The most important question: Why did
COACH KELLY: Well, obviously Tampa Bay is known for trying to attack and disrupt the snap, so it's just something we worked on and talked about, tried to take him out of that element where they are not going to disrupt the center-quarterback exchange. You know, we knew what they did and it's kind of something that Coach [Greg] Schiano has done for the two years he's been there.So you talked about it with Nick ‑
COACH KELLY: We had discussed it during the week and it was just something, you want to not cause a pile up and try to get out of the game. And if they were going to try that tactic, if we were back in the gun, maybe they wouldn't do it.
What day did Nick have the groin problem last week?
COACH KELLY: Whatever day that was, Thursday or Friday or whatever day he went on the report.
Tomorrow who gets the first team snaps at quarterback?
COACH KELLY: Depends on where we are from a health, depth standpoint.
Have you talked to
COACH KELLY: Have I talked to Michael? No, he was in but I haven't talked to him yet.
I was going to ask, where are you now from a health ‑‑
COACH KELLY: I don't know until those guys get here and start running around a little bit tomorrow.
Going into game, when you were asked if Michael was 100 percent healthy and if he was the starting quarterback, you said yes ‑‑ what's changed since then, yesterday you said you were going to wait?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I was talking about Michael's health. So that's what we are going to evaluate.
So is he still the starting quarterback when he's 100 percent healthy?
COACH KELLY: Until we know what the health is I'm not saying what anybody or anybody is. All of my decisions are made whether it's
COACH KELLY: No, I have no idea what he's talking about. Me and LeSean, we didn't talk about anything like that after the game so I don't know where the reference of after the game, I said that, so I don't know.
Have you made that point?
COACH KELLY: I haven't talked to anybody about that stuff. We don't talk about that stuff. We just get ready to go play the next team.
Does it matter locker room wise your decision, I keep reading, losing the locker room, I'm not sure what that means, but maybe you do, does that factor into how ‑‑
COACH KELLY: No, I don't ‑‑ all of our decisions are made on what's going to give us the best opportunity to win. And we have to put healthy guys on the field and make sure we can get a scheme together that's going to help us beat the Cowboys.
So that's all we're talking about so there's not any ‑‑ I don't see any divisions or one side going one way or another side going another. Mike wasn't 100 percent on Sunday, and Nick did an outstanding job. And I said when this whole thing started, we were fortunate that we had two quarterbacks and it showed already this season that you've got to have two really good quarterbacks to win in this league and that's what I feel we are right now.
With a guy like Mike, obviously running is a big part of his game, would you wait until his hamstring is fully healed, 100 percent healed?
COACH KELLY: No, I think Mike's legs are a big, important part of his game and that's part of the decision that's ‑‑ in terms of putting the whole thing together in terms of what he is and what he can do and his effectiveness.
Now, 100 percent is a fairly subjective term. Out there what do you need to see out of him to convince you?
COACH KELLY: Just how does he run around and how is he in practice, and you know, can he execute the way we need him to execute.
With that said then, there's a chance that could take awhile ‑‑ because it's such a --
COACH KELLY: Sure.
Seven weeks into the season, you're going to be playing for first place, are you satisfied with where the program is?
COACH KELLY: No, and again, we don't talk about first place, seventh week into the season. The only time we talk about whatever this thing finishes on December 29 after our last game.
So I've seen improvement from our team as from where we started to where we are right now. We are still disappointed in the three losses that we have. So you can't say, hey, we are really happy where we are right now. You don't want to be 3‑3. You wish you were 6‑0.
The quarterback draw where Nick scored, was that something you worked on the last week, the fact maybe defenses weren't expecting something you would use in that play, or is it something he saw the numbers, six in the box and he saw an opportunity to take advantage of that?
COACH KELLY: No, it was a designed run call. It wasn't, a check with me or look around and see what they are in defensively.
We just looked at how Tampa Bay was deploying themselves inside in the red zone and inside the three‑yard line, and we had that play up whether Nick’s the quarterback, whether Matt’s the quarterback, whether Mike’s the quarterback, whether you’re the quarterback, that play was just called in from the sideline and we called it.
Did he have the option to pull out of it ‑‑
COACH KELLY: No.
‑‑ in the box ‑‑
COACH KELLY: Play was called. We run it.
Did you run different things for
COACH KELLY: No, we didn't. We ran the same offense, did the same things. Riley's been open a lot. We just haven't thrown the ball to him.
That's one thing when you look at the production out of a receiver is we always look at catches and drops, you know, and I think we had him for two drops on the season so far, and I think when the ball has been thrown to Riley, he's had an opportunity and he's done it and the ball was thrown to him more on Sunday and he took advantage of it.
I know there's a stat out there about targets, but targets are whose ever the receiver around when the ball is thrown. So if I threw the ball out of bounds right now and Howard [Eskin] is the only guy over there, it's a target for Howard. But if it's 14 feet over his head, that's not the receiver's fault.
So we've been happy with Riley; when the ball has been throw to him, he's caught it and he proved it again on Sunday for us. We have had confidence in him the whole way and I was happy he could show that.
Did you see them play a lot of zone against other teams going into the game?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, that's their M.O. We knew going in that's what they are going to do. They start with the Tampa two coverage defense and they play some man and some man free out of pressure situations, and I think they pretty much stuck to what we saw in the games that we had broken down on them.
How concerned are you about
COACH KELLY: I don't know but we are concerned when anybody is hurt, and this is ‑‑ you know, he missed a game and didn't finish this last game so it's obviously a concern for us.
COACH KELLY: No, I think Brent, again, played an outstanding game. If you watch tape and watch how well he blocked, you know, really, specifically, you watch the last drive of the game, I mean, he was just moving people, and I really think he's probably been the most under‑rated or underappreciated.
I know from a coaching standpoint, Brent through six games for us has been fantastic, a warrior, just doing everything; really helping in the blocking game, had some key catches on the screen. He's come up with some really big catches during the season, but I thought Brent played another outstanding football game.
COACH KELLY: We were in a lot more Tiger personnel, that's two tight ends in the game, if you look at it. So we also knew it was going to be 86 degrees in there so I think we played a lot more guys.
We were really conscious about the rotation just because we are aware of the heat. So I know Jeff [Maehl] played more, Damaris [Johnson] played more. That was kind of our thought process going into the game, if it was going to be that hot, we were going to make sure we rotated those guys.
The snaps, 12 percent decrease in the season average, is that ‑‑
COACH KELLY: Yeah, we were rotating. We knew that going in. We were five, six days out, you know it was supposed to be 80‑something degrees down there so we were just going to try to play a lot more guys in those situations.
What about situations where they were able to bring a lot of pressure, seems like you had guys unblocked, is that about design ‑‑
COACH KELLY: Depends on what we are in. That's a good question. Sometimes we are in six‑man protection and they brought an extra guy and we needed to get that ball out quick or throw it out hot or redirect some things.
Did you make an adjustment? Seems like you got better in the second half?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I think that's the game that goes on within the game, of, hey, we want to stay out of that because of maybe what they brought or maybe not call that in that situation or leave an extra guy in in certain situations or maybe go back to some seven‑man protection, and then you can pick up the extra guy.
You know, they brought it again one more time, Nick did a good job of getting rid of the ball and throwing it hot, so I think that's part of the process that goes on, but there were a couple times they caught us. You have to tip your hat to them.
Nick got sacked, minus nine, they brought the safety ‑‑ looked like there was not even a hot ‑‑
COACH KELLY: Yeah, there was, look at the tape. Got to get the ball out.
Who was open?
COACH KELLY: We had two receivers. You can go to right side or left side with it.
How would you evaluate Nick's performance when you saw it on tape?
COACH KELLY: I thought Nick did a really nice job, really, really happy with how we performed within our offense. Did a good job of taking what the defense gave us. There were a lot of times he got us out of some bad plays and into some good ones with some decisions he made, so we were really happy with how Nick played.
COACH KELLY: I think everybody is. I don't think you can just single out two guys in terms of that. I think DeMeco played a really, really good game in terms of what he did, but I thought [
But I think it starts with all three of those guys up front being able to occupy some blockers, so that DeMeco and Mychal [Kendricks] can run and make some plays.
But I thought our D‑line in general, the biggest concern for us going into the game was Doug Martin and his ability to run the football, you're starting a rookie quarterback and I think maybe that went a little bit unnoticed. We held him to 67 yards and our process going into this thing, the No. 1 thing we were going to do was stop the run and I thought we did a pretty good job of that overall from a team standpoint.
Where are you with Damaris and his judgment, his decision making on kickoffs deep in the end zone?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, we have to talk to him about that. I know the one he was pretty deep on, we don't want to take it out from that deep and I know myself and Coach [Dave] Fipp will talk to him a little bit about that, understanding who we are playing and what the situation is.
But we probably don't want to take it out there because, you know, we want to get ‑‑ the touchback will get us to the 20. So he probably wants that one back but we probably want that one back, too.
How much have you worked with Nick on the deep ball? Is there anything that you've tweaked as you're bringing him along?
COACH KELLY: No, it’s something we do every day. We throw it first period every day. We throw deep balls and something we work on. And we had an opportunity, how they were playing us coverage wise and we called for a jet route and, Riley did a good job of stacking the receiver, and Nick did a great job of putting the ball where it needed to be.Does it give you any competitive advantage to not name the starting quarterback this week until Sunday or when you play?
COACH KELLY: I don't think so. I mean, I think they are still going to practice.
Two weeks in a row
COACH KELLY: In my career here, he has. So I mean, I haven't looked at whatever they did with him in the past. I mean, we don't change our receivers when we get down inside, so you know, he's a real good route runner and he's a tough match up down there.
You know, we've had that play in for four or five weeks. It was just somebody was stupid enough not to call it in the first couple of weeks and somebody was smart enough to call it on Sunday.
The offensive linemen, what were defenses seeing that they could kind of penetrate and what did you do ‑‑
COACH KELLY: It's just a matter of zone blocking or man blocking. So just depends on the call that goes into the game and do we want to man these guys or do we want to zone them.
I think you have got to be able to do both because people are going to stand there and man block a little better because you are going to get better movement. But if they are going to slant and angle, then you need to zone it.
What is Polk's status right now?
COACH KELLY: Polk has got a shoulder. We hope he's back this week but I don't think he'll be full tomorrow. And I don't think
What about Chung?
COACH KELLY: Chung has a shoulder. I think those are the three that wouldn't be full tomorrow.
What qualities does Nick have that make him so productive and efficient in the red zone?
COACH KELLY: He executes the plays that we call. A lot of our red zone, we just didn't do [earlier] ‑‑ I didn't do a good job calling plays and putting ourselves in good situations; and I think we called plays and Nick put the ball where we are supposed to be.
What did Fletcher Cox do so well yesterday?
COACH KELLY: We had him for five pressures on the quarterback. I think Fletch really caused a lot of havoc and it was probably the best way to say it. I think he tied up a lot of blockers and really pushed the pocket really, really well from inside, got a key holding penalty; you know, he initiated it and they had to hold him up.
But I think he's starting to come into his own up there, and really impressed me how hard he played on Sunday.
How does the coaching staff grade a quarterback pressure?
COACH KELLY: It's a combination. Didn't have to get a hand on him but if you can make him move and disrupt in terms of where the launch point is and take the quarterback off his set point I think is how we are describing it.
DeSean's second touchdown, he was lined up in the slot, was that done to see if Darrelle Revis would stay on him, you know what I mean ‑‑
COACH KELLY: I know what you mean but that's not ‑‑ DeSean lines up in the slot for us a lot. It depends on what formation we are in, the little shallow cross route that he caught on the first drive for a touchdown, he was lined up in the slot.
There's a lot of times when we can either line him up at No. 2 or No. 3 depending on what formation we are in. Our ability to move him around is that he's an outside receiver for us but by certain formation calls, we can get him in to be an inside receiver for us.
COACH KELLY: I think the same thing, but who do you take out, because I would say to date, Cedric Thornton has been our most impressive defensive lineman, and now Fletch is coming along and obviously Vinny has the skill set.
But where are you from a pressure standpoint? I think we need all of them and I think [defensive line coach Jerry Azzinaro] Az is doing a really good job of rotating those guys when we need to get pressure on the quarterback. But I think you're not going to play with all three of them in there at the same time because all three of those guys are inside guys.
But it's who are you taking out and again, up until yesterday, you know, I would say our most productive defensive lineman statistically for us has been said Cedric, and then Fletch is really starting to come along and Vinny can do some things.
It's more continuing to develop depth. And it's not manufactured depth, it's that we have got guys that are starting to come along and figure it out, and it's the same thing. I think in this league, for you to be successful, you'd better have depth. I think it showed in our quarterback spot and it was very evident, I know a lot of people when your No. 1 quarterback goes down, there's a very big drop‑off, and there was no drop-off for us at all.
And when we start to rotate the defensive linemen the way we are doing it, the other guy who was pretty productive and had a big sack right towards the end of the game was
But I don't think there's anybody out there that's going to say, hey, we have too many interior defensive linemen. I think the positive point of it is all of those guys are starting to get more familiar with Billy's [Davis] schemes and they are starting to get a better feeling, a better understanding for what we are doing, and it's going to help us in the long run.
With Foles last year ‑‑ one element of his game that maybe needs to improve, I know you weren't here last year but what have you seen with the deep ball?
COACH KELLY: I've seen Nick throw the deep ball well since we've got here. I think that's something he does a really nice job of. I think you have two quarterbacks that can launch it, and I think a lot of the deep ball really depends on how the receivers run the routes, too, and I think part of that ‑‑ I don't know if it went unnoticed.
But the job Riley did of stacking the defensive back and getting on top of him so that now he can body him; and Riley did a decent job of kind of settling down just before the throw so that Jonathan Banks backs into him and all of the sudden catches over his outside shoulder.
It's something as a coach you're excited about because it's something we work on every single day. It's the first drill we do when the horn blows after centers and quarterbacks is we are throwing curl on one side, and deep ball ‑‑ we are not running 60 balls down the field. But we are throwing the ball up with trajectory and the receivers are trying to make sure that they are catching it over the shoulder so they can body position the defensive back. It's a great throw by Nick and really good job by Riley in that situation.
This town doesn't like the Dallas Cowboys. Coaches and players in the past have had funny experiences with the fans, even in the streets, have you had any fans come up to you about their hatred for the Dallas Cowboys?
COACH KELLY: No, that's just because there are a lot of other teams they don't like, either. So, pick 'em. They all seem to be in the NFC East, though, which is a good thing. We played two of them and now we are getting to play the third, so I'm sure it will be the same.
But I've heard feelings about the Giants and I've had people talk to me about the Redskins. Coach [Dick] Vermeil came to talk to our team, and that feeling, and I know we are going to be ready to go. It's going to be a hell of a game.