Chip Kelly addressed the media Friday afternoon in the wake of the Eagles' tough 26-16 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Though all phases of the team – offense, defense and special teams – struggled at times, Kelly felt the defense played much better against the Chiefs than the Chargers. He was proud of their effort in the face of adversity, since they were often put in difficult field-position situations. There were players who stepped up, but the defense as a whole needs to continue to improve, and everyone shares a piece of the pie. The next game will not get any easier for the unit, as it will face a stiff test against Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and his prolific offense.
"Pass defense, I've said before, is everybody. It's generating a pass rush, not letting the quarterback feel comfortable, being close in coverage. It's a combination of all those things. We did make an adjustment bringing Vinny (Curry) up and activating him, he had a pressure and a sack," Kelly said. "Now (we are) going to play the best – if not, in the top-two or three in the league in quarterback Peyton Manning – so, again, I think it's a combination of all those things. Earl (Wolff) played a little bit more, but I thought Nate (Allen) played well, too. They're growing. They're learning. It's a new system. It's a lot of new faces and it's something we'll continue to work on and coach them."
Kelly explained how for the team to come out with a win there has to be more than one phase performing well.
"I thought our defense really battled," Kelly said. "They're playing with great effort. That's the one thing they do control and that they do have a say in. I'm happy with them there. Can we make a couple more tackles? Yeah. Can we do a better job of getting (the offense) off the field on third-and-long situations? Yeah. But I think for how they played, coming out of the Chargers game, I think they responded and played a lot better. I just think offensively and special teams-wise, we didn't do a good enough job as a team to beat a team like the Chiefs. It's got to be all of us. It just can't be one phase clicking, and I think defensively we played well. Offensive and special teams, we didn't."
In a game like the one against the Chiefs, where there were so many negatives that got highlighted in helping contribute to the loss, Kelly vowed to take a different approach as he attempts to right the ship and get the Eagles back on the winning track. Coaches and players have to identify their mistakes and come up with ways to fix them because they are all in this together, and there is no help coming from the outside.
"I think you draw on the positives," Kelly said. "What did you do well, and then look at what correctable mistakes occurred in the game and address them. That's what I talked about in the locker room after the game with our guys. The people that are going to fix this right now were in the locker room last night. It's our coaching staff and our players. We'll get together as a group and get ready, put a game plan together to go play the Broncos. The one thing I do know, when you do lose, you can't feel sorry for yourself. That's not going to solve any problems. It's about putting your head down and going to work and understanding that mistakes are made. If you continue to make the same mistakes, that's where we'll really have an issue. Let's fix what we saw, what went wrong Thursday night and try to build upon it."
For the second straight game, the Eagles were nearly doubled up in time of possession. The issue has been a hot topic, as is typically the case following a loss. Again, Kelly reiterated that time of possession is not as important as the amount of snaps run. He remains steadfast in that conviction, particularly when turnovers and a lack of execution are the real culprits for poor play.
"We're not running enough plays on offense," Kelly said. "We turn the ball over too much offensively, we're not executing the way we're supposed to execute, and that's what we have to do to keep our defense off the field."
Michael Vick had his first uneven performance of the season. Kelly acknowledged Vick had troubles on the field and there are things he needs to work on, but also tapped into his mantra of trying to find positives.
"I thought (Vick) played OK," Kelly said. "He has played better, but it's always a combination – I know you hear that word from me – but it really, truly is. It's a team game, and it's not always on one guy. We had a couple balls tipped. We have to get some guys' hands down. We've got to be able to stand in the pocket at times. We've got a situation where we need to be able to get to the top of our drop and not give up so much pressure. Then there are times for (Vick) where the ball has to get out quicker in certain situations. I thought (Vick) played OK. I thought he really kept some things alive with his feet and gave us a dimension from that standpoint."
LeSean McCoy gave everyone a scare by going down with an injury before halftime, but then returned to perform tremendously in the second half. Michael Vick was also hurt on the final offensive play of the game for the Eagles when he lost a fumble. Nevertheless, Kelly said the only injury of note was safety Patrick Chung, who has a "shoulder contusion" but should be ready to practice on Tuesday. "Besides that, we're healthy."
Going into Denver to play football, the altitude and how that will affect performance is always a consideration. Kelly has experienced those atmospheric conditions as a coach before with Oregon and thinks the concern is overblown.
"Football itself is an anaerobic sport. ... What we did when we were at Oregon, and we talked about it because we played in Boulder (against the University of Colorado) and it's a similar situation. I think a lot of it is more mental than it is physical. ... We're at the same advantage or disadvantage as anybody else who's going in there. We're going to practice like we normally practice and train like we normally train and go out there and play football."
In perhaps the best summation of why the Eagles lost to the Chiefs, Kelly offered the most simple, fundamental and correct explanation:
"The game of football always comes down to – at the end of the day, no matter how you want to slice it – one-on-one battles, and the Kansas City Chiefs did a better job in one-on-one battles than the Philadelphia Eagles."
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