You spoke last night of thinking maybe you took the foot off the gas a little too early. You don't want to play hurry up with a 33‑7 lead. How do you keep momentum if you slow down the offense?
COACH KELLY: It's a great question. You know, I think part of what we do in our successes is we get into a rhythm. It's almost like trying to get that first first down. It's not as much taking your foot off the gas from the standpoint of the tempo that you play, but it's just maybe play selection, some of those other things.
You're conscious of working the clock a little bit because it starts to get into a possession game. So when it's 33‑7, how many scores? It's four scores. How many possessions are left in the second half? Do they have enough time left on the clock? Are you just putting them out there?
Obviously you don't think you're going to turn the ball over, and obviously you don't want to go three‑and‑out and waste 20 seconds off the clock.
As I get a better feel for our guys, they get a better feel for us, it's something that you're always going to continue to work on. Four‑minute offense, so to speak, is just as important as the two‑minute offense. You mentioned the turnover you had. When you look back at the last 10 minutes, what did you see from your defense?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I think we put them on the field a little bit. I think it's the same thing, is that you have to be able to make some plays defensively, too. Also give them credit. Obviously we got out to a great start defensively to start the game, but you knew with someone of RG3's [Robert Griffin III] talent, that wasn't going to be a game where they kept serving up plays to us. You always wondered when you were going to take a shot. They were going to make a counterpunch to what you're doing to them.
It's a game that's always going to be ‑‑ most games in this league are always contested. Always going to be close. Is taking your foot off the pedal, also knowing a little bit more about the NFL?
COACH KELLY: They're capable of coming back everywhere. It's got nothing to do with the league you're playing in. It's how do you work the clock. We've got to practice it a little bit more. We do a lot of things at such a rapid tempo, I think our guys understand tempo and do that pretty good. We also have to learn how to practice playing it the other way really from a mindset standpoint, where we do everything 90 miles an hour, now you've got to go back to driving through the city streets. You need to kind of settle down and make sure you can still negotiate the turns.
That's just a work in progress. We haven't been together for a ton of time. It's a matter of getting a feel as we go through. It's not nothing to do with leagues or things like that.
Seemed like watching the game, guys felt it was fast, heads were almost spinning. Did it feel like the game and tempo was moving really fast or what you were used to?
COACH KELLY: No, I felt like it was slow, to be honest with you. I'm not joking. We've got to do a better job. We left the ball on the ground too much. We didn't get the ball to the officials. We could have sped things up from a process between plays. That's something we need to continue to work on.
If you're trying to shorten the game, traditionally in the NFL, that means more runs than passes. Because LeSean is such a big part, is that also going to be a fine line later in games with how much you use him?
COACH KELLY: No. I mean, we've got to do a better job of rotating some of those guys. We've talked about it as a staff. We need to see Bryce [Brown] a little bit more, we need to get Chris [Polk] in the game. We need to rotate our receivers a little bit more. When you're going to play that many snaps, you've got to make sure you don't run your own team into the ground.
That's kind of getting those guys subbed in and out. There were times they didn't want to come out. They've got to understand, if we're going to get that many snaps, we need to make sure we manage it so when we're in the fourth quarter we're fresher.
That's a coaching deal with all of us, making sure we distribute those reps.
Do you think players got tired in the fourth quarter?
COACH KELLY: From our players?
COACH KELLY: Yeah. But I think you always have fatigue in the fourth quarter, no matter what team you're on, what you did. You've played a game. So in the fourth quarter you're not going to be as fresh as you were in the first quarter. The biggest thing is not to be as fatigued as the team you're playing against.
There were a few instances where Michael Vick ended up being a blocker on running plays.
COACH KELLY: Those are not by design, not at all (laughter). Tell Mike not to do it, simply.
How do you stop him, though? We've seen NFL quarterbacks do that. He runs almost for contact.
COACH KELLY: No, I think he was trying to get out on that play, I think the one you're talking about. That may have occurred with him trying to get out.
But we're going to constantly coach it, emphasize it with him. There's a lot of things I saw out of Mike that we've emphasized since I got here that we're happy with, other things we're still working on, other things he needs to work on.
What about sliding head first?
COACH KELLY: I think that's the way Mike likes to do it. I think that's the way he's going to do it. We've just got to make sure that we can put him in a little bit better situation than that.
But I don't think we're going to get him to hook side, I can tell you that.
Are you more compelled to call the league about some of the so-called injuries the Redskins were having?
COACH KELLY: No, I have no issues with any of that stuff.
Seems like every time Mike Vick slides he takes a kidney or rib shot hard from the defender, that's not going to pile up?
COACH KELLY: I hope it doesn't. I'm also realistic in terms of I don't think at 33 [years old] we're going to get him to hook side. We can talk about it, wish for it. I don't see that happening.
What did you see from the offensive line last night? Gave Mike a good amount of time to throw the ball.
COACH KELLY: I saw a team play their first game. I thought at times, the first touchdown pass, he looked at DeSean [Jackson], outstanding protection, did a really good job. Then some other times, it's a loud stadium, communication issues where not all five of them were on the same page. We got some leakage inside.
That's to be expected in the first game. You don't want it to happen, but you understand where we are. Relatively new group together. Jason [Peters] missed some time in camp. Lane [Johnson] is a rookie. I was pleased, but we still have got a lot of work to do and a long way to go with that group.
Again, like everybody in our entire group, I like their effort. There's so many things we can continue to work on.
Anybody that played last night not being able to practice?
COACH KELLY: Bradley Fletcher is out right now with a concussion. There's a protocol to go through with the whole thing. He's the only guy that's a concern for us right now.
When did that happen?
COACH KELLY: In the game. I don't know the specific part.
When you run so many plays like you did, so many carries, the way you want to run this offense, how much do you have to worry about injuries to your star players?
COACH KELLY: I think you're concerned with injuries no matter how you are. We were in the 70s. There were a lot more teams that ran more plays than we did.
Again, we talked about we need to rotate, especially at the skill positions, with the way we run, we need to rotate guys at the receiver spot and the runningback spot. We'll continue to do that as our packages get a little bit different depending on who we're going to play.
We wanted to feature certain things against the Redskins. The Chargers are a different opponent. That will change.
We need to make sure we're cognizant of how many snaps guys are getting.
Do you feel short at the corner position?
COACH KELLY: No, I think Brandon [Hughes] being back is a huge help for us. We had talked about bringing Brandon back all along. He should be able to practice tomorrow.
When you look at the tape, how surprised do you think they were with some of the things you were doing? How much do you think was you out‑executing them?
COACH KELLY: I don't know about the surprise factor. A lot of things we ran they've seen on tape. We did it at Oregon. I don't think they were ill‑prepared. I don't think there was a surprise factor, to be honest with you.
Why did you have Lane Johnson and Jason Peters line up on the same side on some plays?
COACH KELLY: They were just tired and we didn't want them to run back to the ball. We told them to hang out, out there (laughter).
Did anybody stand out on tape?
COACH KELLY: Stand out? No. You know, I think overall as a group, I said it last night, I think their efforts were outstanding. There's a whole ton of work for us to continue to do in every facet.
But I think the one thing that we'll harp upon and we'll always continue to do, is if you play hard, you've got a shot at winning each week. I thought that's what we did. There wasn't like, Oh, my God, I didn't realize that. There were a lot of guys that played really well last night. When you see the tape again, I thought they did.
We asked you a lot about players buying in. Last night from their words, sounded like they were salesmen for it. Did you think it was going to happen this fast? Do you think that has any quickening effect in terms of the team's effectiveness that they have some ownership?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I didn't have any preconceived notions on how long it would take or where it would go from that standpoint. I think in any organization, any business, any group, I think when you have total buy‑in, everybody is committed to the same visions and goals, you're ultimately going to be successful.
That's what we constantly preach. We have a vision, a mission we're on. Our daily habits have to reflect the mission. We have a bunch of guys that understand that. They have to understand if they're investing in themselves they're investing in the team.
Our job as a coaching staff is to make sure they understand what that vision is, show them how to get there, honestly get out of their way and let them go do it.
On why Vinny Curry was inactive?
COACH KELLY: Just because we were only going to have 6 d-linemen active for the game.
Was that a defensive decision or special teams?
COACH KELLY: Combination of the two.
Is that because the Redskins are more of a run-first team?
COACH KELLY: Just a combination of what our depth is. In that game, we're going to have 6 linemen active, not seven. Always factor with the backup guys, special teams.
Does Michael Vick always have multiple options?
COACH KELLY: Always, no.
Most of the time does he?
COACH KELLY: No. I mean, it just depends on what we call. I guess the answer is, not always. Depends on how I play call it. There's times there's never an option. We call the play, formation the play, block the play.
Seems like there's always a safety valve for him.
COACH KELLY: There are. I'm not arguing the fact that there are. But the question was, are there always options? No. There's sometimes when we call a play and the play says hand the ball off, no matter what, because that's how it's blocked up.
It's not an always. I think that's the one thing. We don't always run the same play. We don't always have the same options. I think that's what makes the defense have to be very honest in terms of how they play. If there's always one way to do it, there's always going to be one way to defend it.
We have a wide variety in terms of how we can do it, what we're going to be able to give him. But the play call is real specific in terms of what he has on that particular play. There are sometimes when he has one read, sometimes two reads, sometimes no read. It's snap the ball, hand the ball off. We as play callers do that for him.
What made Mike Vick's touchdown run work so well?
COACH KELLY: You know, I just think we were taking advantage of their pursuit. At that point the way our runningbacks were running the ball, I would be pursuing, too.
I think very well‑executed up front, blocked very well, gave him an opportunity to take advantage if the defense is going to be overaggressive towards one aspect of the game, you hopefully will have an answer for it and that's what we had.
Four days till the Chargers. A concern with this group they might have a hard time focusing on the Chargers with the Chiefs four days later? COACH KELLY: You lost me on that one. We have one game.
You have two games so close to each other.
COACH KELLY: I didn't think of it till you asked me the question. I didn't know where you were going with it.
We've known the schedule since we got here. We know every game is the ultimate importance for us. There's no way you can say, Hey, we got another game next Thursday, let's focus and concentrate on that. I think everybody's attention is on getting ready to play San Diego. That's what this thing is all about.
Every week is a season. We got a little rhythm that we've got to get into. Our rhythm is thrown off a little bit because of the schedule, but our guys know it was done with the Redskins last night, we're on to the Chargers today. When the Chargers's game is over on Sunday, we go to the next opponent. That's how it has to work in this league for you to be successful.
James Casey, is there more value with him on special teams than the offense?
COACH KELLY: No. Again, what formations are we running? We were in a ton of 11 personnel last night. He's not in the game. A lot of times that dictates what they do. If we're 11, they have more DBs in the game. That was our thought process. That was it. It has nothing to do with James' ability, what we're happy with him, not happy with him.
Sometimes we're going to feature three tight ends prominently, and other times we're going to be a little bit more spread. Last night we were a little bit more spread.
A lot of talk was about how dynamic the offense has been. The Redskins were talking they didn't practice so much for the defense. How much more dynamic can this defense be?
COACH KELLY: I think our defense is still growing and we've said that since day one when we got here. We were going from a wide nine to a 3‑4, where that eventually stops it depends on our coaches doing a really good job, which I think we are doing, of assessing our players and trying to put them in situations where they can make plays.
We've played one full game. I was pleased again with our effort. We still made some mistakes. But I think each day you see our defense getting better and better and better.
I don't think we're scheme coaches. I think we're practice coaches. As we continue to emphasize fundamentals and emphasize their understanding, the better off we'll get at this thing.
I think for what we did in the first game, I was happy with how we played defensively but we still have got a long way to go there, just like on special teams and offense.
Did you get a lot of texts, calls from people that you know?
COACH KELLY: Yeah. I mean, I have friends that were happy about the game.
More than you would have thought? What was it like?
COACH KELLY: Do you want to know how many friends I have, is that the question (laughter)?
COACH KELLY: I don't have a specific number for you. It was a good feeling. I think any time you can start off like we did and be successful in the first game, I think people were generally excited about that.
But it's a, What have you done for me lately league. By the time we get back on the field tomorrow, no one is talking about what went on last Monday.
The rotating of skill players, how can you keep up this same pace in the course of 16 games? Are you in better shape than anybody else?
COACH KELLY: I don't know. It would be very presumptuous of me to talk about the shape of other teams because I've never watched them train. I know our team is in shape, I know how we train. We're very specific in how we do that. We can keep up what we're doing right now because we've been doing this since April.
If you're going to wait till the week before we play to say we need to get some extra sprinting in, it's probably too late. It's an ongoing process. It's not just what we do on game day. It's what we've done since our guys have been with us since April 1st.