Did you guys make a decision on the starting safety spot? **
COACH KELLY: Nate [Allen].
What went into that decision?
COACH KELLY: Film evaluation, games played, production so far through the preseason, camp and OTAs.
Why the decision to keep only three outside linebackers?
COACH KELLY: Special teams. Any back up spot we had on our team is all the value of special teams and where are those guys going to play? So if you're going to be a back up player here, you have to be on the team. That's where that is. Right now at our outside linebacker spot we have a lot of rush guys and not a lot of drop guys. The one drop guy we had was Connor Barwin.
So we kept a third rush guy. We kept Vinny [Curry]. We kind of look at Vinny could play in that spot for us if possible. But to keep another rush guy that's not contributing on teams just wasn't going to help us, especially when you get to 46.
Can any of the inside guys move outside?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, and we'll cross train them. We'll cross train Casey [Matthews] out there. Just in case you're at 46 in a game, you better have some versatility so, if somebody like Connor were going to go down, you better have another drop guy.
The fact that you're a little light on linebacker – is that indicative that the defensive ends didn't make enough of a transition to linebackers in the new 3-4 defense?
COACH KELLY: No, it's just what's available. So you've got to go with what it is. So we kept five inside linebackers. We wanted to keep eight linebackers. We kept five inside and three outside.
How close was the Nate Allen-Earl Wolff competition?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, Earl's pushing. Earl's pushing, and he'll play. Right now Nate's a little bit ahead of him.
He'll play on special teams?
COACH KELLY: No, he'll play at safety too.
COACH KELLY: No, we've just got to get him in the game. But it's not a special package where we have an Earl Wolff defense. He's going to go out there and play safety, yeah.
Do you plan on rotating them sort of like you did in the preseason?
COACH KELLY: No, we're just going to play them. I don't know the exact rotation. It's not a set thing. But we know we've got to get Earl in at safety.
How are you feeling now that it's the first week of the regular season?
COACH KELLY: It's our first game, and we're excited. There is an energy around here. Our players are excited, our staff is excited. We've got to get a lot of good work in this week from a preparation standpoint.
For you personally though?
COACH KELLY: I'm giddy. Can't you tell?
The Redskins ran the read-option quite a bit last year. How comparable is it to what you saw at the college level some of the concepts that they use?
COACH KELLY: I mean, they do some things that are comparable. But they ran the pistol, which we saw when we played Nevada, but not many people did that, so there weren't a lot of people running that offense at the college level either.
How much influence does Michael Vick have into the offensive game plan this week?
COACH KELLY: Mike, we don't consult with Mike on what we do. But we always talk to all our quarterbacks and did it through the whole preseason. What do they like on third down? What would you call most situations? Because I think part of us making decisions on what we're going to do is what they feel comfortable doing. None of us on the coaching staff are playing the game. So we talked to our quarterbacks all the time. But Mike's not in there game planning with us.
It's been a while since you've been an underdog in a game. What is that like?
COACH KELLY: We don't pay attention to that. So I've never looked at we were the favorite or we were the underdog. I've never I don't go in there telling our guys what the point spread is before the game. I don't think that has anything to do with it. I don't think any player's mindset is like that. Our coaching staff's mindset is not like that.
Matt Barkley will run the scout team for the quarterbacks?
COACH KELLY: Yes, Matt and Nick [Foles] will. We'll rotate those guys.
Do you have a guy that simulates Robert Griffin III or any kind of running quarterback?
COACH KELLY: No, but our guys see it all the time when we do ones versus ones. They'll get a chance to see our one defense go against Mike, so they'll see Mike in those situations. So we do a lot of work on Wednesday and Thursday, ones versus ones. They'll get a chance to see what he did from that standpoint, and I think that will help us this week.
What do you talk to the players about preparing for on defense? Are you preparing for who RG3 was last year or who RG3 is now?
COACH KELLY: I think we have to prepare for what we've seen on film. If we start trying to dream up what we predict we think he may be, I think we're going to fool ourselves. If I was him and we had this, we should do this. You know, what they ran on tape and what we've seen out of them is obviously an extremely dangerous person with the ball in his hands. Both throwing it and running it, and we've got to prepare for that.
Do you think Michael Vick is still a franchise quarterback in the NFL?
COACH KELLY: I don't know what the term 'franchise' is. I know he's the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, and if that's a franchise, then the answer is yes.
Does Michael Vick have to be prepared for extra hits because he'll take more shots at quarterback when he's faking a run?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, but I think any quarterback has to be prepared for hits if they're carrying out fakes. That's just the rule in the game. Whether I hand it off and was carrying out a boot leg fake, the way the rule is, those guys have to make sure they're aware they can be hit. We talked to Mike about that. We didn't see anything in the preseason that would make us nervous about teeing off on a guy that doesn't have the ball in his hands?
What did you tell him?
COACH KELLY: I mean, we've talked about it and he's prepared for it. Mike understands that people are going to run at him when he's carrying out fakes. But I think that's the same thing for any quarterback. That is the same thing for RG3 too.
What can you do to prevent the hits on your quarterback if they're allowed to hit you?
COACH KELLY: They've got to catch you first, right? So carry out your fake, run really fast.
*The first game in Oregon didn't go the way you wanted but you still had a terrific season. Did that experience and all the turbulence *
COACH KELLY: Appreciate you bringing it up.
But did that help you prepare and come back?
COACH KELLY: I think any game you play whether you win or lose, there is no I don't think when you win you say, hey, we didn't learn anything from it. I think can you learn from the games that you win and learn from the games that you lose. We played a quality opponent that was a really good football team, really well coached team.
But I mean the turbulence.
COACH KELLY: It just happens. I think we're all a by-product of our experience. Did we learn from it? Yeah, we learned from it. But do I want that to happen again in this game? I hope not.
How different is it with 61 guys practicing at the NFL level as opposed to what you had in college?
COACH KELLY: Just trying to regulate the group work. So how do we get offense and the amount of reps and who is on scout squad? Giving us those looks and then we flip it over and our twos, so to speak in practice our players have to be able to give our defense the proper look. We do a little bit of ones versus ones, and make sure we can get up to speed. But we're monitoring everybody else's reps. The biggest thing you're concerned with is everybody understands the ones offense and defense are going to get work. But the guys you have to take note of is the two offense and how many reps are they available for. The guys that have to play in games but gain 65 scout looks. But also, ended every rep in special teams and all those other things. I think we're really conscious of that. So we've got a pretty good plan in place to make sure we monitor that for our guys.
*You spent the last week *
COACH KELLY: Whoa. Are you moving? All right. Did you carry out your fake?
Sign me up.
COACH KELLY: There you go. I don't know about that.
You spent the last eight months answering questions about the team you said you didn't know much about. Now that you're through the preseason and you've got your 53, what are your expectations for this team?
COACH KELLY: Our expectations is to go out, compete hard, play and win the football game.
Do you have a little bit of an advantage? Because it's the first game, they haven't seen you guys on film?
COACH KELLY: I don't look at it that way. I know you're going against Mike Shanahan who is one of the really, really good football coaches in the history of this league. So if we sit there thinking in our meeting rooms that, hey, we're going to try to pull a fast one, that's not we're just trying to go out there, put the best plan in place based upon the 46 players we have available, and that's how we look at it and think about it.
*It's probably safe to assume *
COACH KELLY: It's never safe to assume, just in general.
Okay. You guys probably didn't show as much in preseason as you're going to show?
COACH KELLY: No, but neither did they. Look at what they did defensively. They were pretty vanilla in what they did. That's kind of an MO for everybody in this league.
Putting together the 53, what considerations did you take in terms of players that played for you at Oregon?
COACH KELLY: None. It's about special teams. Every back up player on this team, and we've said it since day one. There are three ways to make this football team: special teams, special teams, special teams. It's where they contribute from a special teams factor. If you're going to be the fourth or fifth receiver, and right now that's Damaris [Johnson] and Jeff [Maehl], and that is the value they have. It's the same thing. Why do we keep three inside linebackers as opposed to one back up outside linebacker? It's how those three players contribute on special teams. That's why we made the move to get [Najee] Goode from Tampa Bay. It's the same thing. When you think about it, you can stand out there on Sundays or for us on Mondays with 46 players, you know, with your starters not really contributing a ton on special teams because they've got to play X amount of snaps offensively and defensively, those guys got to go. And the special teams consideration at times outweighs their production as a back up linebacker or back up wide receiver. How are they contributing in the game? They're contributing as a special teams player. So all of our decisions were based on special teams when it came to back up guys.
How much can having Oregon players here help you at all kind of build what you're trying to do here?
COACH KELLY: If we were going to sing the Oregon fight song, it would. But besides that. I'm familiar with them and I know what they can do. But I know what Jeff [Maehl] can do as a special teams player. I know what Casey [Matthews] can do as a special teams player. I was with Pat [Chung] for a year. But Isaac Remington is a kid we brought in. We moved him to the offensive line just before we released him. The other guys we released on the offensive line aren't practice squad eligible.
We think he's got an upside as an offensive lineman, and we'll take a look to see what he can do. But also with Dennis Kelly out, we only have nine bodies in here for the offensive line. We had to at least get a tenth guy in here so we were two deep from a practice standpoint.
Is [Dennis] Kelly definitely out?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, Dennis is the one guy.
And Brandon Hughes also?
COACH KELLY: I haven't gotten the final decision. But he's got another meeting with the doctor later in the week.
COACH KELLY: James Casey is practicing.
Brandon Boykin is starting the season as just the nickel corner?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, Cary Williams and [Bradley] Fletch[er] will start at the outside corners and Brandon will be the nickel right now.
You've got three good running backs out there. I guess LeSean McCoy will get most of the reps. Are you looking to utilize all three with Bryce Brown and Chris Polk?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I think all three of those guys have certainly proven the ability to play. But it all depends on how the game is going. So, how many reps you're getting offensively. But I have no issue if Bryce is in there on the fifth play of the game. If L3Sean just had four runs in a row and the fifth one maybe a 20 yarder and he's tired, then we've got to get Bryce in the game. It's the same thing.
But I think we've got confidence as a staff in all three of those guys.
You said that you don't care who starts, it's who gets the reps and plays and so forth. Players do care who starts. How do you get that feeling into that locker room?
COACH KELLY: I don't think they do. I think our guys want to play. So if you ask me the question I think they're the same with you, do you want to play the first play of the game or the next 60 of the game? You know, the bottom line is they want to play. So I don't think the starting thing is the big thing. That's what I mean when I say that. Do you play the first play of the game? Are we going to open up the game with two running backs, one tight end and two receivers - I don't think Jason Avant's going to be, oh my God, I'm not going to start. At the end of the game Jason Avant is going to play a lot of snaps for us.
That's what I mean by who is actually starting the game. It's how many do they play and how many reps do they actually get in the game.