Have you decided about how long you will play the starters on Thursday?
COACH KELLY: Our starters will not play, although in the secondary we may have to have one or two just because of the injuries at that point in time. We've got to kind of finalize that in the next day or two here. But with [CB Eddie] Whitley and [CB Brandon] Hughes and [CB Curtis] Marsh being out, we can't go through with just four guys available back there.
So there may be one or two of the secondary guys that we're going to have to roll through there a little bit. But besides that, we'll have to keep the ones out. Then get the guys trying to get that cut down from 75 to 53, the predominant amount of work, so we have big decisions to make on Fridays and Saturdays.
*What was Brandon Hughes' injury? *
COACH KELLY: Yeah, it's a hand, I don't know the exactly what it is, but it's broken somewhere.
*Is he going to have to have surgery? *
COACH KELLY: I don't know that yet, but I know there is a broken bone.
How concerned are you now with your numbers at corner?
COACH KELLY: We are concerned. With three of those guys going out, that's where postgame on Thursday will be a big day in terms of what becomes available. But our whole thought is we've got to play with what we've got. So that is a concern when you have three guys at the same position out right now.
*What about the quarterback situation? You mentioned starters, but what is the quarterback rotation going to be? *
COACH KELLY: Nick [Foles] is going to start, and then Nick and Matt [Barkley] will get the predominant amount of snaps, we'll try to get Dennis [Dixon] and G.J. [Kinne] in late. But Nick will start, and Nick and Matt will get the predominant amount of snaps.
*Is there a rough timetable for Marsh and Brandon Hughes? *
COACH KELLY: Don't have that yet.
*You guys cut Kenny Phillips yesterday. What went into that decision for you? Did you get an accurate gauge of what he can bring? *
COACH KELLY: It's just our depth at the safety spot. We have a lot of guys there and probably maybe gave him an opportunity to see if he can catch on somewhere. But our safeties are huge for us on special teams; didn't get a lot of special teams work out of him. So it was a matter of having to make a decision and when we got there, getting down to 75, what is the best way for us to get there?
Some of the injured players in the corner, with Dennis Kelly, in terms of putting the 53 together, what factor does the injury have?
COACH KELLY: Big. When can they come back? There will be a consultation with our doctors. When can we expect them? Is it back week three, is it back week eight? All of that has to go into the final decisions of who is playing 53. You have the Marshs and the Hughes, Dennis Kellys, so to speak.
As far as depth at the safety position, have you settled on two guys being your starter at this point? Is that still open? Is that going to go into this fourth game as well?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I think we'll get some work depending on how [defensive coordinator] Billy [Davis] wants to rotate the guys back there. So we may get another opportunity to see them. Pat [Chung] may not go on Thursday, but the other guys will go. So trying to finalize that.
What did Donnie Jones do to prove himself? Why is he the guy?
COACH KELLY: Donnie just proved to us, better average, little bit more experience than Brad [Wing]. I think Brad has big potential in this league, but he was going to have to show us [something since] he's got a guy in Donnie that's played a lot of football here. Did a great job plus 50 punts.
At this point in time, we just weren't going to carry two going into last week when had you to cut down when we know Donnie is the guy. So hopefully Brad gets an opportunity to catch on with somebody. I think Brad has the leg to kick in the National Football League, we just don't have the luxury of keeping two.
Are Isaac Sopoaga, Fletcher Cox and Cedric Thornton your starters on the line?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, we think so. But we're going to rotate those guys, so I think those will be the three that don't play on Thursday night. But we can't sit everybody because we've got to get some depth in there just from an injury standpoint who is going to play.
Some of the Jaguars were able to take away from the things you do on offense. Is that something you've seen many times before and Oregon, trying to do certain things to stop the read option?
COACH KELLY: I mean, I've seen everything to defend it, but I don't understand the question of them taking away thing that's we did. We had 450 yards of offense, so...
Well, just a couple plays here and there?
COACH KELLY: Well, everybody in this league is going to make plays. There wasn't anything particular scheme wise we haven't seen before.
When you watch film, what did you see from the offensive line in terms of some plays where they had protection issues? What did you see?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, more of a technique, working fundamentals, understanding where we are. It wasn't anything where the protection was set the wrong way and there were free runners coming in. But we did get beaten in some of the one-on-one match ups. That was just a matter of some of those guys have been out for a little while. It was a matter of getting them back and understanding where they're going to be. If there's supposed to be help on the inside, a couple of them just oversetting, little technical things. But the deal in being really good is making sure that you take care of the little things.
Is there an issue with Mike [Vick]? It seems like he held the ball quite a bit.
COACH KELLY: Yeah, there was just a couple, but I think it was great coverage. We had guys in coverage. Couple of those were seven man protections. So we didn't have everybody out there with three man routes and it wasn't blitzing. But those guys were now in great coverage. Part of being a great quarterback is making great decisions. So if people are covered, I would rather our quarterback hold on to the ball than release the ball.
What do you do to help Bryce Brown with ball security?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I know it's been an issue here in the past. On that particular play, their defensive back put their hat on the football. He did have the football tight against the side. He was swinging a little bit earlier in the run, but give their guy credit. It's not something that's just Bryce; I think it's everybody.
That's our responsibility. When you get the ball near the play, to finish the play with the ball. We talked about ball security all the time. We do all security drills every day, and we'll continue to do that. But it's a fundamental thing. Once the season starts, we can't lose sight of it. It's integral in what we do.
The turnover and takeaway battle is huge in this game. You can't afford to give possessions away. We lost one in the return game, and we lost one going in. [The guy] arguably hit the ball on the 1 yard line going in to score. And we threw a pick in the red zone, so those are things we have to stay away from. But it's something as a staff and as a team we constantly talk about and that we'll continue to drill.
Is there anything in watching the tape with the way Bryce holds the ball?
COACH KELLY: I just answered that question. On that play he had the ball tight against his body. Their defensive back came across and stuck his helmet on the football, so...
What have you seen from Bryce in general as far as running?
COACH KELLY: Tough, hard, physical runner. He's got outstanding speed for a big guy. Really is decisive when he makes decisions on where he wants to go. He was a downhill, one cut guy. I really have been impressed with Bryce as a runner. He's certainly a guy -- I think it's a luxury to have when you've got a couple guys.
I think Chris [Polk] has played really well, and we have LeSean [McCoy]. But the three of those guys, I would put that group up against anybody.
Some of the questions about Bryce compared to Damaris Johnson, is the play making explosiveness, and he's made some bad decisions, in the end zone and then the fumble. How do you balance the play making decision?
COACH KELLY: It's the same thing. That's what the preseason is all about. You hope those guys learn, and you have a situation where you can talk to them about making great decisions in terms of where you are. Again, he got hit pretty good. Part of what we talk about from a ball security standpoint, there are 11 guys on the punt return team, and we [need to do] a good job holding up and not letting guys get free runs from him. He's not in that situation. It's on him, but it's on everybody else at the same time.
*I think you mentioned earlier that you had a lot of safeties. But what positions do you think are the toughest for this football team? *
COACH KELLY: Toughest to make decisions?
Yeah, to cut down?
COACH KELLY: I think safety is one, because we're going to have to we're probably going to have to cut again at that position. Tight end is a position that I think of strength for us in terms of who we're going to release. Offensive line and defensive line, I think are probably the biggest ones in terms of quality football players that we're probably not going to be able to keep.
In the college game they don't have that many cut down days?
COACH KELLY: We have none.
So this is your job as far as the job in the professional, you've got to call guys in and tell them what they hope is their life's work isn't going to work out here. Tough for you as an adjustment?
COACH KELLY: No, it is tough. I think we, specifically as a staff, went about it that way. They obviously met with [general manager] Howie [Roseman], but they met with me. They met with the coordinator and they met with their position coach. For us, we have to make a lot of cuts. We have to go from 90 to 75, from 75 to 53. But for them, that's it.
I think Billy Davis made the point. Billy got cut in his one tryout with the Dolphins. That is the only time you get cut, and you remember that for the rest of your life. We have to do it, that's part of our job, but I think we were conscious of that. We sat down with everybody. Our coordinators all sat down with everybody. Our position coach sat down with them. It's a difficult time.
But I think a lot of it is just thanking them for what they did in terms of how professional they were when they were here and what they gave to us when they were here. If we can help them in any way, we will. Some of them are guys that we'd consider practice for our players if the opportunity presents itself, know what's available to you, so we can't make any promises.
But we did cut down yesterday a bunch of really good guys that we enjoyed coaching. That is the hard part. There is a certain number that's going to make it. You start with 90, and you have to end up with 53. How that comes about is difficult.
Sometimes it's an injury for certain players, and they can understand. 'I didn't make the team because I got hurt.' Sometimes they gave everything they had, but it's not in the cards for them, so it is a difficult time.
Did Jamar Chaney not fit in the scheme?
COACH KELLY: It's not that he doesn't fit in the scheme. It's just we can't keep everybody. It's the same thing. As you move on, there are a lot of guys as you sat in there that you say, hey, it becomes a numbers game. So someone had to go with the inside linebacker position at this point in time. So where does it fall?
You have to make some decisions. Sometimes it's razor-thin close, but you can't say, 'Hey, give me a couple more days.' It's got to be done. We also didn't feel in every case the top [benefit for them was to be] at practice Monday and Tuesday then release them because we've got to cut down tomorrow.
What was the thinking behind keeping five quarterbacks?
COACH KELLY: Because of the versatility they give us in practice and how they can help us at this point in time.
Is Todd Herremans 100% healthy?
COACH KELLY: He was banged up a little bit last week, but I think he's getting back to where he needs to be.
Jason Peters, it was his first game in a year and a half and that group of five guys have only played forty snaps or so in game situations. Were you tempted maybe to play Thursday night?
COACH KELLY: Was I tempted? No. You also have to think in our first three games happen in 11 days, and we've got to play on a Monday, and a Sunday, and a Thursday. So there's got to be that balancing act that you do. It's a very, very long season, so you have four preseason games. You have 16 regular season games and then playoffs.
So there is a part [of me] where, hey, I'd like to get those guys as many reps as we can. But we have to understand the bigger picture here. We weren't tempted. I thought Jason's first action actually played really well. There are some technical things he'll tell you. He's probably his harshest critic. But we're comfortable knowing we have number 71 out there, so...
Sounded like DeSean Jackson was going to return punts; is that not in the plan?
COACH KELLY: No, that's in the plan, but I know DeSean can return punts. We don't need to expose him in the preseason. But there will be a time when DeSean's back there.
How comfortable are you with Nate Allen and Earl Wolff as the safety position right now?
COACH KELLY: They both had real good plays and they both had plays they want back. It's a work in progress at the safety position. So I'm not going to sit here and say either one of those guys are playing at an All-Pro level right now. They both know what they need to work on. I'm seen improvement from Game 1 to Game 2 to Game 3, but it's a work in progress for those guys.
The run defense seems to be giving up big chunks of yards. Is it the scheme, is it switching the three four personnel or all of the above?
COACH KELLY: I would say it's all of the above. You look at the long run we had. We had two kids cut and knocked down on the ground. One of the guys misses gap integrity, and we had two guys take very poor angles to the football. We really didn't get a hand on the guy. I think that's all part of it when you look at that specific play.
So it's a process of going through it and making sure guys understand where their role is, what their responsibility is, and being where they're supposed to be when they're supposed to be there.
Are you comfortable with the defense heading into the opener at Washington?
COACH KELLY: We haven't played Washington yet. Am I comfortable? Was I happy we had a 63 yard run last week? No.