on those receivers, and there's four of them you want to play some zone behind it. You play some zone deep behind it, who is your front linebackers getting matched up on the back, and obviously [LB]
Is it personnel driven? You guys have CB Nolan Carroll, another kind of defensive back.
COACH KELLY: We didn't have last year. That's what we are looking at right now so that Nolan has been first dime in there. So he'll put him and [CB Brandon] Boykin will be a package, him and Boykin are that first group right now and then you get a chance, that's the good thing about playing in the preseason games, you get a chance to kind of see what they can do, what they can't do, along with our evaluations in practice.
So it's a chance to take a look at it and obviously Nolan is a guy who continues to show up every day and warrants playing time. Let's see where he can fit in and help us as a team defensively.
COACH KELLY: He has a sore knee. He's supposed to go full today. So we'll see. It's his call. He's going to tell you how good he feels but according to the trainers he's full go today so we'll see where he goes.
How about WR
COACH KELLY: [Maclin] is going today. [WR
COACH KELLY: Number one, we practice against another team because overall I mean, obviously, I appreciate Cary's input, but I think the value that you can get for every single player and every single coach in terms of what we are doing to get a chance to go against another scheme and another team, I think it's really beneficial, as long as you and the other team are on the same page. And I thought it worked out really well for us last year. We have a good understanding of what both teams are trying to get accomplished in those couple of days.
I understand where he's coming from. We do a lot more huddling when we are in those situations. We don't signal as much obviously because of situations like that. You know, that's understandable.
When you do everything and show another team as much as you do.
COACH KELLY: I think a lot is overblown on that point. They get every single film of every game we have ever played. So you know, I don't think they are getting anything it's not something that we do in practice that we are not going to do in a game. I think when people break it down and obviously people have all of our preseason games and playoff games from last year, they are going to see what we do.
We had the conversation the other day, we are always evolving. So there's things we are going to do in practice in the second week of August that if we were ever to play them it would be in the last game of the year, sometime in February, that I think I would imagine our team and their team would be a lot different than they were when we faced them in August.
They are good on videotape they can see practices where we can't, we the media. If you do something, and you meet them in the last game of the season and they already have it on tape?
COACH KELLY: There's a chance for everything but that's a lot of tape to go through. If you were to play them in our situation, it would be the 20th game of the year plus four preseason games, and then you're going back and looking at practice tape.
Sometimes there's analysis by paralysis. If we end up it would be a great situation that we get a chance to play them in the Super Bowl. And they're going through practice tape and get a chance to see one play that we ran once on a Tuesday in August that we bring out in the third quarter with a minute 32 on the clock and they are prepared for it, then God bless 'em.
This time last year, we spoke about how preseason football after having that experience, is there anything you'll do differently this week or the next four weeks with the games?
COACH KELLY: We had a system in place. It was just I had not played in games. The difference going from college to the pros is that we would have three situations, we bring the officials in, but we are going against our own team so there's a great familiarity with it.
I think the great thing about the preseason obviously is that you get to take your team on the road. You get to see what they are like in different environments, obviously for some of our players, just last week, leaving the NovaCare [Complex] and coming over to [Lincoln Financial Field], there was a change for them. You're trying to put them in some different situations and see how they react.
But in terms of our schedule and how we'll handle it, it won't be any different. When we go with our Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday when we go with the Patriots next week will be just like last year's Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. The only difference is we started going against another team and then the second week we kind of got into some game week.
We have three really hard days of work that we have to get in this week, and 48 hours before the game we'll slow it down a little bit because we have to do some work on the Bears. The fortunate thing for us is we did face the Bears in the second to last regular season game so we got a little bit of understanding from them so we can give our guys an understanding of what they are going to do.
Most of their coaching staff is in place. I think they made a few adjustments on the defensive side of the ball but the coordinator is still in place. We anticipate seeing the same things. I think most teams when you get into the first preseason game, you're just trying to get your guys out on the field and really evaluate and see what they can do and that's what we are really looking forward to with this group.
The running backs, behind
COACH KELLY: Obviously [Matthew] Tucker is ahead of those guys. We are really happy with Tuck last year and came on as the season went along for us. So he's kind of firmly entrenched in that fourth spot right now behind those other three, and then it really goes back and forth on a daily basis between [David] Fluellen and [Henry] Josey and where they are.
And a big test for those guys will be this Friday many coming up against the Bears when you get to see them in game action, because the full contact, taking it to the ground. All that other stuff will occur on Friday night and that will be a little different for them. They have to understand, not only the running back spot, but especially if you're going to be down the depth chart at the running back spot it's your contributions on special teams so we'll see where those guys fit in on that standpoint, [special teams] coach [Dave] Fipps' group.
How has QB
COACH KELLY: Matt has done a nice job this preseason camp. He's continuing to grow, continuing to get better. I think he's been a lot better understanding of what we are doing so his decision-making I think really, it's starting to get there.
I think a lot of times when you're a young quarterback, you want to impress so when you get in there, I'm going to force this thing in there and try to fit one in a tight one and take the shot down the field instead of doing probably what should be done is a check down and I think he's getting a little more comfortable with that.
The one thing he realizes, he's got to stay on the field. So if you're taking shots down the field and you miss a few of those, then you're off. It happens all the time. G.J. [Kinne] gets into it a little bit, being the fourth quarterback, he may sit for 25, 30 minutes in practice and then he gets in and G.J. is the classic gun sling. When he gets in, he's going to let it rip. They could have eight guys deep in coverage and he's still going to try to get it down the field. I've been really happy with Matt in terms of his progression since we got him a year ago.
Has been jumping in for LB DeMeco [Ryans], is that because you're giving some veterans breaks throughout camp?
COACH KELLY: Nah, we are not giving any veterans a break but we know what DeMeco is. DeMeco is going to be our starting linebacker on day one so we don't know as much about Najee [Goode]. I think one of the things that you struggle with from an evaluation standpoint and we spent a lot of time on it yesterday as a staff and personnel meetings is, kid is ripping it up against the threes but what's he going to do against the 1s.
There's a lot of guys that look good but when you put them in with the first group, all of a sudden they don't look as strong and that's where we are just trying to get an idea of who is you obviously have two good linebackers in Mychal and DeMeco but where is our depth behind them and who is it going to be?
And Najee has done a really good job when he's been put in those situations so we are starting to get a little bit more comfortable with him. But it's not like, hey, let's get DeMeco off the field because we are afraid of reps for him. What we are really trying to do is see how some of those players do when they get a chance to go with the 1s.
It's happened at all levels. You see a guy rip it up with the 2s and threes and then you put them in with the ones and so he disappears a little bit. Maybe he's not as dominant. I think that's what everybody is a little leery of in preseason. You see a guy in preseason and he's got ‘X’ amount of tackles or ‘X’ amount of catches but he did it against the threes and fours and all of a sudden he's the talk of camp but he can't do it when the competition steps up a little bit and there is a difference between the ones and the 2s and the threes.
What about WR
COACH KELLY: Same concept.
Do you pick him up?
COACH KELLY: At some point in time, when you feel comfortable. The one thing you don't want to do with anybody is just throw them out there and then he doesn't know what he's doing.
A lot of the scripting that goes on in terms of play calls, the play calls are different for the ones and the 2s and the threes. It's not doesn't matter who is in there right now. We are trying to give those guys a chance to be successful, give them confidence and get their feet underneath them a little bit.
But you can call certain things with our 1s, but because they have all been here before, by and large they have been running with that group right now, so they are pretty comfortable doing it and you can dial up any play you want. But if it's something that we touch base on in practice but we have not gotten back to and now we are in practice seven or eight it may not be as quick for him on the recall standpoint.
So we are just trying to get him as many reps, get him on film, let him get an understanding of what we are doing. He's doing a great job of learning but you'll eventually see that as he continues to improve here.
COACH KELLY: I think first and foremost, he knows he made a mistake, but that still hasn't been kind of gone through he hasn't been to court and hasn't gone through that whole process so I really don't know the whole part of that. The only thing we know right now is Keelan's version of what went on. There's still a process that he has to go through from that standpoint that is truly out of our hands and should be out of our hands so we should see how that process plays out.
Since he's been here it was the first mistake he's made. I think he has the skill set, you know, we kept him last year and we got a chance to pick him up. He showed some things when we saw him on the practice squad and got a chance when Colt got injured late in the year to play for us.
So there's potential there, but he's in a battle with a bunch of guys in the backup secondary roles. I think our depth in the secondary has gotten better and he's really competing for a spot, so we'll see where he goes from that standpoint.
When you recruited WR
COACH KELLY: Well, he was actually a quarterback. You know, what I think he played a lot of quarterback. He did play running back also, but he played some receiver. I just think the one thing that struck us was his versatility; that he could do a lot of different things and was just so productive with the ball in his hands and highly competitive kid.
We felt that transition; a lot of guys make that transition, a lot of teams put their best athlete, quarterback, at the high school level and you'll see a ton of guys – [LB] Marcus Smith was a high school quarterback. There's a lot of guys that have gone on to be really successful at the collegiate level in the NFL that were high school quarterbacks and they moved to different positions.
I think it was how dynamic he was with the ball in his hands. He was also a really, really good returner but he had a skill set where there's a physicality to Josh to go along with the ability to make people miss. So we just thought he would be a natural fit. Even his freshman year at Oregon, he played a little bit of running back and receiver, and as we got a little bit more depth at running back, he exclusively played receiver.
With Cooper out, you've had some other guys how is Regis [WR
COACH KELLY: It's been good to see Regis because Regis, [Maclin] and [LB Jason] Phillips went down and you never really got a chance to see them. I think most of them were I don't even know if Reg got, I think he went down just when we started practicing with the Patriots and never played a preseason game for us.
The one thing about all three of those guys is it was evident to us how important it was just to see how hard all three of them worked in the off season. They were here every single day rehabbing with [head athletic trainer] Chris Peduzzi and the trainers to put themselves in that position.
He's in a lot better shape this year than he was last year coming into camp, and he's starting to show up and make plays like all those guys that I think are battling for three, four, five and six or however many at receiver. The ability to play special teams is important and I think Regis' size really helps him from that standpoint. He's a big, physical guy, so he's a guy that we are really excited to see what he's like when we finally get him in a preseason game this Friday night.