When you talked about T Lane Johnson the other day, you mentioned that you seemed a little bit concerned about how it worked out for him in his development. What have you seen in the first three days? How is he doing?
COACH KELLY: He's doing a really good job. I think one of the byproducts is it's probably beneficial he's not with [G] Todd [Herremans] all the time, because Todd, being the older guy, a lot of times makes all the calls on the right side. Lane's forced to kind of be a little bit more vocal. So there is a development going on there, and he's working extremely hard for the time we have him. We get him from now until the end of camp right when we break for the first game. He'll be gone for that time and he won't be allowed to be in the facility.
On the other side of that, how's G/T Allen Barbre doing?
COACH KELLY: Allen's doing a really nice job. I think he's very experienced, as I said the other day. The biggest thing for him is getting comfortable. Being more in a right handed stance because he's on the right side. He spent a predominant amount of time on the left side, whether it was left guard or left tackle, but he has rotated in probably a little bit more at guard. Last year, he did play for us at tackle in the Packers game, but he's really transitioned well over there, and so far it's been pretty positive for him too.
You talk about expectations. Given LB Marcus Smith, what have you seen with so many eyes on him, how is he handling things?
COACH KELLY: He's done a great job. I think him and all the guys we have in here, they understand that the only expectations they have to rise to are the ones that the coaching staff and they have for themselves, and not get caught up in whether it be positive or negative in terms of what people are saying on the outside about them. I've seen a steady improvement from him. I think he's getting more comfortable, we're excited about seeing where he progresses, but I think he's handled it really well to be honest with you.
WR Riley Cooper did not practice the other day. What is his situation?
COACH KELLY: He's got a foot he's working on, and he should be back shortly.
What about RB Chris Polk?
COACH KELLY: Polk's got a hamstring. He should be back shortly too.
What about C/G Julian Vandervelde?
COACH KELLY: He's got a back. I think he's back tomorrow. None of those guys are out, they're only out a couple days from what I understand so.
Is it the back issue from last year? Is it a carryover?
COACH KELLY: No, I think it's a separate one.
How do you balance using two successful personnel uses? Is it strictly on what the defense is showing you?
COACH KELLY: No, it's a combination of all of that. What is the defense going to present when you're in certain looks? I think sometimes those numbers get skewed because if there's not enough data attached to it, you know what I mean? So you have a yard but you only had four attempts. It can be skewed. Sometimes when you look at that and just look at the quick stats, you can have a carry a zero, carry a zero, carry a 60 and say we ran it three times for 20 yards a pop. Well, we didn't, we actually carried it one time for 60 yards because two guys missed a tackle and the other two times we get it blown up in our face.
You've got to look at what you're doing in those situations, but you also have to study what happened in those situations as well.
Talk about using a two tight end set on first downs last year.
COACH KELLY: What, two tight ends? We used 11, I would guarantee you, more than that on touchdown. Eleven personnel overall on first down.
Yeah, 11 and 12.
COACH KELLY: Yeah, 11 and 12. We didn't do as much 13, to be honest with you.
You vision more two tight end sets? Is there the expected maturation or is it strictly what he's showing you?
COACH KELLY: No, it's a combination of everything. I don't know. How does [WR] Brad Smith develop? How does [WR] Jordan Matthews come along? Where are we with [WR] Jeff Maehl, where are we with [WR] Josh Huff. Put [TE] James Casey in the mix. How much are you going to see [RB] Darren Sproles and [RB] LeSean [McCoy] in the backfield at the same time?
Three practices in and we're still on day four of insertion. We're not as a staff saying, 'Hey, how much of this are we going to run?' So you're going to see 20 personnel today, you'll see 10 personnel today, 11, 12, and 13. It's all mixed in right now.
Why did the decision to keep what you had here and the development of those players, what have you seen the effect here?
COACH KELLY: I think a lot of times that wasn't a decision, it was just what's there in the draft. You could say we were excited to take a linebacker in the first round, but we didn't have a first round grade on him, or maybe we had a first round grade on one linebacker but the next linebackers that was available we had really low grades on. Then when it came time to pick, you kind of looked at it, and there were probably some linebackers on the board in the third and fourth round, and maybe the guys we picked in the third and fourth round whether it be at receiver or defensive line or whatever, had maybe a higher grade at that time. I think at every position we're always looking to upgrade. But sometimes it doesn't you just can't say, 'Hey, we're going to get ourselves an inside linebacker in the first round.' Well, if you only had one guy that had a grade a first round grade and he gets picked before you go, you don't say I'm going to take the next guy on the board.
We're always looking to improve. We do like our depth, but some of it is unproven. That is the one big question. Besides [LB] Mychal [Kendricks] and [LB] DeMeco [Ryans], [LB] Najee's [Goode] the only one with some quality snaps in there. So really trying to find out who that fourth linebacker is what this whole camp process is about.
What kind of progress do you want to see from LB Brandon Graham this season? What are you looking for? Where do you anticipate he can get to?
COACH KELLY: We want to see Brandon just expand in every role. I think we've really seen it, I think, through the spring and in camp so far with [LB] Trent [Cole] in terms of his understanding and dropping into coverage and doing some of those things. The transition for Trent and Brandon is a little bit more difficult than all the other guys that are playing outside linebacker because those guys could never drop. They are more defensive ends than they were outside linebackers.
Marcus [Smith] is an outside linebacker, Travis Long is an outside linebacker, Josh Kaddu, Connor [Barwin], [Bryan] Braman, they were all outside linebackers. So getting more comfortable. Being on his feet. Being able to understand that sometimes he's going forward, sometimes he's going backwards. So just really his overall game. For Brandon, you've got certain pass rush skills that he's always demonstrated. More getting comfortable in the drop aspect of things.
Last year at this time you had Isaac Sopoaga as kind of mentor to help the young guys along the defensive line. Do you think they need that kind of veteran skill?
COACH KELLY: That wasn't the reason we brought [Sopoaga] in. We brought him in because we thought he could compete for the starting nose guard job. But you have guys like Fletcher [Cox] and Cedric [Thornton] that had a great approach when they got here. The thing that impressed us is you had two kids in Bennie Logan and Damion Square who came out of outstanding programs in LSU and Alabama. It wasn't like when they got here they didn't know how to work or practice. They were learning a new system in terms of how we do things call wise. They had done two gapping and one gapping in their life before.
So I think we've got a really good group in that room right now. I like their mindsets and how they get after it. So I don't think they needed a veteran to show them anything. Even really in Sop's situation, he was learning how we do things because we do things differently from the 49ers.
Did Darren Sproles run behind a zone blocking scheme in New Orleans and what about the skill set makes him a good fit?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I think everybody runs -- I don't know what extent – but everybody runs some type of zone plays and everybody runs some types of man plays. Some teams are more heavy on the zone schemes and then man is a changeup for them, and other people are heavy on man schemes and the zone is a changeup for them. So what we're doing in our run game, the terminology is different for him. But he's run all those schemes before in his life.
What have you seen from Mark Sanchez so far? How do you think he's adapted to your type of offense?
COACH KELLY: I think Mark's been outstanding since he's been here. Obviously, he was coming off shoulder surgery coming out of the Jets. In the spring early, we were kind of monitoring him to see how his shoulder was coming along. I think he's picked things up very quickly. I said it the other day when I talked about it -- this is his fourth system since he's been in the league. He hasn't been in the league that long. He had three systems when he was with the Jets and now this is his fourth system.
But a lot of things that all of us do, no matter where you're coaching, it's still four verticals. We call it differently than the way [Jets offensive coordinator] Marty [Mornhinweg] called it, but they ran four verticals here at the Eagles. Marty runs four verticals when you watch the Jets tape. We run four verticals.
So a lot of times it's just crossing over, this is how we're calling it in our protection. You call it two Jet, three Jet, we call it this. A lot of times it's just trying to bridge a gap with the words where he's not thinking. I think right now he's become really comfortable. You can tell he's spent a lot of time from a mental aspect at it and he's making a lot quicker decisions than he did in the spring. Not that he was slow in the spring, but I think he's starting to feel more comfortable in terms of what we're trying to do.
Have you had to build him back up psychologically at all with what he went through with the Jets?
COACH KELLY: No. I didn't really get into that. The Mark Sanchez I know is very positive, very upbeat. Every day he's here, there is an energy you can feed off of from him. I didn't get any feeling when he walked in our building that this guy is down in the dumps and we need to pick him up. If you've been around him, I know you've been around him up there, he's a positive guy to be around and a lot of fun to coach.
You had Pat Shurmur's son Kyle Shurmur working out with the quarterbacks the other day. What has he been doing with you?
COACH KELLY: No, I think we have Kyle Shurmur here. [Offensive line coach] Jeff Stoutland's son is here, [quarterbacks coach] Bill Musgrave's son is here. Couple other guys have their kids running around in camp. I think it's positive that fathers and sons can be around in the work environment. They're just ball boys running around, and whenever we need an extra arm somewhere, they get them. [Tight end coach] Ted Williams' son was here. He's another really good quarterback coming out of South Jersey going on to play quarterback. Ted's son has been here throwing around. I just think it's positive that we have a chance to have a lot of coaches with their kids and bring them out to practice.
Talk about coaching intern Lito Sheppard. Is there a tradition to bring back former players?
COACH KELLY: The Bill Walsh Minority Intern Program is a great program that they started in this league a long time ago. We have five guys participating in that. I think we had four or five last year. [Offensive assistant coach] Tra Thomas was one of them last year and Tra ended up staying with us because we had an opening for him. But just getting a chance to meet Lito and knowing what a career he had here as an Eagle and get a chance to get him back here. If he can help impart some wisdom on some of our young corners and young safeties with the way he saw things, I think it's a positive impact on all of us.
You talk about drafting smart guys, guys that graduated on time and all that. How do you see that translating to the field as far as being able to retain stuff and apply it?
COACH KELLY: I think it's helped. There is a lot to that. It's not a hard and fast rule. It's probably more of a guideline when you're looking at two guys that are even. It's a way to break the tie so to speak. But it's not we're never going to draft a guy unless he has [graduated]. It seems like it works out that way. But we want guys here that have a passion for playing football and a passion for anything they do. Whatever they do, they want to be successful at it. You can look at it and say, 'Where's this guy's stick to itiveness,' and you look at it and see no matter what challenge he's given, he faces up to it, and perseveres through it. I think it's a positive thing.
From a football standpoint, all of those guys have really handled the transition well. They all come from different programs. A lot of it is just learning a new language. There is not a Rosetta Stone for football. I don't think you can cram it. It's going to take some time, take some work, and we have a bunch of guys that really enjoy playing football and learning football. So I think they've handled it really well.
Is Riley Cooper's strength going up and getting the ball?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, one of the things about Riley, number one is his baseball background and he does a great job tracking deep balls, and I think that's easier said than done. Really being able to understand how to adjust and put himself into position. Because being a good outfielder in baseball, you can't just make the catch. You have to be in position when you make the catch then to throw the ball. So how do you circle around it and put yourself in position to do different things. And I think Riley understands that because of his background from that. And the fact that he's a 230 pound receiver it's tough to be really, truly physical and keep him pinned on the line of scrimmage.
Now in this league, it's continuing to go that way. Two of the best corners, [Cardinals corner] Patrick Peterson, a guy that just signed an outstanding contract who I think is one of the tops in the league, [Seahawks corner] Richard Sherman, probably the two best guys are both big, physical corners and they'll try to beat you up on the line of scrimmage. If you can't get off the line of scrimmage, you're done. Moving towards that, I think the corners are getting bigger in this league, and the wideouts are getting bigger in this league. But that's one of Riley's strengths is his ability to get off that stuff. No one's going to get off clean and just be running like you said down the field with no one around him for four or five yards. When the ball is up, you have to be able to go get it. Having a 6'4" guy that's 230 pounds, it helps.