You're allowing close to 330 yards passing and 70% completion through three games. What options do you have? I know it's not all the secondary. Any options personnel‑wise? Do you feel like you have the guys in place?
COACH KELLY: Obviously I think we were better in the Chiefs game than we were in the Chargers game. But pass defense, I've said before, is everybody. It's generating the pass‑rush, not letting the quarterback feel comfortable, being close in coverage. It's a combination of all those things.
We did make an adjustment, bringing Vinny [Curry] up and activating him. He got a pressure and a sack. So, you're going in to play the best if not in the top two or three in the league in quarterbacks in Peyton Manning [next week].
I think, again, it's a combination of all those things. But Earl [Wolff] played a little bit more. I thought Nate [Allen] played well, too. They're growing, they're learning. It's a new system. It's a lot of new faces. It's something we'll continue to work on and coach them.
As a head coach you haven't experienced losing much. What do you draw on when you face this kind of adversity?
COACH KELLY: I think you draw on the positives, you know, what did you do well, and then look at what correctable mistakes occurred in the game and address them. That's what I talked about in the locker room after the game with our guys.
The people that are going to fix this right now were in the locker room last night. It's our coaching staff and our players. We'll get together as a group and get ready [and] put a game plan to go play the Broncos.
The one thing I do know about it, when you do lose, you can't feel sorry for yourself. That's not going to solve any problems. It's about putting your head down, going to work, understanding mistakes are made. If you continue to make the same mistake, that's where we really have an issue. Let's fix what we saw that went wrong on Thursday night, and try to build upon it.
What is Patrick Chung's status?
COACH KELLY: From what [head athletic trainer Chris Peduzzi] told me, he's going to be okay. He has a shoulder contusion of the muscle. If we had a game today, he wouldn't play. From what they said, think he should be ready to go for practice on Tuesday.
Some of the offensive players said yesterday that they were doing a lot of man defense with the single high safety. That was one of the reasons why Mike [Vick] was in the pocket. Is that just a matter of winning individual matchups or is there something within the scheme that can get those guys?
COACH KELLY: A combination of both. Dialing up the right play calls versus that. Guys, when they had the opportunity, guys are getting singled, you've got to be able to get off coverage and be able to uncover yourself a little bit. That's where you also saw Mike take advantage of it in the run game, because then there's no one responsible for the quarterback. I think it's a combination of both those things.
Do you have an update on anyone else, health-wise?
COACH KELLY: Vick is fine. Everybody is fine. The only guy was Pat. They think Pat will practice on Tuesday. Besides that, we're healthy.
You said before that time of possession doesn't mean a whole lot to you. The last two games, it's been like two‑to‑one basically. Also plays run.
COACH KELLY: Time of possession means nothing. It's plays run. They're running a lot more plays and we're not running enough plays. That's what I mean. That's the whole argument that I've always had with the time of possession because a team can hold it for 40 minutes, if they run the same amount of plays, that's a different deal.
Right now, plays run, we're not running enough plays on offense, we're turning the ball over too much offensively, we're not executing the way we're supposed to execute and that's what we have to do to be able to keep our defense off the field.
James Casey was on the field for one snap. What does he need to do to form a role in the offense?
COACH KELLY: I think we've got some competition. The one guy that has really stepped up throughout anybody on our offensive team has been Brent Celek. I think Brent has done an outstanding job. He's really practiced at a real high level since camp. When you see him on the sideline and you see how fresh he is, I know he's a little bit of an older player in this team, but when I look at Brent on the sideline, I don't know if we have a fresher guy. That's a credit to him, the conditioning he's done.
But I think we're getting production out of that position. A lot of times in terms of playing multiple tight ends, it depends on what you want to face. If you go smaller, they go smaller, hopefully we can get some favorable matchups in that situation.
t's not something that Casey is not doing. It's a coaching decision that we feel comfortable in 11-ersonnel at times and 10-personnel at times.
Does Celek's ability as a blocker make it more necessary for him to be out there more snaps than the other guys?
COACH KELLY: Combination. I think he's the one total guy we've got that is an outstanding blocker. He had a big catch there at the end, touchdown catch in the Redskins game. I think he's played really, really well. I think it's a credit to Brent less than it's a knock on Case.
You talked last night about pressure, blamed a lot of that for Michael Vick's struggles. After watching the film, what did you think of Michael's performance?
COACH KELLY: I thought Mike played okay. He has played better. But it's always a combination unfortunately. I know you hear that word for m but it really, truly is. It's a team game. It's not always on one guy.
We got a couple balls tipped. Got to get some guys' hands down. We got to be able to stand in the pocket at times when we've got a situation where we got to be able to get to the top of our drop and not give up so much pressure. There are times for Mike when the ball has to get out a little bit quicker in certain situations.
But I thought Mike played okay. I thought he really kept some things alive with his feet and gave us a dimension from that standpoint.
You didn't seem to have as many of the quick developing plays…
COACH KELLY: I think when people start to play you man‑to‑man, they take that screen element away because they're rolled up on guys. But it's a catch‑22 for people. If you are going to do that, we have the opportunity like we did with DeSean [Jackson] going over the top. You play that cat‑and‑mouse chess game with them of how they're going to develop and how they're going to do that.
When they do roll up everybody and play that, then there's no one covering the quarterback. Mike had the opportunity to rip off a 61‑yard run. They're in man-coverage so there's not any support from it. So it's kind of where you are from it.
Tight ends, you signed Casey. You spent a second‑round pick on [Zach] Ertz. Those guys are on the field 20, 25% of the game. Is this offense different than you envisioned it back in the spring?
COACH KELLY: No. This offense is predicated on who's making the plays. When all your decisions are made, if we put this guy in, who are we taking out? Part of it is, I think Jason [Avant] is playing at a high level; he's our leading receiver. If we put a second tight end in the game, are we taking Jason out of the game? If we are putting another tight end in, we would be taking Brent out of the game?
I think Jason and Brent knew the situation coming in and have embraced the competition and stepped up their game. I think it's more of a credit to Brent and Jason than it is where are we from a standpoint of do we want to play two tight ends, three tight ends.
Whenever you make those decisions, part of it is who is going in, who is coming out.
Back to the two‑point conversions. You had six‑on‑five. They double decked one guy. Did you practice for someone going out that far? Was it a missed assignment?
COACH KELLY: Missed assignment. We got five guys, they have five guys. Should have blocked the five‑on‑five and we've got a shot at it.
Lane [Johnson] started off well in the first game. A rookie, growing pains. What do you have to do to get him back on track?
COACH KELLY: We just have to continue to grow him. One thing I know about Lane that we love about him is that he very rarely makes the same mistake twice. So part of this game is that you're a by‑product of your experiences. Lane's experience so far is three regular‑season games and a handful of snaps in the pre‑season.
Again, he's a real student of the game. He's new to the position just because of how little he's played offensive line in his career. A lot of guys are career offensive linemen. Again, he was a quarterback coming out, then played tight end, then played defensive end. Got all the athletic ability in the world, all the toughness in the world. He's a really quick learner, a great guy to coach.
There's so many situations that come up that all of a sudden you're like, all right, we've got to cover this with him. For anybody playing this game, you can talk about things all the time, but until they actually do it or you get an opportunity to be in that situation, those are the real true learning experiences for him.
I think he's just young. In this league, if you're young, you're going to make mistakes. When you make mistakes, the key is not to make the same mistakes. That's the good thing with Lane. There's going to be new things come up in the Broncos game that he may not have seen yet. We'll coach him up on it and continue to grow him. But I think he's got a great future here.
Can you talk about the philosophy of two‑point conversions versus the extra point?
COACH KELLY: It was a situation, we practiced it for a while. If you get an opportunity to get an extra point, and in this game, every game's close. If you get a chance to steal a point here or there, in the long run, it can really benefit you.
That's always been our philosophy. The ball's on the two-yard line. It's almost if we get a hat on a hat and Zach [Ertz] falls forward, you're in and you get two points instead of one point. That's really been our philosophy. Does it mean we're going to do it all the time? No. I think you pick and choose it.
Since you got here, everything has been great, positive. You lose two tough games. How do you, or is there a team leader, that has to keep everybody together?
COACH KELLY: I think fortunately for us we have a bunch of leaders. I think that will become evident as we continue to grow.
But I think I would argue with the point that it has been great all the time. We faced adversity. We faced adversity in camp. I think our leaders showed up in those situations.
In this game, in this league, winning football games is a difficult task. I think everybody understands that. It's about really kind of getting your mind set and getting into a rhythm.
Every week in a season whether you won or lost last week is really irrelevant in terms of moving forward. If you win, you can't be patting yourself on the back too long because the next team coming is hunting for you. If you lose, you can't be licking your wounds too long because the next team coming is hunting for you.
So we need to continue to move on. They've got a break here. We always planned it this way, playing the first three games in 11 days. Get an opportunity to get away here for a weekend.
I know for the amount of time I've been around this group, I know the team that will come back on Tuesday, they'll get ready to go to work. Can't face a bigger challenge than playing the Broncos in Mile High Stadium. That will get our attention. We'll be ready to play.
Michael was trying to force the ball a little bit more, especially to Riley Cooper. Is he regressing or is that a product of him trying to do too much?
COACH KELLY: No. I don't think he was forcing it into that situation. I think he threw the ball on the back shoulder. More of a location situation. If he puts the ball out in front of him, I think we've got a good throw.
When you play this game, it's that close. You put the ball out in front, hell of a throw. You look at the ball he threw to Brent [Celek] for a touchdown [against the Redskins]. Fit it in between three guys in the Washington Redskins game. If that's on the back, it might get picked.
Everything is close in this league. His location on that particular play wasn't where it should have been.
He was 13 out of 30 last night with throws. He seems to have missed some throws he normally makes. Anything with his feet being set?
COACH KELLY: Did he miss some throws? Yeah. In the opening game, he missed a couple throws, too.
But, I mean, he's still right now playing at a pretty good level. I think that's the one thing with that position, you're always going to get scrutinized. It comes with the territory. Mike knows that. I know that. That's part of this deal.
We expect them to be perfect on every play, put the ball in the proper location, make the proper read. Sometimes that doesn't happen.
We have to continue to coach him. He understands it. Let's go over it and review it. Has there been some throws he's missed? Yeah.
Multiple missed tackles on defense. Why is that happening?
COACH KELLY: Depends on the individual player that you're talking about. I think a lot of times sometimes it's fundamentals, are we getting 11 guys to the ball, is everybody running through the ball, wrapping up, tackling, or are we just catching?
They're all different variations, but every single one of them is addressed and covered with our players. We'll continue to cover those things.
Any chance to look at it defensively on tape? How did you view their overall performance?
COACH KELLY: I thought they did an outstanding job. In that first half we let the opening kickoff gash us a little bit, get the ball almost to midfield. Our defense goes on the field, stops them. They pump the ball to us, they fumble the punt. They still hold them to three points with the ball in the red zone. Then our offense goes out on the field and throws an interception that's returned for a touchdown.
I thought our defense really battled. They're playing with great effort. That's the one thing that they do control, that they do have a say in. I think I'm happy with them there.
Can we make a couple more tackles? Yeah. Can we do a better job of getting them off the field on third‑and‑long situations? Yeah. I think for how they played, coming out of the Chargers game, they responded and played a lot better.
I think offensively and special teams‑wise we didn't do a good enough job as a team to beat a team like the Chiefs. It's got to be all of us. It can't be one phase clicking. I think defensively we played well. Offensively and special teams we didn't.
On the topic of the punt return, you called Damaris Johnson shorthanded last night. There was an issue in the pre‑season. Not much margin for error. What is your patience level with him?
COACH KELLY: The issue wasn't the catch in the pre‑season. The issue is he got stripped. That's ball security. We've got to get that straightened out. Putting the ball on the ground in those situations is unacceptable.
At Oregon, when opposing defenses were going against the up‑tempo, was there a lot of cramping, guys needing time?
COACH KELLY: There were guys that got injured when they played against us, yeah.
More than typical?
COACH KELLY: I don't have the statistics compared to everybody else nationwide.
What did you make of the cramping yesterday?
COACH KELLY: Never, ever going to get into that.
We need to execute better and not turn the football over. That's the least of my worries right now.
Doing anything differently to prepare for the altitude in Denver in practice this week? Do you think that might be a factor?
COACH KELLY: Well, I mean, football itself is an anaerobic sport. From what we did at Oregon, we played in Boulder, similar situations. A lot more of it is mental than it is physical.
In terms of us being able to construct a hyperbaric chamber over that football field, we can't do that. We're at the same advantage or disadvantage of anybody else going in there. We're going to practice and train like we normally practice and train and go out there and play football.
Do you want the guys to get away from football totally, studying film, taking a mental break?
COACH KELLY: It depends on the guy. It's their deal. They knew what the schedule was going to be. I think it's part of it. If you play a Thursday game, you're going to be off on the weekend.
We didn't give an itinerary or tell them to do this. I know they've talked to our strength and conditioning coaches. There's optional things for them. If they want to come in, those guys can come in. Some of them need a break. Some of them can get a little bit of time away from here. I told them, be ready when you come back on Tuesday, got to be ready to go.
What Peyton Manning did in game one and how he's played, how big of a challenge are you walking into?
COACH KELLY: It's a huge challenge. He's one of the all‑time great quarterbacks in the history of the league, not just this season, he's done it for such a long time.
He prides himself on his preparation. I think it's a huge challenge. I think if you're a competitor, you're looking forward to it because we got a chance to practice for two days with Tom Brady. I think that was a great experience for this football team. Get a chance to go play against someone like Peyton Manning is a huge challenge.
Again, if you're a competitor, you get excited about that opportunity.
Have you ever met Peyton?
COACH KELLY: I worked at the Manning Academy a few years ago. He and Eli, Cooper, Archie, the whole family. They're what football's all about. It will be a lot of fun to go compete against them.
What has the process been like figuring out what works in colleges compared to how it translates to the NFL? Any example of things you feel like you've had to leave behind in college after going through a few games?
COACH KELLY: I understand the question, but I don't look at it that way. We didn't look at this when we put a game plan together of, this worked when we played against USC or UCLA or Stanford, so what is it going to look like against them?
What do we like versus man coverage, what do we like versus single high safety, what's good versus two‑deep, what's good versus a three‑man line, what's good versus 3‑4 spacing, what is good versus a 4‑3 spacing.
I don't look at it, This worked in college, it doesn't work here. It's still 11‑on‑11 football. The game last night was a prime example of it. The game of football comes down to it, no matter how you want to slice it, one‑on‑one battles. The Kansas City Chiefs did a better job on one‑on‑one battles than the Philadelphia Eagles.
On your philosophy about going for two-point conversions versus the extra point.
COACH KELLY: I think you're overanalyzing the go for two. If we block that, we're five‑for‑five, we score. It's not going for it, not going for it. It's an opportunity when the situation presents itself.
No different than if someone were to on‑side kick, but you decided to on‑side kick because the left tackle always bails quickly when you watch film. If he doesn't bail quickly, you called the on‑side kick, are you going to change all your tactics? No, you're going to study film and say, do the numbers match up and can we do something here?
It's not a tactic that worked at one level but doesn't at another level. I know whether you play Pop Warner football, high school football, college or the NFL, if you don't block your guy at the point of attack, he's probably going to make the tackle.
Run‑pass ratio was skewed last season because of the leads you had. This year what do you think of the run‑pass ratio for you guys?
COACH KELLY: Ours? I don't have a preconceived notion of what it should be. What it should be all the time, to be honest with you, we should run the ball more than we throw the ball because that means we're winning and we're going to run the clock out.
I'd love to be in four‑minute offense for the entire second half. That's not the ideal world. When we go into games we don't say, we got X amount of runs and X amount of passes. It's what is going to work when they try to defend us in a certain manner. That's what we look at what we're game planning and making decisions on play‑calling stuff. It's not we've got to be 60/40, 50/50, 65/45.
In an ideal world you want to be able to run the ball more in the second half because that means you're winning. That is not going to happen when you turn the ball over four times in the first half. I can guarantee you that one.