Belated happy birthday.
COACH KELLY: Thanks.
Have you had your meeting with the quarterbacks yet?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I did. Nick [Foles] will be our starter, and hopefully we get Mike [Vick] back through a full week of practice, and he'll be able to be the No. 2 guy this week.
Is Nick your starter moving forward for the rest of the year?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, unless you know something I don't know.
What was the reaction?
COACH KELLY: They were both fine. They understand the situation. Mike wants to contribute any way he can, and that's the type of guy he is. He's a great teammate, great leader. He's been great for Nick over the games he's been out in terms of helping him develop. We've got a good situation. I think we have two quarterbacks that win games in the NFL, and I think you need both of them.
At what point did it become clear to you that Nick would be the quarterback going forward?
COACH KELLY: I was waiting until everybody was healthy before we had to make any decisions. There were no decisions that had to be made before this because Nick was the only guy we had.
Health‑wise is there anyone who's going to be limited this week?
COACH KELLY: The only guy who's not practicing today is Earl Wolff. Everybody else is 100 percent.
Mike said on the radio the other day, the way Nick is playing it would be hard for even him to take him out. Does it help when you have a guy who has that kind of mentality and that kind of team‑first look at the whole situation?
COACH KELLY: I think they both do, and I think it helps our team overall because both of those have a ‑‑ both those guys have great attitudes, and I think that rubs off on the rest of them, so I think that's a good point. But I think it speaks to kind of what the team is all about, too, and that those guys understand how this thing is put together in that Mike is ‑‑ the same thing I told Nick when we met in August, it's the same thing I told Mike today, is he's a chin strap away from having to go in again.
The big thing with Mike is he's missed a fair amount of time here, so we've got to get him back up to speed.
Do you think it helps the other 10 guys in the huddle knowing who their quarterback is going to be going forward?
COACH KELLY: We don't huddle.
The other guys on the field.
COACH KELLY: I think this team wants to just win football games, and I don't think they get caught up. They've got a lot of confidence in Nick, they've got a lot of confidence in Mike. Their job when they're out there is to go make plays and to do it, and we've got two pretty good quarterbacks.
Is there a change with how Nick relates to the guys and how the guys in turn relate to him since he's become kind of the de facto starter?
COACH KELLY: No, I haven't noticed a change. I've noticed the same way he's been treated since he's been here on day one, which has been awesome.
You gave them off until today.
COACH KELLY: Uh‑huh.
Did Nick come back early? Has he been here doing anything on his own?
COACH KELLY: No, everybody was out on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, so some guys were running around the building yesterday, but I did not see him.
Is the decision something that you talked to the team about or just the quarterbacks? Did you address the team?
COACH KELLY: No, I just talked to Mike and Nick, just like I did the first time.
In the summer you had the full competition there. What did Nick show you in the past few weeks that you didn't see in July or August?
COACH KELLY: Well, he's played a lot more games, and you get a lot more body of work to see him play. Again, I said the other day, I think he's done a great job of protecting the football and not putting us in bad situations. When we have a shot and can take it down the field, he's proven he can do that. He's got a great command of what we're doing. He's a lot more comfortable in what we're doing. So it's just kind of an ongoing process for him.
Will Mike get the normal allotment of No. 2 reps?
COACH KELLY: Yeah.
As opposed to more to get him ‑‑
COACH KELLY: No, he'll get the same because we've got to get Nick ready, too.
You had said back when Mike was your starter coming out of camp not to be looking over his shoulder. Is it the same with Nick if he has a bad game or things aren't good ‑‑
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I always believe you need to have one quarterback. I don't think our guys are going into games worrying about if they make a mistake. I want our players to always play from a desire to excel, not a fear of failure, so just go out there. The only thing I've told Nick before we go into the games is go let it rip, don't worry about things.
Your impressions of Arizona's defense, particularly Calais Campbell and Darnell Dockett up front?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, well, there's a lot more besides them, and those two are really, really good. They've got a lot of experience, a lot of guys that have played a lot of years on the defensive side of the ball. Besides those two you've got [John] Abraham and [Matt] Shaughnessy, Dan Williams, also, [Alameda] Ta'amu is another big guy in there when they're playing their base package. I think Daryl Washington and Karlos Dansby at linebacker are two outstanding players that are playing at a really high level. And then one of the best corners in the league, Patrick Peterson. Tyrann Mathieu is a great addition out back. It's a formidable defense, and they're playing really, really well right now.
They blitz a lot, too. Have you faced a defense that blitzes as much, and how has Nick done against the blitz?
COACH KELLY: Percentage‑wise, it just depends on what they actually choose to do going against us. Some teams have blitzed a lot before, and then in our game have chosen not to, and they've stayed with it. They match up with some of the other teams we've seen from a blitz percentage going into the game. It'll be interesting to see how the game plays itself out.
The challenges facing on the offensive side? Larry Fitzgerald has had pretty good games against the Eagles historically.
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I mean, he's one of the receivers in the league, but I think the emergence of Michael Floyd next to him is really what I think lends some balance to them so that you just can't say, 'Hey, we're going to take this guy away.' I think one has 50 catches, the other one has 49 catches. They've got two running backs in [Andre] Ellington and [Rashard] Mendenhall, and Carson [Palmer] over the last couple of games ‑ they're on a four‑game winning streak ‑ has really started to play really, really well.
I think he got there, [head coach] Bruce [Arians] is there, a lot of change in that program, too. Guys are starting to get comfortable with their scheme and they're starting to hit stride, and they're one of the hotter teams in the league right now, so we've got our work cut out for us.
Shortly after you were hired I think you met with Todd Bowles here just to get a feel for him. Do you remember what you thought about him? Did you guys kind of discuss just football ideas and what you came up with?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, it wasn't that long a meeting, it was a short meeting. I think he was actually already headed to Arizona at the time. I had a good conversation with him. He's got a really good football mind. He had some really good ideas. But I think that was kind of a foregone conclusion by the time I had gotten in here.
What really sticks out about Bruce Arians and the success he's had over the past year?
COACH KELLY: He's winning football games. That's what this deal is all about. You get judged by your won‑loss record. He did a great job last year when Coach Pagano got sick and took over for the Colts and kept that ship going in the right direction. You watch that team play, a lot of ‑‑ you could have gone two different ways in that situation, and I think he kind of rallied the troops and kept them together, and you're starting to see the same thing now in Arizona. They've got four straight wins, and they're really starting to play really, really well.
When you look at where the run game is right now, do you feel like with LeSean McCoy is having to deal with defenders in the backfield too much, or are you happy with where the run game is?
COACH KELLY: I don't think any running back likes to deal with defenders in the backfield too much, but I don't see that occurring at a high rate.
DeSean Jackson has become a much more well‑rounded receiver this year than previous seasons as far as 3rd down, red zone, things he really wasn't much of a factor in his first four years in the league. Did you have any preconceived notions about him when you came here as far as what he could do in your offense, and are you surprised at all that he's been a contributor in those areas?
COACH KELLY: No. I mean, preconceived notions, I knew he was really, really fast and really good with the ball in his hands. We as a staff had to put him in situations where we can put him in positions to make plays, and whenever we've called upon him, he's done it. I'm not a 'he can't play in the slot' [guy]. He's played inside for us, he's played outside for us, he plays in the red zone for us. He's a tough matchup because he's just very difficult to cover in a one‑on‑one situation.
How does getting Mychal Kendricks back change things?
COACH KELLY: All those guys are back, so he's back, Bradley Fletcher is back, there were a lot of guys nicked up, banged up, and they're 100 percent healthy or 100 percent cleared for practice and we'll get a chance to see them get out and run around. It just adds to your depth. Najee [Goode] did a good job filling in, but Mychal was really coming on before he got hurt. It's a good situation to be in, getting him back, Fletch back, and some of those other guys that were nicked up.
Is Earl Wolff still a couple weeks away?
COACH KELLY: I don't know. I just know he's not going today, and I don't anticipate him going this week, but I don't know exactly how long the timetable is.
Do you feel pretty good about sitting here going into week 12 and you're pretty healthy? Do you feel like that's a good situation health‑wise?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, you've got to have all hands on deck, and I think it's a good situation. You wish you had Earl with it, but besides that, the guys have done a really good job of taking care of themselves and putting themselves in position so that when we get back out there today everybody that's available will go.
I know your approach is the only game you look at is the next game. Is it hard or do you have to say anything to the players to keep them focused and not look at the finish line with only five games left?
COACH KELLY: Finish line means nothing if you don't take care of it this week. It doesn't ‑‑ I mean, I think it's very obvious to everybody involved. I mean, we've already lost five games, so we can't put ourselves in a situation. There is no leeway. I mean, we're a one‑week operation, and it's just about the Cardinals. And that's the way it should be.
I think too many people can get caught up in the stuff where what's going to happen down the road and who's going to be here, and then you always get surprised. I mean, there's a million examples that you can point to, but when we meet, we meet to talk about the Arizona Cardinals. So if I have to explain to these guys that we need to not focus on them and focus on somebody else, I think they would think I was crazy. They've got a good mindset, and I think they're in a good spot right now. They seemed excited at the team meeting this morning, and we're ready to get back to work.
You mentioned Carson Palmer probably playing at the highest level since his early years in Cincinnati. What do you see from him, and maybe as opposed to early in the season when he was struggling a little bit?
COACH KELLY: I think sometimes when you look at those guys, it's just getting familiar with ‑‑ it's a brand new system, getting familiar with your receivers, getting comfortable with those guys. Really, and a lot of times for us, we look at basically to get our number of snaps that we need to get from a breakdown standpoint, and you're looking at the last four games, and over the last four games, he's played outstanding.
At the time Mike Vick went down, were you open to the possibility that a change could occur, and at what point did you become convinced that this was the way to go?
COACH KELLY: I wasn't open to anything. I was just pissed off that Mike was hurt. I didn't say, 'Hmm, this is interesting, let's see if we'll open this up again.' It was, 'I hope we can get him back,' and then Nick [Foles] went down. I think everything is on ‑‑ and then Mike went down again.
I've said it a thousand times, I'll say it again. You've got to think about it on a one‑week basis, and that's it. Long‑term in the NFL is one week.
But this is more than a one‑week thing.
COACH KELLY: Right. Let's keep that going, right? Don't jinx him. I'm going to blame your ass.
At what point did it become ‑‑ did you become convinced this could be more of a one‑week thing for him?
COACH KELLY: I'm not convinced it's more than a one‑week thing. As long as we can continue to stay healthy, we will. But when you can predict the future, come talk to me. We'll go to the racetrack together.