Q. With G/T Todd Herremans playing the last game, do you find with older players, especially guys like him who are so tough and willing to play through injury, that they're more willing to kind of put their bodies through that because they're getting up there in years and they want to be a part of something, especially a winning culture?
CHIP KELLY: No, I don't think it has anything to do with age. I just think it has to do with the individual.
Q. With Herremans, what happened with the decision to finally shut it down?
CHIP KELLY: I think he couldn't move on his ankle. He would have been out for a couple weeks with his ankle, so I think he just made a decision that, 'If I'm going to be out with my ankle and I'm not going to play anyway, I might as well get this fixed.'
Q. In the last three games you have used a lot of 11-personnel and have been running pretty well out of it. What cause you to decide to use more of it? Is it what the defense was doing?
CHIP KELLY: Yeah, it's based on what the defense is doing and how they try to defend sets and what are they going to put in the game and what would we rather get matched up against. We're flexible in terms of can we be in 11 or 12 or 10 or even 13 because of our three tight ends, so just what gives us the best advantage.
Q. In camp you mentioned how well QB Mark Sanchez fit with the guys in the locker room and with the culture. What have you seen particularly that stood out?
CHIP KELLY: I just think he came in and was a really good teammate from the get go, and I think it's important that everybody gets along and everybody is on the same page. I think he has the same goals and aspirations as the other guys in the locker room, and it wasn't one of those where it took him a little while for people to understand him. I think he's a likable guy. I think people understand that he's here because he wants to win. It's not about Mark, it's about the Eagles, and I think he fits in with the rest of the guys in the locker room.
Q. How tough is it for a guy like G/T Matt Tobin who hasn't really done much at right guard throughout this preseason and season to swing over like this?
CHIP KELLY: I don't know, and that's what practice is all about, so I wouldn't rule [T/G] Andrew Gardner out there, either. I think people are a little presumptuous saying that they already know what our starting lineup is because the coaches don't know what the starting lineup is.
Q. WR Jeremy Maclin has obviously come back from that knee injury and is having a great season. As a coach what are you most proud of with Maclin?
CHIP KELLY: I mean, I don't know if I'm really proud, I just think that's what I expected. That's the Jeremy Maclin I saw before the injury, and the big thing for me is that's the Jeremy Maclin I saw here every day rehabbing. I knew he was going to be successful. I saw how he attacked his rehabilitation in terms of getting ready and getting back and ready to play with his knee. That's why it was very, very important for us to sign him in this offseason and make sure that he stayed here and was a part of it. I think it's just a credit to him in terms of his determination. But that's the makeup of the guy that I saw the first time I walked into this building.
Q. How important is it for you to sign Maclin long term?
CHIP KELLY: I'm worried about the Carolina Panthers.
Q. Are defenses playing you guys differently in terms of keeping a safety deeper with the fact that you guys have been hitting some more deep balls?
CHIP KELLY: No.
Q. Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur said yesterday that he thought this was a QB friendly system. Do you agree with that and what makes it that way?
CHIP KELLY: No, I've never really thought of it that way. I just think we try to make it a friendly system for the QB, the running back, the O line, the wide receivers. I think that's your job as a coach. If you make it too complicated where your players don't understand it, therefore they're thinking [too much] and they can't go out and execute, then shame on you as a coach. I would say any system that's not QB friendly, then it's probably a bad system.
Q. You have a history of coaching against Panthers QB Cam Newton. What are the challenges that he presents that are specific to him?
CHIP KELLY: As in I've faced him once before?
Q. Well, you faced him in the preseason, but before that in the NCAA National Championship game.
CHIP KELLY: Yeah, in the one game, he played well against us. They beat us 22 19. He's a tremendous athlete, but I think he gets shortchanged when everybody just says he's a good athlete. He's a really good quarterback. He can throw the ball [and] he can make all the throws. I think he broke Peyton Manning's record as a rookie in this league for throwing. He's a complete quarterback.
If guys are covered, his ability to then make something happen with his feet I think is what kind of sets him apart from some other guys in this league.
He's a huge challenge for us in terms of facing him this week.
Q. Is there anything different as far as your success in the red zone on Sunday?
CHIP KELLY: Yeah, we didn't turn it over, so usually that contributes to us scoring when we don't give the ball to the other team.
Q. You had mentioned turnovers and X-plays against as two of the things that need to be cleaned up. What stats or factors do you look to on the other side that has enabled you to go past that and have a 6-2 mark?
CHIP KELLY: I think our defense has done a great job when we have turned it over, and I've always talked about response after turnovers, in that even though we do turn it over, can our defense go out and limit people when they go on the field? For the most part, not all the time, but for the most part they've done a really good job of that in terms of even though we made a mistake on the offensive side of the ball, it's not a full mistake if our defense can go out and force the ball to come back to us. So I think a lot of credit goes to our defense in terms of that.
I also think there's a lot of mental toughness on this team. They don't let one play define them and understand that you can fail on a play, but that doesn't mean that you're a failure. I think they have the ability to bounce back after they make a mistake. They learn from it, make sure it doesn't happen again, and then move on.
Q. In the first round of the draft, was Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin a guy that you were giving strong consideration to when you were there at pick No. 26?
CHIP KELLY: I can't tell you at 26 what we were thinking about at that point in time, but he was a guy that certainly we had on our board as a receiver that we were very, very interested in. He fits kind of what we're looking for. He's a big, strong, physical guy. But he's a guy we looked very hard at in the draft. I think he's talented, and I think what he's doing doesn't surprise us. That's what we thought about him coming out. I thought he was a really good receiver.
Q. LB Trent Cole and LB Brandon Graham have become really good outside linebackers in this scheme, and you guys kind of insisted that from the get go.
CHIP KELLY: Surprising.
Q. Is it the player? Can you mold them into almost anything if they're good and they have talent and they're willing to do it, or is it more than that?
CHIP KELLY: No, it's the player. We've had faith in Brandon. A lot of people had him written off and written out of here, but we didn't, thank goodness. I think he's improved in every manner. I think he's playing really well on special teams for us. He generates a great pass rush. He sets the edge. He's worked extremely hard at coverage, and I think Trent has done the same exact thing.
I just told those guys that they know, from our standpoint, that we've always had faith in them, and I think that's the great thing about it. The players and the coaching staff have a good understanding of each other and don't worry about anything else that's going on outside because that really has no effect on it. So with the decisions that are made, I think our players know that we are really straightforward where we are coming from. I think we're real honest and open and transparent with them, and they understand it. But their success doesn't surprise us, neither did Mac's [Maclin's] success surprise us. We felt all along that those guys could fit really well in our scheme, and they've proven that.
Q. Is it the same thing at wide receiver? Last year DeSean Jackson had a career year while playing in this system and obviously now Maclin is out there --
CHIP KELLY: That's a credit to the players. If there was one system that allowed people to have career years then everybody should run the system. It's still a player deal. Our job is to put them in situations where they can make plays, but then they've got to go make the plays, and some guys can't make plays and other guys can make plays, so it's a credit to the player.
Q. Shurmur and Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera worked together for a bunch of years here. Does that change anything in the preparation that they know each other so well and how they think?
CHIP KELLY: No, just because there's a lot of familiarity with a lot of different coaching staffs. Billy Davis [Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis] worked for the Giants and worked for Coach [Tom] Coughlin. I think everybody at some point in this league has crossed paths with other people. [Panthers defensive coordinator] Sean McDermott was here, so Ted [Eagles tight ends coach Ted Williams] and Duce [Eagles running backs coach Duce Staley] and Shurm know him well, too. But I think that's kind of commonplace in this league. Most people aren't in the same place for a long time, so there's a lot of crossover.
But everybody is different based upon the personnel they have, so how do they deploy it? You may say, 'Hey, I really like this blitz,' but if they don't feel they have people that can run that blitz, they're not going to run the blitz.
Q. Are you looking for anything more out of LB Mychal Kendricks now that LB DeMeco Ryans is out in terms of leadership or anything?
CHIP KELLY: No, Mychal has just got to be himself, and I think if Mychal tries to be anything different than himself, I don't think that's going to that's not the formula for success. It's the same with Mark [Sanchez] or the same with Andrew Gardner, the same with Matt Tobin, whoever it is. You don't have to replace the guy, and I think if that's what your mindset is going in, you need to just be yourself. Go out and play the type of football that we know you can play and not worry about all [that] other stuff. But I think when you try to become something else or try to say, 'Hey, DeMeco did it this way, so I have to do it that way.' Mychal has got to be Mychal, and I think he's done a good job.
I thought he had a really good game against Houston when you really go back and look at the tape. He played really well against Houston, and if we can get the Mychal that played against Houston to play against Carolina, we'd be really happy with that.
Q. Sanchez took a lot of heat near the end of his time in New York. What made him so appealing to you guys as a free agent when you were looking for a backup?
CHIP KELLY: We don't pay attention to any of that. Whether he got heat or didn't get heat is I look at the skill set of a quarterback, and I've known Mark for a while, so I know his high school [coach]. I talked to his high school coach, I talked to his college coaches, I know people that have worked out with him, I know people that he was doing rehab with, and that's what attracted us to him. But whether somebody got heat or didn't get heat, we don't get involved in any of that stuff.
Q. What's your philosophy on audibling for a quarterback when he's given that kind of leeway to do it?
CHIP KELLY: It depends on the play set. We do it here, so it just depends. They can get us in and out of certain plays or protections and things like that, but it's been the same no matter who the quarterback is.
Q. In regards to your "next man up" philosophy, how much do you think integrating guys into practice like you do, twos and ones in different ways, helps them?
CHIP KELLY: I believe it helps a ton, so we don't make a big deal out of who's a one, who's a two, through the offseason or through preseason games or preseason practice. If the three's offense is going against the one's defense, that's not a, 'Hey, that's not the look we want.' I think it took some of maybe our older coaches to kind of understand that it's just we've got to rotate everybody because at some point in time they have to play together. I know everybody made a big deal of why [WR] Jordan Matthews was with the twos. It's not a big deal to us. He's getting as many reps as he can, we're getting on film, we're coaching him up, we're making him better.
You know, I think at some point in time, that experience is everybody is going to get a chance to play with everybody.
Q. We haven't had a chance to talk to QB Nick Foles since his injury. Obviously, this is a big setback for him. I know he was out at practice yesterday. What have you said to him?
CHIP KELLY: I think Nick has been great. I think he understands. One thing about Nick that I think I've always admired is what his mindset is like. He has no control over [the situation], so for him to sit there and feel sorry for himself, I don't think you're ever going to get that out of Nick. He's talking about what his rehabilitation schedule is going to be and what he has to do to put himself in a situation and how he can be a real good teammate and support Mark and Matt.
Q. RB Chris Polk is healthy now. What dimension does he add to the running game?
CHIP KELLY: Yeah, we were excited about him before he got hurt, and then he came back and then got hurt again. It's a matter of him getting a little bit more healthy. I think he's got a great feel for playing running back, was an outstanding running back at the college level at Washington and saw him played against him. He's physical, but he also can make people miss. He's got a real good feel for the zone schemes. He did a lot of it when he was in college. For what we run offensively in terms of what our primary runs are, I think he fits in there. He's got real good vision.
Q. Where does his power come from? RB Darren Sproles is much more muscular.
CHIP KELLY: Do you want to tell him that? (Laughter.)
Q. Polk plays a lot bigger than he is.
CHIP KELLY: No, I think he's a real strong, physical guy when you see him in the weight room, see the numbers he puts up and how he runs and the power that he generates. He's done the same thing on special teams. He's a really difficult guy to block on special teams for that same reason, too.
Q. Is Polk still working his way back or is he 100 percent fully go right now?
CHIP KELLY: I think he's getting there. I mean, that's a better question you can ask him, but I think he's getting there.
Q. How was your experience coaching Carolina WR Jason Avant last year?
CHIP KELLY: It was good. I think being the old guy in the room, the one thing that Jason always did and that you could always point to as a coach is his work ethic. As witnessed to everybody, the immediate -- practice over, he's got the JUGS machine out, and how he trained and how he developed and his approach on a daily basis. I told him that when we let him go that I appreciate everything he did in my first year as a coach because he made that transition for a new coaching staff coming here fantastic. I think Jason is a special guy, and I think both on and off the field, and I've got nothing but the utmost respect for Jason.
Q. Sanchez had a 55% completion percentage in New York and touchdowns to interceptions was about 50/50. What did you look at to where that wasn't a deterrent for you when you were analyzing?
CHIP KELLY: I don't look at any of that stuff because I don't know what he was asked to do, and that's where whoever looks at that stuff and all those people that can watch a game film and understand what a quarterback was supposed to do on a play, they're a lot smarter than I am. How they grade somebody out and say that they know what was he told to do on that play? He may have been told to throw it to the 'Y', and he threw it to the 'Y' but the 'Y' tipped off his hands and someone else caught it, so it's an interception. I don't know, so we didn't pay attention to any of that stuff.
Q. What can you see that gets you past that, though?
CHIP KELLY: I look at - I said earlier, I look at their skill set. I look at his feet. I look at his mechanics. I look at how he throws the football. I look at how he can escape a rush. I look at all the physical aspects of it, and then we do our work in terms of who's coached him and who talked to him, what was he like, what's he like in the meeting room, what's his work ethic like, how does he study film, how does he do all these things? We went all the way back to researching his high school coaches who I know very well, like what was he like when you had him? So that's how we look at it instead of trying to say -- anybody that can look at someone else's film and guess what they were telling that guy to do on that play, then they're a lot smarter than I am.
Q. There was a story that had come out in a Carolina paper over the summer where Avant said he butted heads with you a little bit on how to run specific routes and that's when he kind of knew he was on the way out. Did you hear about that?
CHIP KELLY: Yeah, I heard about that, and Jason called me afterwards and apologized and said that that's not what he said.
Q. There was a story about you thinking about moving on to Sanchez before Foles got hurt? I'm just trying to get your comment on that.
CHIP KELLY: No, not at all. I don't know where that stuff comes from. I mean, I know this: I know I control the roster, and I think you guys can say firsthand I don't talk to anybody. Whoever says they have a source in terms of what's going to go on with roster maneuvers or people going up, people going down, then they've never talked to the right person because that comes from me. That never was any of my case. I've got great faith in Nick, and I think he's a hell of a quarterback, and I think sometimes he gets banged too much. I wish there were more people like Nick Foles in our lives.