On looking back on this season:** "There were a lot of high points. I would say, to see this team come together was a high point. When you make a coaching change, you have to transform to a new culture. These players and the coaching staff just formed an incredible bond, ability to prepare and an ability to win. That can take years and they did it in six months. That is what is so great here. We are all crushed to be eliminated. We are in this because we love it so much, but I have no doubt that we will be back and that we are more confident than ever, now that we know what we can accomplish."
On whether this year, being head coach Chip Kelly's first year, felt different than other first years of previous coaches: "There is just so much promise with Chip, his staff and this whole group. We have a young dynamic coaching staff, merged with a young terrific group of players, who really want to win. They do it with class and they do it with great chemistry. They love each other. They will do anything to train and be better. This will only serve to motive them further. They know now that they are good, now they just have to get better."
On what needs to happen for this team to take the next step: "I think we have to get off to a better start of the season. This year we had a young team and they were just finding out how good they were. I think if we can get a first round bye next year, that would be the goal. I think we will aim to win the division and get a bye. But, this group is awfully pleasing to us and the fans. It is such a great group of guys, the players and the coaches that you can't help but root for them because they try so hard. You can see this in May, June and July. You could see this coming together. It didn't reflect in the record early, but once you saw what they could do, coming back from 20-7 in a playoff game tonight. It was heartbreaking."
On whether he thinks the team has found their franchise quarterback in QB Nick Foles: "I don't want to comment on any player, but how can you not be impressed with Nick, with everything he has accomplished, including tonight. He had no turnovers and led us back from 20-7. He is incredibly impressive."
On whether anything about Chip Kelly surprised him this year: "Well, I am not totally surprised, but I was reminded weekly of how dedicated, intelligent and dynamic he is and how much he has a feel for players. It's not just about his X's and O's, we know it's pretty dynamic. But, his ability to rally and bring people together for a common cause is very impressive and is going to serve us great starting next year."
On whether Kelly has surpassed expectations this year: "My expectations were more about making sure that we had a terrific coaching staff that could transform a roster and a group of young players into something special. That was is. It was not about wins and losses. I was incredibly impressed by how quickly Chip and his staff were able to get this group together and perform extremely well. There is just so many good, young players around this locker room that will be incredibly dedicated when they come back next spring. We know that."
On whether he feels that the team is in good shape to get better next year: "Oh, for sure. This is just the tip of the iceberg. It's a missed opportunity and it's the tip of the iceberg. I think that everyone in this room knows it. It's a very young team and at the same time, they already learned what it takes. Now they just have to execute a little bit better, have a better start of the season, and I think that they clearly feel as though they have what it takes."
On whether he is optimistic about what new players the team can bring in next year: "Oh, sure. I am very confident."
On how impressed he is with the last two draft classes: "It's been the unwritten story of the season. When we streamlined the draft process, allowed (general manager) Howie (Roseman) to bring in great people and the last two draft classes speak for themselves. We are poised for a really good draft this year. At the same time, the atmosphere here is great and I think it will attract terrific players around the league. If you are a young player, wouldn't you want to play for Chip?"
On what the one positive thing he takes away from this year: "Again, this team has an incredible chemistry. We have excellent young talent and wonderful coaches. That is a powerful combination. If you combine those three things, you can go anywhere. There was a missed opportunity tonight, we were a dangerous team."
On what QB Michael Vick has meant to this team over the past few years: "Michael has been as impressive to all of you, I am sure. But, to us, internally, he is so incredibly mature; he's a great teammate and the ultimate leader. He is somebody who has helped Nick tremendously. He has been a joy to have. He has represented the team always with class. I didn't know a lot about Michael before he came. I had heard a lot and he has been very impressive.