So you go into the preseason game, do you have a punter yet?
COACH KELLY: No. Our whole plan going into this is we have two days today, Saturday and Sunday, where it's just basic fundamentals. If you saw us, a lot of situation work into the game into the half scenarios, that will go on again tomorrow. Then, as a staff, we will sit down on Monday because it's an off‑day for us and put together our plan for the Jacksonville game.
How much are you starting to get into preparing for the regular season?
COACH KELLY: It will start on Tuesday for us. So as a staff, we are going to take ‑‑ Monday is an off day for the players but it's not an off day for the coaching staff and we'll prepare for it that way. We'll get it Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday in practice wise and then play the game on Saturday.
So this will be closer to a game week for us. The other ones have been ‑‑ training camp and then we have a game. The fortunate thing for us when we practiced with the Patriots is we didn't have to go over any of the Patriots looks because we practiced with them for three days so they showed us their look, and the same thing for them. We did a little bit last week but not much. We'll do more again in week and that will start for us on Tuesday.
Can you talk about the times where you had a quarterback competition and then announced the starter the week of the game?
COACH KELLY: I announced it the same way just like I talked about before we put our gameplan together to play those guys.
When we were getting ready and our game plan was getting ready to be in, literally, seven, eight days, whenever we broke camp so seven or eight days before the first game, we felt like that was ample enough time, through spring practice. We had 15 opportunities in the spring, and I think we had 22 opportunities before we named them, so we had 37 opportunities to watch those guys and that was kind of the scenario for what we did at the college level.
Was there a distinction between when you made your lineup and when you announced it?
COACH KELLY: No, because we knew we had that much time so it wasn't ‑‑ again, it's not a rush, and that's the one thing I've learned from this. I don't think you want to rush anything. You want to take what you have available to you and see how it plays itself out. That's what we did when I was at Oregon. That doesn't mean what we are doing here ‑‑ back then, you didn't have any preseason games at the college level so the unfortunate thing for us our quarterbacks never got hit.
So the first time [Oregon QB] Marcus [Mariota] got hit was the opening game, when he played against Arkansas State, the same thing for [Oregon QB] Darren Thomas, first time he ever got hit was the opening game when we played New Mexico. We didn't have a preseason game, so it was a little bit different than this.
Are you starting to get more clarity? What are you looking for in terms of setting the depth chart?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, that is starting to fall into play and obviously we have a lot of discussions about that. We have personnel meetings every three days. We sit down as a staff and start to talk things out and go through scenarios and things like that but part of that is you're always, you know you're two weeks out or three weeks out from when the game is because, hey, I really like him and the next day you find out he's out. We really liked [WR] Jeremy Maclin as our 'X' receiver.
So sometimes you always have to discuss it but you also know that there's going to be things that arise that will change that whole picture. You know, the receiver position is a prime example of it. You went in feeling that that was a position of depth with some players and then all of a sudden you lose [Jeremy Maclin] and [Arrelious Benn] and BJ Cunningham and now we fortunately had an opportunity to pick up a player in a trade. Now, how quickly does Jeff [Maehl] get acclimated to where we see if he's in a position to compete for that four, five, six spot in terms of who we are going to keep?
We do talk about it all the time but again, you have got to factor in what happens on the practice field, because you're going to look up and say, 'Geez, he's not with us so now what do we do?' Same thing with linebacker, Jason Phillips and I know [special teams] coach [Dave] Fipp was really counting on him from a special teams standpoint but now he's out, so not only a linebacker spot when you lose someone like that but it's also a special teams spot.
How has C Jason Kelce performed, especially considering the fact that he's coming off a serious injury?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, good question, I think Jason has done a really, really good job. He's got a great grasp of what we are trying to do. He's a real student of the game. Gets everybody lined up up front. He's in control of our line calls in terms of setting the blocking scheme based on what we called and what we lined up in and you can tell the difference.
We started off, because he wasn't participating in all of the OTAs, he really didn't get snaps until we got to the mandatory mini‑camp in June but there's a distinct difference when Jason is in the lineup and Jason is not in the lineup. So I think he's done a really, really good job and we're really, really pleased to have him back.
As well as QB Mike Vick has played, he says he doesn't want to ever look at this, whether he's named the starting quarterback, not named the starting quarterback ‑‑ he's been in the league for so many years and done so many things, how much can that mentality help him with whatever happens this season?
COACH KELLY: I think tremendously. You know, I think no matter who you are, that's the one thing, when you look at great ones, you marvel at [Patriots QB] Tom Brady. When I got a chance to visit with Tommy when he was here, he was talking about putting his work in and the time.
Once you think you've arrived in this game, you're going to get passed on by. Just because somebody and no matter what the situation is, quarterback, running back, offensive line, you become a starter that doesn't mean all of a sudden you can kick your feet up and say, now I'm all set this is a good deal. It's about getting better every day and there's always something you can learn, whether it's as a coach or as a player.
I think that mind‑set will really benefit Mike in the long run.
Have you decided on a quarterback rotation for Jacksonville?
COACH KELLY: No, I said that earlier. We have got two days here. We have got a lot of situation work in today and this was all part of the plan. We'll do a lot of situation work again tomorrow. We wanted to see in the first two preseason games what we could have covered. We have got a four‑minute drive at the end of the game, so we got ‑‑ it was with our threes but we got a chance to work the clock.
We actually had two two‑minute drives because we got the ball back with about 30 seconds, but Mike got us into the two‑minute situation at the end of the game. Now, after the first two games, what scenarios do we need to continue to cover so that we are prepared as we go into the season?
So that's what these two days are going to be about. It's fundamentals and a lot of game situations, so you saw us today with 'X' amount of seconds on the clock, no time‑outs, need a field goal, need this, need that. So we have some tape to teach off of and we put those guys in those situations.
And then as a staff on Monday, our players are off but we will be in, and kind of put together our thoughts on how we are going to attack not only the rest of the week but kind of try to simulate what a game week would be like for us because we are going to play on Saturday. Those decisions in terms of rotations and things like that will be made Monday.
With regards to Vick and QB Nick Foles, when you look back and watch the tape, what did you think of their decision‑making process in terms of what they did?
COACH KELLY: I thought they did a nice job. As I said after the game, as I think both of them have really done a good job of grasping what we are asking them to do, I'm sure Nick wants that one play back. But those things happen.
But in both instances in two weeks in a row which I learned from Nick, he can bounce back from an adverse situation. Not that you ever want to be in one but at least you kind of know how he'll be. I think from at least a decision-making standpoint, both those guys have done a nice job.
Those two fumbled snaps Nick had ‑‑ to take his eyes off the ball or what happened there?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I think he'll be the first to tell you, I think he just kind of had his eyes up trying to look at the coverage and that's just a fundamental thing. It's no different than a receiver ‑‑ we had one or two drops as receivers in that game, but it's something that you can't take for granted. We work on center quarterback exchange every single day and we'll continue to work on it.
Do you have a pretty traditional view of the third preseason game?
COACH KELLY: In my history of preseason games in the NFL, got it down pat. I've got a lot of guys on our staff ‑‑ and that's one of the reasons we have the Pat Shurmurs and Billy Davis and Ted Williams and Duce and all those guys have been there. As I said earlier, all our plans on what we are going to do, we will talk about them on Monday as a staff.
When you're on offense, the music playing over the loud Speakers, is that ‑‑
COACH KELLY: In practice?
No, during the game, the preseason game, there was a lot of music playing while the offensive line ‑‑
COACH KELLY: Yeah, they talked to me about that. I never noticed that. I don't know. They said that they can do that this year and they were going to experiment with it during the preseason and then we would tell them if it affected us. We are pretty focused. I don't think it's that loud on the field but I don't know. It's more of a fan experience thing. It's not an us thing.
The offense at this point, are you finding the defenses ‑‑ not as complicated ‑‑
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I don't think ‑‑ I think everybody is kind of ‑‑ you're caught between how do you evaluate your players, and then how do you put yourself in competitive situations. So I don't ‑‑ I don't think we have seen a ton of complicated things on the defensive side of the ball. I don't think we've done a lot of complicated things, and I think part of that is because ‑‑ not because we are not trying to show things but we want to make an evaluation of what our players can do and can't do, and I think when you try to ‑‑ sometimes you complicate it too much, they are not allowed to play and show their true ability, because you've got them thinking too much.
So I think that's part of what our process has been. Let's go out and play and see what they can do when we put them in situations.
Injuries to tackles Jason Peters and Dennis Kelly gave you a chance to get a pretty good look at Allen Barbre, curious what your impressions are after the first two preseason games?
COACH KELLY: I think Allen has done a really nice job and I think really when [Peters] went down that was a big question for all of us was do we have another tackle. Obviously with Lane [Johnson] and Jason we got two pretty good ones but if those guys were to be out who would be the next tackle and I think Allen, to us, has really solidified his situation with us from a depth standpoint, because I think now ‑‑ we knew he could play guard, but now to have a guy that's a guard-tackle guy, and I think sometimes you've got seven guys active on game day, you're going to have to have somebody that's got some versatility and I think that's what we've learned from him and I think he's done a nice job. Especially considering the circumstances, just kind of threw him out there. It wasn't like he had been taking a ton of reps, in fact, he had taken no reps at tackle in practice or during the spring. Been a real surprise, tough worker, and it helps us with our depth up front.
Don't want to name a quarterback obviously right now ‑‑
COACH KELLY: I'd love to name a quarterback right now.
So what does a guy need going forward to still stand out in your mind? What are you still looking for?
COACH KELLY: They need to continue to play at a high level and I think when you continue to put them in different situations, that gets a chance to express itself.
But is the picture becoming clearer for you at this point?
COACH KELLY: I don't think we haven't thought of it that way. I think we are going through the process, you know, and we know we have got a little bit of time here, so we'll go through the process and look at how it's going to express itself, get back, watch the tape today, put a lot of new situations in today, put it in today, see how they handle that.
After Thursday's performance, what are your thoughts on the transition defensive‑wise as you move over to the 3‑4?
COACH KELLY: They were better and I think it's understandable when you go from such an extreme. It was the first game, was their first opportunity in a game‑like situation to know. At times when you practice in preseason, it's very handcuffed, especially defensively. And I think that's the nature of how we do things, so it was good to see those guys in game two, you could see a lot of guys not pressing the issue, just understanding what their role is, where they fit what gap they are supposed to be in, where we are trying to spill the ball in the run game, who has the right rush lanes when we are getting after the quarterback, where we are from a coverage standpoint. I think collectively, we saw them settle down a little bit and just, you know, show some of their real ability that we think they can play with. So it was good for us to get that second one out, especially after the bad taste the first game left in our mouth.
Besides the situation you talked about with the quarterbacks, what else do you need to know before you make that decision in terms of other variables: Leadership, knowledge of the playbook ‑‑
COACH KELLY: All of those. And I've said it since day one, I can't give you a sound byte of one second to tell you, this is what we are looking for. There's so many different factors that go into it, leadership, play selection, ability to face adversity and bounce back, ability to stand in there versus a rush, ability to move a team no matter who is in there. There's so many different factors that go into it, I don't think it's a one‑sentence answer.
Do you like the environment right now where it's still in question, hanging out there, going into the third preseason game; that good for the program right now?
COACH KELLY: I don't think of it that way. That's just what the situation is.