Obviously it's a different kind of week. Do you need to talk to your guys, tell them anything about how to handle everything, increased spotlight or do you just treat at as another week?COACH KELLY: Every week for us, I think going back to when we were 3‑5 has kind of been the same situation for us but we have not spent any time talking about dealing with anything differently. We know last week's game, we lose to Dallas, we go home. So it's the exact same situation we are in this week.
Going against a team that's won a Super Bowl a few years ago, you have a lot of rookies to the playoffs, do you buy into anything about inexperience versus experience?
COACH KELLY: Depends on who wins, right? If we lose, we were inexperienced. If we win, then there will be another story. We are concerned with how do we prepare to play a really good Saints team and that's all we can really be concerned with.
What did you see out of the team leading up to the Dallas game?
COACH KELLY: I thought we were great. I thought we had a really good week of prep and they played that way.
Are you happy with the team's tempo on offense? And are you happy with the way the officials are spotting the ball and getting the ball set? Seemed like in the Cowboys game there were a few issues with that.COACH KELLY: However they spotted is how we played. Again I don't have any control with how they spot the ball. When they put it down we are ready to play.
The team's tempo, is that something you feel has improved?
COACH KELLY: I think we can get better in every game. It's just like asking me, are you happy with your tackling. I think we can be better in tackling; I think we can be better in tempo; I think we can be better in blocking; I think we can be better in catching. I think we can be better in everything, so we're never going to be happy.
If you look at
COACH KELLY: I didn't know anything. I mean, I've been asked that question a lot. I didn't know anything about the roster so I didn't sit there and study rosters. I've said it since day one, I took this job because of Mr. [Jeffrey] Lurie. I didn't look at the roster.
So I didn't look and say, hey, I know about this guy, I know about that guy. There were some guys I was familiar with because I had coached against them but I didn't know anything about Brandon since I got here.
Since April 1, what have you learned about Boykin?
COACH KELLY: Just how hard he works in practice and kind of what you see on Sundays, is what we see every day in practice. That's kind of what we preach around here is that you don't rise to the occasion; you sink to your level of training, and he trains at a very high level every day he's out there and that's evident to us and as a staff. And what you see on Sundays is what we see every day during the week.
This team lost its first four home games and now has won four in a row. Is there anything different that you're doing or is there a reason for that?
COACH KELLY: We played better in the last four than we did in the first four, that's it. But we didn't change our schedule or how we approach it or anything like that.
There's not a lot of teams, coaches, that have turned around a four‑win team from the year before and won the division. What do you think has made you and this team successful in year one?
COACH KELLY: I think there's a lot [of teams that have done this around the NFL]. If you look just this season, Andy [Reid] did it, Mike McCoy did it, Ron Rivera did it. I would argue that there's [three] right there off the top of my head that happened this year.
What about for you here, though?COACH KELLY: I just got here. So what do I see is I've seen guys that were excited about playing football when I met with them on April 1; and when we're still playing on January 1, they are still excited about playing football. And they have got an unbelievable work ethic and have done everything as a coaching staff that we've asked them to do.
All five of your offensive linemen started every game of the season. Last year's team, three‑fifths of it was out ‑‑ how different would this team be if you didn't have an offensive line that started all 16 games?
COACH KELLY: Very. I mean, think about the question. Every team would be like that, I don't care who you are. If you lose three starting offensive linemen, your team is going to be drastically different than if you had all five ‑‑
Teams like to say, next man up, no excuses, we have to keep playing ‑‑
COACH KELLY: I'm not making an excuse. You asked me how different would it be and I said very.
What has it been that's helped this turnaround so quickly?
COACH KELLY: I think it's the players and it's always the players. This game, it's always personnel driven, it's always player driven and we have a bunch of guys that from the day I got here and I didn't look at anything in the past.From the day I got here, I knew they were motivated to be successful and they work extremely hard and they own up when they make mistakes and they go out and correct those mistakes so they don't happen again. I think everything that we've done this year as a team is a direct reflection of those players.
What have you admired most about Sean Payton as a play caller and as an offensive mind?
COACH KELLY: He just, I think one thing that Sean does he just always seems to get the right matchups. He's obviously got some talent and there's a really, really talented football team but Sean does a great job of getting his playmakers in matchups that are favorable to him and he does it week‑in and week‑out. There's a consistency to it, and I think they missed him a year ago and now that he's back, they seem like they picked up where they left off. I think how well him and Drew [Brees] work together I think is a pretty special thing to watch.
Is he a guy you would look at in an off‑season even as a college coach that you would look to see if there was anything you could take from what he was doing?
COACH KELLY: No, we didn't study them very much, but I obviously know how successful he's been.
Have you spent any time with him in the past?
COACH KELLY: No, I don't know Sean.
Those matchups that he tried to get ‑‑ Payton does, are they personnel‑wise, too? Does he try to match ‑‑ can you talk about that?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, you just look at how they use Jimmy Graham and line him up all over the place. I think that's the one thing about Jimmy that makes him such a special player is he's probably too athletic for linebackers to cover, but he's too big for defensive backs to cover, and he's never going to be in the same spot. He doesn't line up as a traditional tight end attached to the tackle. He could be the lone receiver; he could be in the back in the backfield.They move him all around and get him to favorable match ups and that's the dilemma when you face that offense; in, it's not just Jimmy Graham. It's Darren Sproles, it's [Robert] Meacham, it's [Marques] Colston, it's [Lance] Moore. There's a ton of them. That's what Sean and Drew have a lot of toys with, too, and that's what makes them such a very difficult team because they stretch you vertically and horizontally, too.
In terms of the short week, does
COACH KELLY: Earl has to practice if he's going to play, so if that's your question, yeah, he's got to get out there at some point in time.
Will Wolff practice today?
COACH KELLY: I don't know. We’ll see what he can do.
Bill Davis talked about the synergy between Sean Payton and Drew Brees and you can see it on film how connected they are and how locked in they are together. Do you see that and how dangerous does that make them?
COACH KELLY: I think any time your play caller and your quarterback are on the same page, that's a bonus. I think they have been together long enough where ‑‑ I think part of being a good play caller is making sure that you’re calling things that your quarterback is comfortable with and I think Sean has got a really good understanding of what Drew wants to do.
When you see the Saints pass rush, what sticks out?
COACH KELLY: [Cameron] Jordan and [Junior] Gilette both have 12 and a half sacks. They are very active. Rob [Ryan] does a real good job of getting them matched up in certain situations. They are not always in the same spot so you just can't come out and say, ‘Hey, that guy is the left defensive end and we know where he is.’ He's going to move them around. And then with all the blitz packages that he does bring, they get singled up a lot and when they get singled up, they exploit that.
COACH KELLY: With everything with Mychal, he continues to grow. He's only in his second year and I think sometimes people forget about that because he is so athletic. But he's a by‑product of his experience. I know I say that a lot, but it's tough to manufacture those looks. But when you keep continuing to see him, I've seen him improve and he's one of those guys that when he makes a mistake, he owns that mistake and then works on correcting it, and I think that's a credit to him.
Can you compare preparing for a bowl game in college versus preparing for a playoff game in the NFL, in terms of the amount of time you’re able to devote to preparing?
COACH KELLY: No, you can't. It's one week here or less than one week here. We played Auburn in the National Championship Game, we had 37 days to get ready for that game. I think ‑‑ and all bowl games are like that.
Every bowl game we played in when I was at Oregon was a January 1 or a later date. We finished the first week of December and then we had 30‑some odd days before we had to go play our next game, so it's not very close at all.
What is it like with a bowl game? Do you burn the candle at both ends every day? Do you have to be mindful of how you prepare for that game?
COACH KELLY: Are you preparing for a Bowl game or ‑‑
Just curious what it’s like.
COACH KELLY: It's a lot different. And there's a lot of recruiting that’s involved at the same time. You've got to recruit during the week and then you to come back and practice on the weekend. We usually went Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and then we gave our guys off Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.
So there was a four‑day week of practice and then three days off, four‑day week of practice, three days off and then you have to figure out when Christmas falls. Can you send your players home for the holidays depending where the bowl game land? When do you got to get them back at the bowl site‑‑ we can go on for a while on this one, this is pretty good. There's a lot of different things that get involved but it's a lot more logistical things in terms of your preparation.
But in terms of preparing for an opponent, you have enough time to get a game plan implemented. And then we try to get one week where we replicated it and then we came back and did another week and replicated it and did the same week over again and then went and go play.
What is your evaluation of how
COACH KELLY: DeMeco in the secondary? DeMeco’s done a really nice job in dropping, and I think Billy does a really good job of getting him matched up in favorable situations. And I think he's versatile enough where you can blitz Mychal and then have DeMeco cover, or you can blitz DeMeco and have Mychal cover, so it's not always the same look every single time.
Have you talked to Bill O'Brien this week about the NFL?
COACH KELLY: No, I haven't talked to OB in awhile. I just know what you guys know, what I saw on TV this morning but I have not talked to OB.
When the season started, you got to see
The crowd, obviously it was a big factor in the last two home games for you, how much do you need it to be a factor on Saturday?
COACH KELLY: They have been great, every game we have been in the Linc. We just didn't execute well on the first four and we played really well in the last four.But just the memories that you kind of think back and listen to them, the ‘We want Dallas’ chants in the Chicago game or just how loud they were in the Detroit game in the snow. And there were a couple times that I don't think we could see the crowd because of how hard it was snowing down there.
But they have been unbelievable and I think it's the fact that we got a chance to win the division and get to come and play a game back at home is huge for us and we are excited about playing at the Linc. We know it's going to be rocking on Saturday.
Teams that like to blitz, have you found that tempo can limit their ability to get it to some of those looks?
COACH KELLY: No, I think teams have done a good job of matching up when we get lined up fast. They are still being able to bring what they want to bring and I think they have been ‑‑ I don't think we have caught anybody off guard.
People know what we are trying to do but they do a good job of still trying to get their packages in and execute them. But we are aware of that and hopefully we are calling the right plays that can handle what they are bringing at a certain time.
Can you talk about McCoy's work ethic, what he's been able to do to get to this point, what you've seen all year, the work he's put in to become one of the best backs in the NFL?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I think LeSean understands what talents he's been given, and you know, if you don't use them and don't really work on the craft, then you're wasting them.
And I think he's been that way. I think he's really bought into especially what our guys are doing in the weight room and when you listen to our guys in there talk about how he's working in there, I think it's what makes him such a special player is not only his talent but what his work ethic is in terms of how his approach to the game is.
Are you guys practicing outside this week because it’s supposed to be cold on Saturday night?
COACH KELLY: No, just whatever the weather is like and if we can get out, we want to get out and there's sometimes when it's going to snow or rain or reportedly snow or rain ‑‑ we got duped one time. But we try to get out if we can get out.