Did you have a chance to meet with T Lane Johnson, and what's the plan for him and the left guard position?
COACH KELLY: I saw Lane briefly this morning. He's got to meet with the training staff and all that and get cleared physically. We haven't talked about anything else after that.
RB LeSean McCoy talked last night and was asked if he was healthy, and he said it doesn't matter, which kind of opened the question up, "Is he healthy?"
COACH KELLY: Yeah, he's healthy.
Nothing is bothering him?
COACH KELLY: No, not that I'm aware of.
So his foot is not bothering him from the New England preseason game at all?
COACH KELLY: His what?
He hurt his foot in that game and there was talk that it might be a lingering thing and he said that it's not going to bother him.
COACH KELLY: No, I mean, he's not on the treatment list. He hasn't gotten any he does normal maintenance like everybody else, but he hasn't had any injuries where we've done anything with him.
In Lane's case, what does he need to show you this week?
COACH KELLY: Just where he is. We haven't seen him for a month. He told me he was at API [Athletes' Performance Institute] in Dallas working out, and there were some other players there. You know, he looked good, so it's just the unknown. We haven't seen him in four weeks, so where is he at and what's his how does he process things, how quickly does he get back into the swing of things, where is he from a health standpoint?
*In light of the issues on the offensive line, does McCoy need to sometimes take a little more be satisfied with two or three yard gains as opposed to maybe trying to always *
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I think what happens when you have people out at certain positions, other guys maybe try to overcompensate at times. I think that's kind of the natural feeling for everybody.
But I think, and I said it yesterday, it's the same thing, we need to do a better job in the passing game. All of it kind of goes hand in hand, and certainly the biggest thing that comes up when you look at our game on Sunday was the turnovers. We get in the we're in decent shape in the third quarter there, and then all of a sudden we have two two and outs where we get a good gain on first down, we're second-and-6, we throw a flat ball out to [TE] Zach [Ertz], we get a fumble, they get the ball back. Next time we throw a quick screen to [WR] Riley [Cooper], he gains 8 yards and it's second-and-2 and then we throw a pick down the field. I just think we're because everybody is aware of what's gone on, that I think some people are pressing and trying to make things out of something that isn't there right now at every position. I think everybody has just got to kind of settle down and go back to playing football.
What did you see on that interception you just mentioned? Should [QB Nick Foles] have gotten rid of the ball earlier?
COACH KELLY: He got hit late. I think he was trying to go deep over the top to Mac [WR Jeremy Maclin], and it's one of those [situations], it's second-and-2. It looked like they were covering, maybe just tuck it and see if you can get the first down yourself and then put us in a workable situation, but obviously we don't want to put the ball up in harm's way.
*At least for the last three weeks, TV has caught Nick [Foles] [favoring] his left shoulder. The length of his long balls in each one of these games, there have been more than one or two misses where he's had the guy in space and [he has] not been hit or not been pressured. Do you not see that? Do you think there's any *
COACH KELLY: No, I think it's the exact opposite if you look at him. He overthrew four balls, so he's throwing the ball too far in some situations.
*He's having trouble with the length *
COACH KELLY: Yeah, that's got nothing to do with his left shoulder. Now, if every ball was underthrown, then I would think that the injury that he was banged up. I don't think he's trying to overcompensate. I just think he's got to get his timing down.
RB Darren Sproles had 11 carries in the first game. He's got four, two and one in the last three. What makes you feel like he can't help as a change-of-pace runner?
COACH KELLY: I don't think it's got anything to do with that. It's [more that] we're not running the football at all. I mean, we're not gaining anything running the ball, so it's not like
He's averaging around 7 yards on those few carries he's had in those games, whereas LeSean McCoy has been in the 2.5-yard range.
COACH KELLY: What's the difference between the game that he averaged, that he had 11 carries and now? We're banged up up front, so it's not the ball carrier. I don't see it as it's the ball carrier right now. It's we're not generating what we need to do in the run game at all, so it doesn't matter who we're handing it to, whether we hand it to LeSean, or [RB] Chris [Polk], or Darren, or whomever in that situation. That's not what we're seeing.
Are you seeing the same LeSean McCoy, though? Being able to make the first guy miss with that same level of elusiveness that he had last year?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I see that. I don't think we've been able to spring him. We haven't gotten him to the second level. We're losing some battles at the line of scrimmage, so obviously it's about getting going and getting started. I think [it's] the same thing with the whole offense. It's getting going, getting started, getting one first down. If we get one first down and all of a sudden we're on a roll. I think that's similar. You look at our last drive, we get the first first down and all of a sudden we start rolling. Now things kind of open up and everybody starts playing, but I think everybody at every position is pressing, and as I said earlier, we just need to settle down and start playing football.
It seems like Nick Foles is holding on to the ball a lot longer in the last couple games. Is that something you guys see? How do you get him to get rid of it quicker?
COACH KELLY: I look at it depending on the plays. We threw some quick to start and you get the ball out quickly, it just depends on what we've got called. It's kind of a byproduct of the play called, too. Sometimes we're trying to take some shots down the field. I think if people are going to play you close in coverage, you've got to go over the top. We did it well in the other games, we just didn't do it well in this game.
What did you see on the defensive holding penalty by CB Cary Williams? Did it seem like it was within the 5 yards?
COACH KELLY: You can't hold anywhere, it doesn't matter if you're within 5 yards or not 5 yards. There is an illegal contact [that may be allowed] in there, but if you're pulling jerseys, there's a difference between the two calls. There's illegal contact, where you can't touch the guy over 5 yards, but that doesn't mean that within 5 yards you can grab jerseys or anything like that.
How much thought was there about using Chris Polk on third and fourth down [near the goal line] just to try to pound it in there, and have you looked back at that situation?
COACH KELLY: It had nothing to do with the back. It had to do with, "Are we going to get any movement against that front and against [NT] Ian [Williams] and [DT] Justin Smith and [DT] Ray [McDonald]?" We weren't really getting a ton of push at the point of attack. As I said yesterday, my thought on second down was we threw the first one, it almost was exclusively throw on that drive, and on the first down they dropped everybody into coverage to protect the end zone, so I thought maybe we could pop one and we got it down to the 1 [yard line], but then I didn't think we were going to be able to pound it in in that situation. So it had nothing to do my thought process wasn't [about] the [specific] back, "Hey, let's get a bigger back in there and he can pound it in." It was just, "Are we going to create some movement against those guys?" I just didn't think we could do it.
How much was [the 49ers'] success on the ground a product of getting that push up front as opposed to just having the ball for so long?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I mean, I think that's what they do. That's their bread and butter. They're built that way. Their offensive line is built to run the football. Obviously you've got a back in [RB] Frank [Gore] that is a downhill, physical style run guy, so I think that's part of it. They also do some exotic things in the run game. Sometimes it's unbalanced sets and sometimes it's the extra lineman in the game, playing six offensive linemen. Then the other factor, whenever you're defending them, it's that quarterback can run the football, and you obviously saw a designed quarterback run for him. It's different than playing another team that's just a running back oriented operation because it's going to be, "Hey, they're going to run power, so you don't worry about the quarterback coming out the back end." But against this team you always have to worry about the quarterback on designed quarterback runs and keeps and read plays. I think that's what makes them such a good running team.
You have Lane Johnson coming back, but you talk about the offensive line as a group of five guys. Would you consider getting G/T Wade Smith in there at some point and maybe try to take a look at him?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, we're going to look at everything now. We'll sit down as a staff. We watched the game again this morning and just went through our corrections from what we've got to do in correcting the mistakes we made up there. We haven't sat down and said, "Hey, what are we doing now in terms of [who do we have] healthy, who's up, who can go, and what can we do."
C David Molk and T Matt Tobin made their first starts. What did you see from those two?
COACH KELLY: I thought David did a good job [and] competed. There were a few times that his lack of size was probably an issue for him where he got bulled a couple times, but I thought overall for his first time playing, I thought he did a good job. I thought the same thing with Tob'. Tob' got banged it looked like early in the second quarter, or the first quarter, was limping a little bit, but kind of shook it off and came back. But I thought for the first time for those guys playing in a football game, they held their own.
How do you get the running game going?
COACH KELLY: Everybody has got to execute. We've got to obviously it's a byproduct of everything. We've got to be able to throw the ball quickly. We did it a couple times, got some people off us [and] spread the field. We got Coop [Riley Cooper] once on a hitch route, got people running sideline to sideline. We've got to sustain blocks a little bit better up front and then we've got to hit the hole, and [it's] a combination of all those guys.
You talked about some players pressing. Do you think Riley Cooper is prominent among those players?
COACH KELLY: I think everybody is pressing on the offensive side of the ball, so I'd put the whole group together.
I know you're not a big time of possession guy, but are you concerned at all about the mileage that's piling up on the defensive side of the ball, whether time on the field or plays, and how do you combat that?
COACH KELLY: No, I'm not. I thought our defense when I watched them, I don't think they're winded. I think we've always done a good job with rotating. I think our defensive line rotates. Billy [DC Bill Davis] played a lot more dime, started to rotate the linebackers inside a little bit. Right now I don't see that as anything that affected our defense. I thought our defense played really, really well against a very good offensive football team the other day. We had four sacks. The biggest thing we've got to clean up on the defensive side of the ball, we had four penalties on defense I think that extended drives, four penalties on third down that gave them first downs when we would've had them off the field. There's your time of possession there. There's four drives that got extended just because of self inflicted wounds on ourselves. We made the mistake and we caused the penalty that allowed them to stay on the field when we should have had them off the field. One time we had a sack, we had [QB
Colin Kaepernick] sacked for a fifth sack and had them out of field goal range, but then we got a penalty on the defensive side of the ball, so we need to do a better job of that.
On the 55 yard touchdown catch, what's the teaching point, if any, for LB Marcus Smith and the defense?
COACH KELLY: When the quarterback scrambles, we talk about plastering your man. You've got to find somebody and plaster, and I think you had a young guy in there that just kind of lost sight of what was going on, on the play, and then you've got to kind of locate somebody instead of getting your eyes back on the quarterback and seeing where the quarterback is scrambling to. Until he crosses the line of scrimmage, everybody that's in a coverage [has a] responsibility to we do it all the time out here, and once the quarterback is going to scramble, you'll hear our quarterbacks coach yelling plaster, plaster, plaster, locate the eligible receivers and match up to them. That's what happens. And then the second thing is we've got to tackle. We've got to get them down. It is a big play, and it started off as a big play, and that's the thing you get scared of with Kaepernick -- he can scramble and keep things alive and then throw across his body to a wide open guy. It wasn't a touchdown. We've got to get him down to the ground and then make them really earn it instead of giving them a freebie and getting in the end zone.
TE Brent Celek, was he jammed on the crossing route?
COACH KELLY: He was. Yeah, he got jammed on that, but he came through clean and was breaking off over the top of the linebackers, but we got flushed a little bit. Nick [Foles] didn't get a chance to really set his feet because we had edge pressure coming off from the defensive back on that side. It was just, again, like I said, there's not one specific thing. [If] we do a better job holding up a little bit in protection, then we've got some time to drop it over the linebacker's head, and we're in a great situation at that point in time because we're up, but we're kind of just one play off here or there, where I think if we can get that straightened out, we're going to be okay.
What kind of explanation there was a call on Riley Cooper, blocking before the ball was that a legal play?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I mean, they just said they thought he was blocking before the ball was caught on the screen pass.
Do you have any reason for optimism with LB Mychal Kendricks back at practice tomorrow?
COACH KELLY: I don't know. It's a tricky deal. You know, it depends on how much because you're constantly on it, what he can do. He started doing a little bit of running last week, but we'll see how he progresses. Give Mychal credit; he's been in getting treatment every day and working as hard as he can to put himself in a situation to play. But it'll be an ongoing thing that we'll have to watch this week is what's he like on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and kind of see if we can get him fit back into the plans if he can go. But I don't have any expectation one way or another that he's definitely legitimately out this week, or yeah, he's in this week. It'll really be a big week for him in terms of his rehabilitation and what we can get out of him on the practice field.
I think I know the answer to this, but there were people that questioned the quarterback, and in baseball you bring in a relief pitcher. Is there ever a thought to changing things up for a football coach, for you, to bring in what I would call a relief pitcher when the quarterback seems to be a part of the struggles out there?
COACH KELLY: No, I mean, I think you're comparing two different sports. You don't that's not the way, I think, our game is played. I think in baseball you bring in a relief pitcher almost in every single game. I think the Phillies threw a no-hitter with eight guys or four guys or however many guys threw it, right? That's just the nature of that sport.
But I think the position of quarterback obviously is one that gets all the focal point. When things are struggling on one side of the ball, it's easy to say let's take him out, but I've never been that way. I don't think you can't pin all of this on Nick [Foles]. There are plays that he probably wants back. There's play calls that I want back. There are blocks up front that guys want back. There are plays on the perimeter that everybody wants back. I don't think that's an issue, and that never came across my mind during any of these games.
What's your assessment of Nick Foles through four games, kind of the good and the bad?
COACH KELLY: I think it's the same I think the offense is the same exact thing. I think obviously we set a very high standard here in terms of the success we had last year, but there's a different group of guys playing right now, and I think that's the reality of it. You know, we have to do a better job. Everybody on the offensive side of the ball has to do a better job in terms of executing because we're leaving plays out there on the field, and that's the thing that's disappointing when you look at it. When you get to second-and-5s and then we get a fumble or you get to second-and-2 and we get an interception, or we just miss a block because it was a communication issue up front, or on the last play and we're trying to run naked, not every lineman is going to the left so all of a sudden we've got a pile up, or if everybody does go left, we've got a clean edge and we're one on one with a guy in front of Nick and now we're trying to play a cat and mouse game on the corner where we are but we've got a pile up inside. On every situation where things have broken down, it's not the same guy. If it was the same guy, that's an easy decision where we can swap this guy out for that guy and maybe we'd have a better situation. But it's just one or two things here or there that are kind of slowing us down. But there's times where we prove we can be successful. We drove the ball 90 yards in 15 plays and got the ball to the 1, but then we don't execute when we get the ball down in there. We get a little bit of pressure and we can't get the ball in. We get a little bit of pressure off of one edge and we can't set our feet and throw it. We get a hold up when we're trying to run the naked and we can't get the ball to the perimeter. So it's just, let's put ourselves in situations where we can make better plays. I think we can build upon what we did special teams wise. I thought they had an outstanding game -- When you can block a punt for a touchdown, almost block another punt for a touchdown, return a punt for a touchdown. I think our defense is really kind of starting to round into shape and doing some really good things back there. They scored a touchdown.
If we can get all three phases to play at the same time, I think we're going to be a good team. That's something we all have to work on.
How much of a difference has S Malcolm Jenkins made for you guys in the secondary?
COACH KELLY: He's made a huge difference for us. You look at him right now, I think he's got eight pass breakups, three interceptions, 20 plus tackles. He sets the calls back there. There's a calming influence to him. I think his attitude and approach and what he brings every single day he's here, one of the most positive guys to ever be around, even when you watch him coming off the field and everybody listens to him in the fourth quarter, "We got this." I think he's always looking at the positive outcome of things, and you can see, if you want to say what a professional football player is supposed to behave like, I think Malcolm is a prime example of that. I've said it all along, he was our target, we were so excited that we got him, and I think what we thought in terms of our investigation and what we're getting is exactly what we got. I think he's really stabilized us on the back end, and I think we're playing better on the back end now than we were, especially early last year. Hopefully he can continue to grow and we haven't seen everything from him.