You said after the game that you couldn't use the time‑out to keep Mike Vick in the game. The rule book said you could. Knowing that, would you have called a timeout there so Mike wouldn't have had ‑‑
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I actually said we couldn't, so that's on me. I didn't think we could.
You said you asked ‑‑
COACH KELLY: No, I just thought that was on me, so I didn't. I should have asked is what I should have said.
Had you known, you would have called probably a time‑out?
COACH KELLY: Yeah.
Looking back, there were over two minutes to go, and the way the Chargers had been moving the ball, when you went back and looked at it do you wish you would have slowed down a little bit or do you like the way ‑‑
COACH KELLY: Yeah, when you look at it in hindsight we didn't score. We kicked a field goal so it was tied. We wanted to try to score a touchdown, go up four, and then make them have to drive the entire field at that point in time. So obviously when you look back at it, we probably should have ran the clock down.
Is it difficult to do that with the way your system is, to slow things down?
COACH KELLY: No, not at all. It's not difficult at all, that was just my decision, and my decision totally. I thought we were going to score, so I called the play I thought we were going to score on.
There was a lot of discussion about the safety play yesterday. Are the practice squad safeties ready to play yet?
COACH KELLY: No, we just acquired both those guys and they're learning. They've been great since they've been here, but I don't think they've digested fully what we're doing defensively. They've only really been here a week. We added both of those guys, so they're still working very hard with [defensive backs] Coach [John] Lovett and [assistant defensive backs] Coach [Todd] Lyght, so we'll see where they are as this thing goes along. But I don't think any of us feel they're ready to go right now.
When you went back and did your film review and you saw the play where Malcolm Floyd got hurt and dropped the ball after, did it look more like a fumble then in slo‑mo there?COACH KELLY: No, and then I asked during that play, they said they thought that it wasn't a catch, no. I'm always asking the guys up top, and that's kind of where we go. It was close, but then it got blown dead, also, so it would have had to have been an immediate recovery. I had actually talked to the referee while that was going on, so I don't think even if we were to challenge in that situation we were going to get it because it was blown dead so quickly, and it wasn't an immediate recovery. Everybody just kind of stopped and looked at it and sat there. So the explanation I got on the field is even if we did, we probably weren't going to get the ball anyway.
COACH KELLY: No, we're still ‑‑ I think Earl is growing, and we'll continue to grow him, but he's still making some mistakes out there. I think they're bringing him along, and we're excited about what his future is, but we still don't feel he's ready to go the whole way.
Did you have any short turnarounds during your college career, and if so, how did you handle them? And if not, is this any different?
COACH KELLY: I think we had one, but it was never this short because we never played on Sundays. But we've been prepared for this since we got here. We had a plan. We knew we had to start off when the schedule came out playing three games in 11 days, so we're going to go out today, and we've got three days to train, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, then we've got to go play again.
Did you see what
COACH KELLY: I did not. I talked to him about it, and we talked about it on the sideline and we talked about it again today is that you have to play with emotion, not let emotion play with you. You've got to understand how that impacts us as a football team.
Could you tell the Chargers were changing plays at the line of scrimmage?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, they were, oh, definitely they were. That's part of what their whole package was. They'd get up, take a look, then come back, sometimes they checked, we checked, and then they checked again. I think when you're playing a quarterback like Philip Rivers, I think basically they put the game in his hands and he was making a lot of checks at the line of scrimmage depending on the looks we were presenting. That's what you get when you're going against someone as talented as him. You've got to get lined up and you've got to play because you just can't say they're not going to run a play here. When they're ready to run a play, you've got to be lined up ready to run a play.
Any disguised looks there?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, we did both. There were times they checked, we checked, and then tried to give them a different look, and then he came back with a play. You know, it becomes a‑cat‑and‑mouse‑game and you get going, but they've got to snap the ball at a certain point in time, and we've got to be lined up and ready to go. When they're over the ball, you just can't line up and say, hey, they're just going to take a look at our look so let's not give them a look, because they can't not snap the ball at that point in time. We have to be prepared with a defense when he gets up on the ball, and then we've got to do a job of trying to give them a disguise and make sure that it's not totally something that he's going to see, and then we can rotate into some things. But sometimes your disguise ends up being a liability because you're not close enough in coverage when you're that far off.
When you look back over the first two games, how do you feel about the decisions you've made just generally?
COACH KELLY: I've made mistakes. I think we've all made mistakes. That's what this game is all about. No one coaches a perfect game, no one plays a perfect game. But you've got to learn from those mistakes and hope that they don't happen again. We've been in these situations and say, hey, we've been in this before, what did we do in that situation, didn't work out for us, so next time when we come back, we don't want to do it again.
The rule book is thick and it changes a lot. It's difficult to be familiar with every single rule as a first-year head coach ‑‑
COACH KELLY: I think it's difficult for anybody to be familiar with any rule because the rule book is so thick.
There were a few times that the broadcast mic picked up Rivers saying something like they're calling tiger, et cetera, et cetera. Is Bill Davis' terminology any different than it was at Arizona?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I think so. I don't know exactly all of Billy's terminology at Arizona, but I know our defense spent a lot of time as a group putting together the defensive package, so there was a lot of influences from a lot of different places, from all those guys that were in the defensive room.
How did Wolff grade out in your film review?
COACH KELLY: He was okay. You know, wasn't 100 percent but wasn't in the failure category, so he's still a work in progress.
COACH KELLY: Fletcher has been cleared. He'll be practicing today.
Is there anything you can do defensively to keep it from becoming such a cat‑and‑mouse game or guessing game? Or is that just the way the game is played?
COACH KELLY: I think that's the way the game is played. Obviously there was a couple times in his situation where it got down to ‑‑ there's a time clock where it got to 0-2-1 where the balls get snapped, so it's just how long does he want to hang in there and try to get the right look and not get the right look and try to see how it works out. But you've got to have a certain type of quarterback that can do that, and they put a lot on his shoulders and a lot in his hands, and I thought he did a great job of it.
Do you have a starter at safety for Thursday?
COACH KELLY: We haven't talked. I mean, we're going out to practice today, so today is the first day of training.
Is everyone practicing today?
COACH KELLY: The only person not practicing today is
COACH KELLY: Did he break his thumb? No, Jason is practicing. He was out here this morning. He's full go.
It looked like Vick almost hit DeSean on three deep balls that didn't get completed. What did you see on those three plays?
COACH KELLY: You know, one of them we were too close to the sideline. The ball was a little bit too far outside; probably need to leave us a little bit better space. One of them DeSean says he probably wants back, and the other one we kind of overthrew. It's just about making sure we can ‑‑ when you're throwing the ball that far down the field, you're going to have some incompletions, but we did hit him on one that was a big one over the top for a touchdown, and he's a special, talented player. We're continuing to find ways to get him the football.
There's a lot of hype around the game. How do you make sure they're kind of locked in come Thursday night?
COACH KELLY: I think they're locked in. We met today and we talked about the Kansas City Chiefs. That's not a concern.
How important is it to hit deep balls and to take deep shots?
COACH KELLY: I think it is because it doesn't matter if it's this offense or any offense, if you don't show people you can throw the ball down the field, they're going to crawl up on you and everybody is going to be within six, seven yards of the line of scrimmage, and if you don't have someone that can beat you deep, I think the defense is going to start to get tighter and closer to the line of scrimmage, and it makes it very difficult to move the football in any fashion, whether you're running or throwing.
The fact that you have some deep threats and some people that can beat you over the top I think kind of loosens up defenses, and I think that's what DeSean gives us. He's certainly a special playmaker when he can get the ball, get vertical down the field, and it helps no matter what type of offense you're in.
When Mike got hurt, was that a run-pass option on that play? On the 1st down on the final drive when Mike got hurt?
COACH KELLY: It was a roll‑out. It was a pass play.
Having said what you said about you need to take shots deep, could you have helped the defense by playing a little more ball control?
COACH KELLY: Could we have? Sure. But we wouldn't have scored a lot of points. So you're in a Catch 22. We were behind, so you've got to try to score to get back into the game, and you can play that game and say, hey, let's work the clock here a little bit, but if you start handcuffing our offense, then we may not have scored enough points to make it even a tie ballgame, so now you're playing the other way. Then it turns into a huge catch‑up game for us.
But I also know, I think offense, defense and special teams made mistakes, coaching staff included, and we all need to make better plays.
There were seven opportunities for us offensively. We had three punts, three made field goals, and a missed field goal where we could have had drives, put together drives that got us down the field. We had a touchdown called back because of a penalty, missed a field goal on special teams, missed an opportunity with a couple of fumbles on special teams, gave up almost 40 yards, 45 yards on that kickoff, even though it was after a penalty.
That's not an excuse, and I think if you ask anybody on our special teams, they take that as a challenge. Hey, it's after a penalty, let's go. We can break their backs if we can kick one off here and pin them deep. Instead of saying woe is me, we got a penalty, how do we get out of this. I don't think any of our guys feel sorry for themselves. They understand what they've got to do, and they've got to go out there and we've got to make plays when we have an opportunity to make plays.
You talked about the clock management and the time‑out on the last series, but what was the thought process in not giving
COACH KELLY: On the last drive? Because we were throwing the ball and it was working. We went from ‑‑ I don't know where we started that drive, but we got the ball down the field pretty quickly. So I don't second‑guess myself for throwing the ball in that situation because we moved the ball in a positive manner. We just couldn't get it in.
With nine seconds left in the first half when you kicked the field goal, did you give any consideration to taking one shot?
COACH KELLY: We did, but we didn't want to put it in a situation where it's a scramble or we're throwing around and then we run out of time on the clock. We thought Alex was in a situation where he could kick a field goal, felt like we could get some momentum there, didn't think we were going to get the ball back at that point in time, and the fact that we got it into a positive situation, if we could have kicked a field goal and gone in at halftime, it would have been a good situation for us.
COACH KELLY: No, we have the best officials that you possibly can have, and I don't think any official goes into a game and says because someone is flashy or whatever, we're going to target him more than we're going to target anybody else. I think the game was refereed very, very cleanly. All of our eight penalties that I saw when I watched film, we had eight penalties. There was no argument from any standpoint. That's on us, and we've got to learn to play and play within the rules that they have. But I have absolutely no issues with them.
What kind of games did you expect this season, games that are in the 30s that are more high scoring as opposed to low‑scoring games?
COACH KELLY: No, I don't expect ‑‑ I don't have a preconceived notion of what the games are going to be like from a how many points we're going to score or they're going to score, I can tell you that. But I do know that every game we're going to play is going to be close, and that's what this league is all about. I saw a stat this morning that there's been 31 games played, 22 of them have been decided by a touchdown or less. So that just makes us understand how important it is to execute every single snap you get an opportunity to get out there on the field. You've got to execute to your utmost because that play right there could be the difference between winning and losing a football game, and that's the message I had for our guys today. We're going to jump right back into it right here and get ready because we've got a game on Thursday.