In practice, is Jason Peters full-go?
COACH KELLY: I think he may be running around a little bit today. I don't know, I would say probably limited today.
Is Monte Kiffin's defense the same as it was at USC?
COACH KELLY: No, he's ‑‑ I would say it's different when you look at him in terms of what he's trying to do. A lot of everything everybody does is personnel driven, so dealing with different players in the Cowboys than he had when he was at USC, so I think it's changed a little bit.
Is it primarily zone in the secondary?
COACH KELLY: No, I don't think that's the case either. He does a really good job of mixing things up. They play a good amount of man, man‑free and they mix in some cover two in there and play a lot of three deep, four under.
So he gives you a lot of problems in terms of how he presents it. But there's not just one thing where you can say, hey, it's this and this is what we have to prepare for because it's pretty diverse in what he's doing coverage wise back there.
Any reason to think Peters will not be able to play?
COACH KELLY: No, just going with what they tell us and today he's going to be limited.
What about Mike Vick?
COACH KELLY: He took some seven‑on‑seven snaps yesterday. We'll see how he is today. They lifted yesterday. They don't lift today. Once we get through the first couple periods running around we'll see how he feels.
*As far as their offense, is this as tough a challenge as you guys have faced all year? Obviously next to Denver, you look at the numbers, pretty incredible. *
COACH KELLY: Yeah, they are and we don't compare them to who else we played. Obviously the Broncos have a tremendous offense but when you have [Tony] Romo and [Jason] Witten and Dez Bryant and now with the emergence of [Terrance] Williams with Miles Austin being down a little bit, obviously they can do a lot of different things.
You just look at the Denver game, it was a hell of a football game and they can put some points on the board, they can do a lot of different things offensively, and you've got an experienced quarterback running the system. It's impressive.
*What have you seen from Romo specifically? *
COACH KELLY: I think he's got a great feel for how to play quarterback. He's got a lot of innate ability in the pocket. He's extremely accurate when he throws, but he also has an uncanny ability just to keep plays alive.
I think how he moves within the pocket, there's a couple guys that you look at them and say, hey, that guy has got great feet but he does. He's similar to a Tom Brady in that fashion where they are always moving, they always just put themselves in the right position to make the throw at the right time.
If you're a student of the game, a student of quarterback play, it's really ‑‑ you know, when you watch him play the position, it's impressive. I think he has the right feel, his eyes are always downfield and he's always looking and hunting up receivers and trying to make the big play and he's really done a nice job with it. I think they are doing a lot more with him calling plays at the line of scrimmage and so he's putting them in the right situation at certain times. It's a tough package to defend.
*Given the last couple of weeks where your defense has shown some progress, do you view this as sort of a watershed game for your defense? Are you going to keep making progress? *
COACH KELLY: We don't ‑‑ I guess to answer your question, we don't look watershed. Every week is a season for us and our challenge right now is as big as it can get because it's the Dallas Cowboys and it's the only game we are going to play this week.
That's the way we look at it. We don't look at it and compare this week and that week and how we are. They have got our full attention. We have kind of a routine and a rhythm that we have gotten into and we are back into a normal schedule. We are playing on Sundays.
We are getting into our battle rhythm, our Wednesday is our Wednesday. But our eyes are totally focused on the Cowboys and we are not comparing them to anybody else. We are not looking at watershed moments or leaving legacies or any of that stuff. We are playing Tony Romo and Witten and Dez Bryant and Sean Lee, and should be a hell of game on Sunday.
*Do you agree that you've seen some progress in the last couple weeks and is it important for to you keep moving in that direction? *
COACH KELLY: (Joking) Nah, it's not important. We told our guys to take a step back this week.
I guess my perspective, we don't look at it like that. We look at it as we have one game this week and we have to do everything we can to prepare for a hell of a football team and that's how we look at it.
Maybe at the end of the year you can kind of compare and contrast different weeks to different seasons. We don't look at it and say hey, this has got to be this. It's have we shown improvement over the last couple weeks? Yeah. But if you don't do anything this week, you're not capitalizing on it.
You hope over the course of time that you don't make the same mistake twice and that's something that you preach about as a coach, but literally for us, we don't get that deep where it's ‑‑ this is our Wednesday, it's our real big work day and we've got to put a lot of our game plan in in terms of what we are doing against a really, really good football team. It's an outstanding challenge and we are excited about it.
*What's Pat Chung's status? *
COACH KELLY: He will be limited. He ran around a little bit yesterday. Really just depends on how he can handle his shoulder and what he can do from a function standpoint.
Pretty much day‑to‑day as far as his ability to play on Sunday?
COACH KELLY: Yeah. *Bill Davis said Pat had a lot of pain in the morning but was supposed to have a second test yesterday? *
COACH KELLY: I think he had already had it at that point in time.
*There wasn't a follow‑up one? *
COACH KELLY: Not that I know of, no.
*When you look back at the start of the season, the three games in 11 days, now you're more on a set schedule, how much more valuable is it to have this time, six‑or-seven‑day window between games, to prepare to get your team ready? *
COACH KELLY: Same thing. I don't look at it that way. I don't go back and say, we had a short amount of time here. Everybody has to play a Thursday game. Everybody is going to have a short week. Ours came early. Other guys have it late. I think it's Seattle and Arizona this week.
We don't look at it that way. Everybody has to do it. Everybody has the same situation. I don't look at it as this week we had this, this week we had that. It's getting into a rhythm and getting going. We know our schedule all the way out. We've got, I think it's five games now, and then we've got a break coming up but then we've got another five games. That's how we look at it on a weekly basis.
A rookie head coach, coming in, getting your feet wet, it seems like it would be kind of hectic having the schedule like that the first few weeks.
COACH KELLY: No, we were prepared for it and that's what we did, but we also we don't look back at it now. It's in our rear‑view mirror. So we don't sit there now saying, hey, thank goodness we've got seven days between each game because, you know, way back when, in the beginning of September, we had this. I just don't think that way.
The distribution of plays, do you find it's increasingly difficult to spread the ball around to your skill position players? And do you ever spend time going into a game thinking, all right, we are going to get this guy involved or is that in the course of the game how things play out that the top guys are ultimately getting the ball?
COACH KELLY: How do you get so many questions into one sentence? Because I'm ready to answer the first thing, and then all of a sudden it just morphed into something else. (Laughs)
We don't go in trying to say, hey, we are going to force the ball to this guy. Everything we do is dictated on what is the defense presenting to us and what's our plan to attack: Is it cover one, is it cover two, is it zone blitz, is it this, and kind of how that expresses itself.
I think certain people have defended us in manners that they had not shown on film before we played them and other guys were really almost 100 percent to what they had shown. We probably anticipated that early because there was not a lot of tape. When you look at the Kansas City Chiefs, [defensive coordinator] Bob [Sutton] just got there, so what are they going to be? You only have one or two games to go on them. With Tampa Bay as we talked about, we can go back to last season because that staff had been together so you get a better feel, you have more of sample size to choose from.
We are always going to go with what the defense gives us but we are not looking to force one way or another. We think -- we like to say we are an equal-opportunity scoring offense. We don't care if we run it in. We don't care if we throw it in. It's just about generating points.
And how are they going to defend us? If they are going to try to double somebody and take them away, then we are certainly not going to say, hey, we need to force it in to Player X. We need to make sure that Player Y, Z and whomever else can step up and make plays when they get their opportunities.
I harken ‑‑
COACH KELLY: Did you just say harken? Wow.
Harken back ‑‑
COACH KELLY: I like that.
We are going back to April when you drafted Zach Ertz, you mentioned how you are going to have three tight ends ‑‑ some people thought maybe there would be more of a part of this offense. As you mentioned, the defense is not giving the tight ends more opportunities or is it that you run more and hence they are blocking more. Is it one of those things?
COACH KELLY: I think it's a combination of both. But last week, there wasn't anything we could do because James [Casey] couldn't go. But really it's how it expressed itself, how do defenses try to defend you, what do they do, what are the strengths of our team.
What do we feel as a coaching staff matches up better for us. Is it better to get this personnel in the game, as opposed to that personnel in the game, and as we keep going here, I think you're going to need them all just because we know everybody is not going to be healthy at times and there's going to be times when we don't have as many receivers available to us and we may have to go to this package as opposed to that package.
It's a good thing to have and we think we've got three quality tight ends. It's just really kind of, what do people do when they see that? And when you look at what they are doing in their previous games, how do they match up to those situations?
When you first got here, did you understand what you had in LeSean McCoy?
COACH KELLY: Let me harken back to that. (Laughs)
Did I know how talented he was? The one thing I've been really impressed with LeSean is that he's a complete running back. I think you look at him in blitz pick up and some things that go a little bit unnoticed, he did a couple times, the Giants brought a couple blitzes and just he stepped up and stoned the linebacker in the hole.
His ability right now as a receiver coming out of the backfield, if people are going to play man coverage, somebody has to cover your running back and he's a guy that we can create some mismatches with with some linebackers in this league.
But I think, didn't know as much about ‑‑ as you ask the question, I didn't know as much about his ability as a blocker and some of those aspects. Obviously you saw the highlight runs and got a little sample size of seeing that but I think his ability to be a complete back is really what's impressed me, and his durability. He's been great so far, knock‑on‑wood, but we are really impressed with him in the six games we've had so far.
Is there a sense how much from the older players, they don't like the Dallas Cowboys and how intense this rivalry is?
COACH KELLY: No, we don't talk about that. I think everybody we play, you have the utmost respect for and if you don't, you're going to lose. I think our players are like that, too. I think whether it's the Chiefs or the Chargers or the Broncos or whomever, I think there's a professionalism that I really kind of like in this league. I think maybe we respect all, we fear none. I've never been a guy that's got into the whole hate aspect of 'We hate them, so let's stay later tonight and study harder and work harder.'
You've got to prepare the same way, because if you don't, you're going to get beat in this league.
Going back to free agency, there were a lot of cornerbacks of similar skill set or reputation on the market and you needed two, signed two. Do you remember watching tape of all of them and the two guys that you signed, Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams?
COACH KELLY: I remember watching a lot of tape in the secondary. The two things I think that both Cary and Fletch gave us is we wanted some size and some length. And specifically when you get matched up with a Vincent Jackson or you get matched up this week with a Dez Bryant or [Terrance] Williams, there's a lot taller, longer receivers you're going to play and one of the things we were really trying to do is get taller and longer at the cornerback spot.
So that's the first thing off the top of my head that stuck out in my head beside getting into the whole film evaluation of where we were, but I think Fletch and Curry because of their length would match up because you're going to play some bigger, taller receivers in our division.
Is that how you recruited Oregon?
COACH KELLY: We wanted everybody. We've said it all along: Big people beat up little people and we wanted bigger, taller, longer, at every position, whether it's in the secondary, whether it's on the defensive line, receiver, everything. In the long run, I think that's a great model to follow.
That's not a rule, because obviously there are some dynamic players that don't fit the height/weight combination, but you are first going to look for that. If you have an ideal world and say, here is my parameters, we are going to go there.