What do you know about the health of your quarterbacks? COACH KELLY: Wish I knew a lot more than I do know. I know Nick [Foles] was in this morning and met with [head athletic trainer] Chris [Peduzzi] and [head team physician] Dr. [Peter] DeLuca, has to see [team internist] Dr. [Gary] Dorshimer. Expect to get results back today.
Mike [Vick] went and got an MRI. Don't have the final results of that. Nick took testing?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I think he took the ImPACT test. He's in the process of seeing the doctors right now. I don't have the final answer right now.
Halfway through the season, what have you found most challenging about being an NFL coach? How difficult has it been to absorb as many losses as you have?
COACH KELLY: I think no matter what level you coach at, losing is tough to absorb just because that's ultimately not what we're looking to do.
I think the challenges each and every week is that you're going to play a formidable opponent that's talented and it's got to take your best effort on a weekly basis in terms of preparation and then getting ready to go play the game, then going to play the game.
There's obviously at the college level, you can just look at the differences. There's have's and have not's at times when you're going out there. It's not like that in this league. Every week is a battle. That's what the whole deal is all about. I think that's the exciting part about being here. I don't think that's the negative part about being here.
If Nick passes the test, what happens then?
COACH KELLY: I'm going to wait till I get all that information.
You've said in the past that the best ability is durability. Your quarterbacks have missed a lot of games due to injury this year and in the past. How do you factor that in to everything?
COACH KELLY: You have to look at the injuries. I think that's part of us making a decision on where we are.
But I can't say I'm going to play this guy if he's declared out. You also look at what the injury is. Is it something that has been a thing that he's had over and over and over? Is it a recurring thing you think is going to happen again or is it a one‑time thing that you hope has been cleared and he can move on and can play from there."
Today is the game plan day so are you installing the game plan for Matt Barkley as your starting quarterback?
COACH KELLY: Today is first down for the coaches. We don't put in the entire game plan on Monday. Monday is first down, second down, openers. Tuesday is third down. Wednesday is red zone. It's kind of we parcel it in as the week goes along.
Are first down plays being prepared for Matt Barkley today?
COACH KELLY: They're going to be prepared for you (laughter).
That won't be good for your team.
COACH KELLY: We don't change very much. That's the one thing we did. If you watch what we're doing with Matt. I said it earlier today, if we have 10 pass plays we're going to call on first down, we've got them all up. Matt may like two, six, eight, nine, and Mike may like one, three, seven, it kind of varies as we know who is in, what the situation is.
That's kind of how we've always approached it. We're not going to say, Hey, Matt is in, now we're going to be an I-formation team, our fullback is up, we're doing all those other things. We're not going to change really what we do. The plays Matt ran on Sunday were the same game plans that were in for Mike. Not knowing Mike's situation, we weren't planning on running design quarterback runs in the run game with Mike knowing what he was coming off of. I don't think it really changes drastically for us in terms of a coaching staff.
Could Matt have run on these read options?
COACH KELLY: We ran one that we missed. I think there was a mesh problem with Bryce [Brown] kind of banged into him a little bit. I don't think it was a clean read for him. That was really the only one we called. Everything else there was a bubble pass or something else tied onto it.
I think there was only one we called that it was really truly reading the defensive end.
Do you evaluate Matt differently in a game following a week that he had limited reps with the ones? Is that more the equation of evaluating his performance?
COACH KELLY: No. I think we have to evaluate him how he goes in there. That's just the deal. No different than when Nick went in against the Giants. He didn't get the reps that week. He got the same amount of reps our number two quarterback usually gets leading up to it. That is the difficult thing. I don't care if you're the Philadelphia Eagles, the New York Giants, whoever you are, your number two quarterback is not going to get a lot of reps during the week. That's how it's sliced. There's a certain number of reps your number one has to get to prepare for the opponent you're going to play. That's just how you have to deal with it.
Because Mike reinjured the hamstring, are you expecting him probably not to be able to play on Sunday?
COACH KELLY: I'm going to wait for the determination. Mike didn't seem like he was going to be ready this week.
He felt like when I talked to him the first time, he thought he was going to be back after the [first] Giants game. This is the first time I talked to him that he thought like maybe he might be out. We'll see when we sit down and visit with him after they get the final results and I talk to Chris and Dr. DeLuca.
Jason Avant was saying he thinks teams may have figured out what you're kind of doing. Is that the case or is it the quarterback uncertainty, not making the right decisions?
COACH KELLY: No, I don't think people have figured out. You can turn the tape on and watch six games of whoever you play, I can tell you what they're going to do. I can tell you what Peyton Manning is going to do. You still have to stop them. They still have to execute.
I watched Aaron Rodgers last night, his first touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson where he whizzed it by the kid's head before he had a chance to turn around, put it right on the money where Jordy, the only thing he could do is catch it.
It's still about executing. I think everybody kind of knows going into the game plan, you're not going to surprise people eight games into the season. We have to run the right depth on our routes. We have to catch the ball when it's thrown to us. We have to put the ball on people when people are open. We have to hit the hole when the hole is there. We have to create a hole if the hole is not there. That's just executing football. With that being said, do you have the right guys to execute the plays?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I believe we do. We were successful for six games. The last two, if I look at the last two and just analyze what the situation is, in both games we got to our third quarterback. I think that's a difficult proposition, you know, especially when you don't have a lot of reps for those guys to go around at practice. We have to execute it.
We have to get ready and prepare for Oakland and put a game plan together that's going to give us a chance to win.
How much more difficult is it for a rookie to step in like Matt did compared to Nick who has a year under his belt?
COACH KELLY: It is. It is. Nick was here a year ago, but Nick wasn't here in the system. There's always that experience factor. Does Nick have a year experience? Yeah, obviously he does.
I don't think Matt played poorly. He made a bad decision at the end of the first half. He knows he made a mistake. We have to chalk it up from there. There were some positives that I myself, all our coaches when you look at the tape that you can get from Matt's performance that you can really build on.
I think he's got a good understanding of what we're doing. He puts the ball on people, gave the guys a chance to run after the catch. I think he's got a bright future.
It's unfortunate for Matt both times he's been in the game that's been his chance to go in the game is because we've had an injury at that position, we're down. This is kind of what we got to do at that point in time.
You mentioned yesterday why you called a timeout down by the goal line at the end of the first half. Can you talk about that again?
COACH KELLY: I just wanted everybody settled down. We had a great drive going. We got the ball down there. We had three timeouts. There's no reason to rush, get up to the line of scrimmage and put ourselves in a situation. Let's go over what we're going to get, here is our low red zone play. We hadn't been in the low red zone yet. We got down there, we talked about it. Went to the first play we were going to run in the low red zone. Every player on our team knew what we were going to run first down there. We just didn't execute it. If you're concerned about Matt's nerves, why put him in that situation with a pass play?
COACH KELLY: That's the first play we've run since day one here. We're going to go to kind of what we know the best, what everybody should understand is what we're going to go to. If you ask everybody on our team, they know what we were going to call in that situation.
Not to belabor the decision on the onside kick, but if you kick it deep there, they're deep in their own end. If you stop them, they're kicking it out of their own end, you're going to have decent field position.
COACH KELLY: With limited time on the clock. We only had one timeout.
And the two‑minute warning.
COACH KELLY: The two‑minute warning. We factored that in. If I had three timeouts, we probably would not have kicked in that situation. If we didn't use the two timeouts earlier in that series, it would have been a different situation for us. We were taking a shot so we could recover the ball and give ourselves an opportunity to capitalize and see if we could get something.
We consistently go back and look at what we've done from a practice standpoint. Alex [Henery] hit that ball every single time at 11 yards. They're going to have one guy at the point of attack. We have two guys at the point of attack. Felt confident in our ability to execute it. That's what went into my decision to doing that. It didn't work out, so you're going to get second guessed.
If Nick is cleared and healthy, does he start against Oakland?
COACH KELLY: When I get all the information on the health of our quarterbacks, I'll tell you who our starting quarterback is going to be.
It depends. If Nick is not cleared, that's another discussion we have to have. Till we get all the information about it, then we'll make a determination of where we are. If Nick is not cleared, and Mike is out, we only have one quarterback, we have to do something.
The instability yesterday at quarterback being part of these problems, how many other things are a problem right now with your offense beyond the quarterback?
COACH KELLY: You just hope if you're a little unstable at quarterback, we can kind of lean on something else that can help us get through those murky waters. That's where, as a group, we've got to do a better job of let's take a little bit of pressure off. We don't have to throw it every down because we're running the ball so well.
I thought we drove the ball at the beginning of the second half down in there and it's the same exact thing, you get one negative yardage play, then you're backed up. It's the little teeny things and that's what we talk about all the time. We really try to emphasize the little things because the little things can rear their ugly heads. It's the difference between do we convert and keep that drive going or do we not convert? Do we just stick our foot in the ground and go forward for one more yard? That one more yard could be the difference on the next play of us being able to get a first down.
It's not all on the quarterback. I said it earlier. It's on all of us. We have to do a better job as a total group. I have confidence in the group. It was the same group for six games that we were on track to set records. It's not like we're going to throw the baby out with the bath water and start over again and say we're going to do something new here.
We need to settle down. Our playmakers got to make plays. We got to go back to doing the little things. I think some things have been positive for us. I think, by and large, we have cut down on the penalties on the offensive side of the ball. We're doing those things right.
Do we get to the right depth on the route? Can we get up the field a little bit better? Can we catch the ball and go forward instead of going sideways? Little teeny things like that add up over the course of a game, especially when every play counts. That's what all of us have to do. I think we've got a bunch of guys that are ready to do it.
Are you noticing a trend of all with the ball not being able to get to the tight ends?
COACH KELLY: It depends. I think the Giants played us a little bit differently than they played us in the first game. It just depends on how are you going to play us. Are you going to match up in man? Are you going to do it in zone? I don't think it's a trend though. In one week, someone is going to have a better game than someone else. That's just part of what we do. That's where I think everybody has to contribute because when you are called upon, then you have to make a play. You have an opportunity. When you're running the shallow cross and the ball is put in your hands, you have to catch it. I think that's part of everybody stepping up and everybody pulling their weight, so to speak.
Seems like there was an emphasis last week during practice on the offensive line and the running game, getting it straightened out. It didn't really happen. Was it something the Giants did differently?
COACH KELLY: No, I think we have the same emphasis every week in terms of what we're trying to get accomplished. I don't think you can be one‑sided. In the last two weeks, we haven't run the ball the way we've needed to run the ball. It's a combination of the backs hitting the hole when the hole is there and the offensive linemen creating a little bit more movement at times.
You can't just say it's just this. If it's just this, it would be an easy fix. We're not hitting it the way we're supposed to hit it; well then, we have to fix that this way. One play it works perfectly and then the next play it doesn't. We're supposed to hit the ball up inside the pull‑up block and we don't hit it up inside of the pull‑up block. We're just kind of off a little bit. We need to get back into that rhythm.
That execution is paramount, but adjustment is part of the game as well. How do you feel you're doing in that department?
COACH KELLY: I think when you're going into a game, you have a plan and then obviously every plan is going to change as the game starts to unfold because of what you're seeing and how that game kind of expresses itself.
You're kind of poking and prodding and saying, hey, will this work for us? All of a sudden it's kind of punch, counter‑punch. Then they make a move, you come back the other way with it.
The last two weeks we haven't been good at it. It's just the way it is. The end result is the end result, no matter how you look at it. We haven't been productive on the offensive side of the ball, so we haven't done a good job in those adjustments.
When you look around the league, teams that are winning, All Pro‑caliber quarterbacks, do you need going forward a quarterback of elite status to make your offense play to its optimum capabilities?
COACH KELLY: Optimum capabilities?
To really get the offense clicking as well as it needs to be, then going forward to get this team back into the playoffs.
COACH KELLY: I don't look into the All-Pro aspect of things. We need consistent play from that position along with consistent play from all the other 11 guys. We had a drive coming out of our own end, we threw two passes, Matt [Barkley] put the ball on the money. We're not deep enough on one route, we're shallow on another route and we don't convert the first down. In those situations, he did put the ball where it was supposed to be, but we just didn't convert. I think you need everything.
It's not just the quarterback, it's the receivers, it's the offensive line, it's the backs. The teams that are successful usually have pretty good guys around them, too. That's the one thing about this game is do you need to have a good quarterback to be successful? Yeah. But usually the good quarterbacks have guys around them that are pretty good, too. It's a combination of all of that.
Are you looking into what's the clearance for a guy to play or what you're doing leading up to a game with injured players?
COACH KELLY: We look at that with everybody. I think if the injuries were similar, I think you'd have a little bit more -- was it the same exact thing? Pat [Chung's] injury is different than Mike [Vick's] injury. You always have to analyze that. You can kind of look at Pat and say if Pat was going to be out for this amount of time, when you go back in hindsight, you might put him on the IR with a six‑game return or an eight‑game return, because you're not sure how long he was going to be out.
With the progress he was making early, we thought he was going to be back. Actually went out in the Tampa Bay game and played a little bit, but then couldn't play any longer.
In hindsight, you're going to say, yeah, we've got to look at that. But we look at that all the time, when guys are returned, when they're not returned and then kind of what their history is. We have to analyze everything when we go through it.
If you have to add G.J. Kinne to the 53-man roster, where is he in terms of development?
COACH KELLY: I'm not assuming anything. You've already bumped him onto our roster.
He's obviously with you.
COACH KELLY: He is. I'll say this for the last time: Until I know exactly where our quarterbacks are, I can't tell you what the future of where he's going to be.
G.J. is a great competitor. He has done a really good job for us. He has a good understanding of our system. One of the reasons we did bring G.J. back is because he can do so many different things for us from a practice standpoint. He's an unbelievable special teams player for us. He plays wide receiver for us. He plays defensive back for us. He filled a lot of roles. That's one of the things we needed. We needed another arm in here, but we also need another set of legs in here.
To bring in a quarterback that can just throw at the point in time last week where we felt where we were at the quarterback position, who is the best practice player out there that can be a multi‑purpose practice player for us, and that's where G.J. is right now.
Would you have attempted the 50-yard yard field goal in the third quarter if Barkley had not been sacked on the previous play?
COACH KELLY: It depends on the distance. If you looked at it, there's a pretty good wind. I don't think there's any comparison. I was asked a question after the game with the 60‑yarder going the other way. It was a 60‑yarder with nine seconds to go in the game in the first half. I wasn't opposed to putting our defense on the field. There were 9 minutes and 32 seconds to go in the third quarter when we made that decision.
It's ironic because the New York Giants had the ball on the 32-yard line on the last drive of the game and they elected to punt and not kicking a field goal. Kicking a field goal this way, no one was hitting them in warm ups and we weren't going to be able to hit it then. If we were a little bit closer, we were going to have that conversation.
Usually when we get to those situations, Coach [Dave] Fipp is right next to me. I just turn to him. He's the expert at it. What do you think? Can he make it from here? Can he not make it from here? When we got pushed back and had the ball in that situation, because it's going to be a 32 plus 8, a 50‑yarder in that situation going into a stiff wind, he didn't feel that was a good situation to put Alex [Henery] in at that time, so.
Getting back to the run game, what have you seen from RB LeSean McCoy the last two weeks?
COACH KELLY: I think LeSean, to his credit, is his own worst critic. He takes a lot of responsibility. His numbers have been down the last two weeks. I think sometimes LeSean is trying to press too much and trying to hit a home run on every play instead of letting it develop. Sometimes we talk about line get us two, back get us two. Then it's second-and-six. Maybe we'll call the same play again. Now it is third-and-two. Third-and-twos are easier to convert than third-and-12s.
If we start to move east/west and we're not getting our shoulders squared to the end zone and starting to get the ball downhill, I think we get into some situations that are tough to get ourselves out of.
When you find yourself on second-and-12s, maybe you're going to throw it on that down, you don't convert, now it's third-and-12. It's tough. I think when we're successful offensively, we're playing downhill football.
First-and-10 goes to second-and-five. Second-and-five may convert or it goes to third-and-one. Those are a lot easier to call, those are a lot easier to convert. Everything is a lot easier.
I think at times because of LeSean's competitiveness, he's trying to hit the home run. It's one of his strengths, too. It's the tough part where you regulate it. There's times where you're like, 'No, no, no, great run, big guy.' That's what you get with him.
So it's tough. How much do you reel him in? We've talked about it. That's why he's frustrated. I think he's frustrated in himself because there's some things there that he's leaving some yards on the field. I think he wants those back. That's one of the qualities I love about the kid.
As far as the defense goes, anybody really looking good at the tape?
COACH KELLY: In this last game? I think up front three guys, Fletcher [Cox], Ced [Thornton] and Clifton Geathers had an outstanding game. I thought our run defense overall was outstanding. DeMeco [Ryans], again, standing in there being a leader, getting around the ball. Mychal Kendricks probably had his best game. Maybe could be a little bit better in coverage. I think it was 11 tackles. I think our safeties and corners were involved a lot more in the run game. They were trying to push, crack and support a little bit. The ball got spit out to those guys.
I think our defense has done from the beginning of the season to the end of the season, as I said, I don't think there's anything else our offense needs to look at except our defense. They've stayed the course. They've worked continually on their techniques. We haven't added a lot of new things for those guys. We continue to let them feel comfortable in what we're doing. On a weekly basis, I see them getting better and better and better.
When we meet again tomorrow and I talk to the team about it, you don't have to look too far on what the formula is for success. We need to go back out there, we need to continue to work, need to get a better understanding of what we we're trying to get accomplished as a group. Not one person has to do it all himself. We all got to kind of contribute. But I think on defense, we have 11 guys really contributing. Even the sub packages a lot more than that. Everybody is thriving off each other, they're doing a really good job. We kind of got to get back to an offense which we were like earlier in the season and for the last two games, we haven't been there. We got to get that fixed getting ready to go play Oakland.