Q. With a young guy like WR Jordan Matthews, it almost seems like he is faster once he knows what he's doing. Do you think that a guy will actually look faster when he knows the offense better?
COACH KELLY: I think that's anybody. You're not playing [and] thinking, you're just kind of reacting to what's going on out there on the field. The concept that the game slows down, you know, they're not so concerned about, 'Where am I lining up? What's the play?' All those other things.
The game has slowed down a little bit for him. He's starting to just feel more comfortable in what we're doing.
Q. After watching the film, what did you think of QB Mark Sanchez's performance?
COACH KELLY: I thought Mark did a good job. Obviously, they were challenging us a little bit in the passing game, trying to force us to throw the ball. I thought he did a real good job of understanding the matchups we really liked, and the matchups we liked were really our tight ends and inside guys on their inside guys. Those guys did a good job of getting open. I thought Mark did a good job of putting the ball on those guys.
Q. It seemed like Sanchez's pocket awareness was pretty good considering he had not started a game in more than 22 months. What did you make of how he did?
COACH KELLY: I thought he did a good job, but pocket awareness, a lot of times, is a byproduct of what's going on up front, too. I thought those guys did a really good job from a pass‑pro standpoint.
He was pretty clean for most of the night. There weren't any free rushers getting to him. We were pretty solid in our assignments in the pass game. I think it's a combination of what those guys did up front.
But he did a good job of pushing up in the pocket sometimes when we had some wide rushes. Q. Some of the guys up front voiced their frustrations after the game that they couldn't get the running game going. What did you see?
COACH KELLY: Had a lot of guys in there. First off, give them credit. We didn't execute the way we needed to execute in the run game. They did a better job at defeating our blocks than we did at sustaining our blocks.
I can see their frustration. They played a lot of guys down towards the line of scrimmage, played a lot more man-free than they had shown going into the game. But if you do that then we have to be able to beat you throwing the ball and I thought we had the ability to beat them in that way.
Again, we don't care if we run it or throw it, as long as we're moving the football we're confident in what we can do offensively.
Q. At what point in a game like that do you figure out that they playing more man coverage than they had in the past? COACH KELLY: You kind of saw it early. We didn't change anything, we just have a plan. It's not like we changed and said, 'Oh, my God, let's do this.' We have plans going in depending on how people are going to play us: 'Are they going to play us in two‑high, are they going to play us in one‑high, are they going to play us in man, are they going to play us in zone?'
It's all things we practice. With everything we did, it wasn't like we were adding any new plays to our game plan. It was all things we practiced in terms of going into the game.
Q. How do you think Sanchez responded specifically to the tempo? There were some times where it was pretty fast.
COACH KELLY: I thought Mark did a good job with it. He's done a good job with it since he's been here, so I don't see it as a response. I mean, I just think he's comfortable in what we're doing here.
Q. Did C Jason Kelce rush some of his snaps out of the shotgun as a result of not being 100 percent ready?
COACH KELLY: We have got to look at that. They weren't as accurate as they had been in most of our other games. It's something for us to talk about with Kelce when we get back out on the field tomorrow. Q. Can you speak to how DE Fletcher Cox has bought into playing the scheme? Even on passing downs it appears to be about getting push up the middle, not necessarily getting sacks, but it seems like he's been consistent throughout?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I think he's played really well. In terms of him buying in, I don't think he was ever not buying in, so I can't speak to that. I think Fletch has done everything we've asked of him since we've been here. I think he's been a real force for us on the inside and I think sometimes people get graded on [their] statistics, but there are different parts of that from a defensive standpoint.
I think the pressure that he's generated both in the run and the pass game all year long has been outstanding.
Q. How much does injured LB DeMeco Ryans still contribute even though he's not playing anymore? Last night, guys were saying how much he has helped out.
COACH KELLY: He has. He got back on Friday, so he was in meetings on Friday and Saturday and Sunday. So, he still sat in on the inside linebacker meetings. [He] was there last night, [he] just wasn't on the sideline during the game. So everybody talked to him and he was in the locker room pregame. So, [he's] still contributing, kind of like a coach right now until we can get him back next year.
Q. Do you think that the short turnaround heading into the Green Bay Packers game is a good thing in a sense that there's no time to spend thinking about this past game and all of that?
COACH KELLY: We don't think that way. Tell us the schedule and we'll get ready for it.
Q. Was that the most complete game in all three phases that you played this season?
COACH KELLY: No. No. We didn't play well offensively at all, so...
Q. In looking at the film of Green Bay, going forward, how high of a level is Packers QB Aaron Rodgers playing at right now?
COACH KELLY: He's playing at a pretty high level. I said it, I think this morning -- I think he's arguably playing at the tops in the league right now and there are some quarterbacks playing at a pretty high level that I'm talking about.
But I think the last couple of weeks he's just been on fire. It's going to be a big challenge for us. I know our guys are excited about it.
You're going up against one of the best, so it will be a lot of fun on Sunday.
Q. LB Connor Barwin mentioned that he spied Panthers QB Cam Newton a bit during last night's game and that he might do the same against Rodgers.
COACH KELLY: He's clairvoyant, then, because we haven't had any meetings or any game plans yet.
Q. What are the advantages or disadvantages of doing that against a guy like Rodgers?
COACH KELLY: We haven't done anything from that standpoint. Everybody is grinding on that right now. So, I can't answer that question.
Q. You have nine return touchdowns on special teams and defense this season. What do those plays mean as far as how they change the momentum and how they can turn around a game?
COACH KELLY: They're huge impacts on the game, because, obviously, even if it's just a turnover, then you still have to go out and do something with it. The fact that our defense is not only creating a turnover, but turning it into a score and then the same thing that's happening in the punt situations or the kickoff return situations, is that usually you're hoping you're going to get some yardage to put the offense on the field in a good situation where they can go score. We talk about flipping the field, but when you can turn it all the way into a score, it's just huge for you.
Q. If teams stop punting the ball to RB Darren Sproles and try to angle their kicks towards the sideline, how can you counter that to get your punt return team to be effective?
COACH KELLY: We've got schemes where we can handle that.
Q. When say that you didn't play well at all offensively, aside from the running game issues, what else are you referring to?
COACH KELLY: The same thing. I just didn't think we were very consistent overall. I think we could have sustained some drives. We missed a couple key conversions on short‑yardage situations that we didn't convert.
I think that if you asked the guys on the offensive side of the ball, they felt like they didn't play well. I believe we didn't really play up to our potential on the offensive side of the ball.
Q. There seems to be an extreme when discussing quarterbacks playing in your system. On one end, people say you want a prototypical quarterback. On the other end, people are saying that anybody can play in your system. What is your in-between and what do you look for in a quarterback?
COACH KELLY: I don't really care what anybody else says. If anybody thinks anybody can play in our system, then they can't evaluate quarterbacks because you have got to be a really good player to play in the National Football League.
I think it's a disservice to the guys that have played quarterback for us to say that just anybody can play that position. It's the most difficult position to play in sports, and it takes a real special guy.
We've just been fortunate. We had Mike Vick, who is an outstanding player. Then Mike got hurt and the fact that we had an opportunity to get [QB] Nick [Foles] in there, who is really a starter in the National Football League and had a tremendous run there before he hurt his clavicle. Then the fact that we have Mark Sanchez is just a credit to what we have here from a depth standpoint.
I don't think those guys get enough credit for how good of quarterbacks they are.
Q. Last night, you mentioned the importance of the fans and their support last night. You may not have heard, but Sanchez drove downtown after the game to Pat's King of Steaks and Geno's Steaks and hung out with the fans and ate cheesesteaks. What does that say about Sanchez? Does that show that he understands the importance of the relationship with the fans here in Philadelphia?
COACH KELLY: The fact that he was hungry after a game?
Q. That he spent time with the fans and kind of hung out with the fans.
COACH KELLY: I mean, that's just the type of guy that Mark is. He's just a regular guy. I think we have a bunch of guys on our team that are the same exact way. Connor Barwin rides SEPTA [Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority] with Jason Kelce. These guys, they're a fabric in this community. They love living here, they love being a part of this thing. It's a great city.
I really believe it's a privilege to play for the Eagles and play in front of these fans, and I think they appreciate that.
Q. You try to talk to Jordan Matthews about his yards and he just says that he does not care about it. Then you ask Barwin about his sacks and he talks about how happy he is that Cox got one last night. It is the same thing with TE Brent Celek when asked about his yards. There are not a lot of guys in your locker room that seem to be selfish. Where does that come from? What leads to a bunch of guys who really just don't care about their stats or individual accomplishments?
COACH KELLY: I think it says a lot to the whole group. They understand it's amazing what can be accomplished when no one cares who gets the credit. It's a team game, and that's why we're involved in it. We're ultimately judged in how well we perform as a team.
This isn't fantasy league football or whatever. Those are all peripheral things that we have really nothing to do with. The object for us each week -- and it's really a one‑week deal every single time we go into it – is to go out there and win. We win as a team and we lose as a team. We've got a bunch of guys that really buy into that. That's why we're successful as a team right now.
Q. What factored into the decision to have S Chris Prosinski up and S Earl Wolff down?
COACH KELLY: Special teams. In terms of Chris' impact, in terms of what he can do, he did a really good job as a wing on our punt team and did a really good job on our kickoff cover team.
Q. The Packers moved LB Clay Matthews inside. What does that do for them?
COACH KELLY: They really used him. It's different. They hadn't done it. He really flew around. They used him. The ability to blitz him as an inside linebacker, as an extra rusher. But he obviously made a lot of plays, chasing the ball carrier down.
I think sometimes if he was playing one of the ends, you could always scheme it up and run away from him. Now you can't because he's in the middle and is playing sideline to sideline.
It's interesting that a player that's played outside his whole career, in college and the impact he's had in this league, in five short days can switch around and be an inside linebacker. It kind of tells you what kind of football player Clay is.
It will be interesting to see how much more of that we see this week in terms of what they're going to do going forward. But it's drastically different than anything they've done all year long.
Q. How were you able to get a gauge on Prosinski as far as special teams play? COACH KELLY: Just evaluating him, what he's done and how long he's been in the league. He's been one of the real four core team players in this league for the last couple of years.
When the opportunity presented itself for us to bring him in here, we thought it would be a good upgrade for us from a special teams standpoint.
Then the fact that we had him on the field and could see what he could do firsthand I think led us to that decision.
Q. Was Celek releasing more downfield this game instead of staying in the block more than usual?
COACH KELLY: Celek doesn't usually stay in to block on pass pro. In the run game obviously, but he did what our normal tight ends do. Whether we were in five‑man or six‑man, or even if we were in seven‑man protection, if they don't blitz, those guys are out.
I don't think there was anything different in terms of what he was doing. We just really felt that matchup with their inside guys covering our inside guys was something we could exploit.
Q. I know you don't care what other people think. However, there are people that believe you simplify the system as well as anybody else for your quarterbacks. Do you believe that you in some way try to make it simpler to make it easier to play in this system?
COACH KELLY: No, I've never understood that. I hear we have all one‑word plays. We don't. I've never had a one‑word play in my life. People run with a lot of different things. I don't know where they get that information.
I mean, if you call one word, that would be the snap count. We would never even have a play or a formation, so...
I've never understood some of that stuff that people try to figure out what we do to simplify or not simplify. I don't know.
They can run with it for all they want. We're just concerned about preparing well tomorrow and getting ready to play Green Bay.
Q. How far along is the special teams and the defense compared to the first year in your program?
COACH KELLY: Obviously we've made great strides in the special teams standpoint. It's been an emphasis for us since I got here. I've always believed the impact teams can make in terms of flipping the field, changing field position. It's so difficult just to gain a first down in this league. If you can make the field always shorter for yourself in either manner, whether you make it a long field for them or a short field for yourself, that's extremely important.
I think the emphasis has always been the same. It will always be consistent. It's a fundamental‑based emphasis. But I think our players are just a lot more comfortable in terms of what we're doing. Then we've got a bunch of guys that really truly understand what we're trying to get accomplished from a team standpoint and embrace that.
The [S Chris] Maragoses, [LB Bryan] Bramans, [LS Jon] Dorenboses, [P] Donnie [Jones], [K Cody] Parkey, you throw Chris in there, we got a lot of guys. [WR] Brad Smith was back. We had another guy out there. If you watch the long punt return, [CB] Brandon Boykin did an unbelievable job on the gunner on the outside, led us into the end zone on the opposite sideline. [TE] Zach Ertz did a great job. I think people are feeding off each other from that standpoint. They understand how much of an impact it can have on a game.
Q. How far has LB Brandon Graham come as far as coverage? There was one play where he had pretty good coverage on Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin.
COACH KELLY: Brandon, he has picked ‑‑ I shouldn't say picked his game up. I think he's just really starting to get very, very comfortable in terms of what we're asking him to do. Same with [LB] Trent [Cole]. Both those guys are really starting to excel as true outside linebackers, not only in their ability to set the edge and rush the passer, but to drop into coverage. I think Brandon, we're really excited about where he's headed. He's embraced everything we've had. He's another guy, talking about the impacts he's had on special teams, he's been a great guy in our kickoff coverage team, done a really good job for us from that standpoint.
I think he's really playing football at a pretty good level right now.
Q. Has Graham's play in turn allowed you to free Barwin up?
COACH KELLY: That means something. I didn't say they don't mean anything. In terms of Connor, I think his versatility is a huge plus for us. His ability to play multiple positions. We can line him up at inside linebacker in passing downs. We line him up at outside linebacker. We line him up at defensive end. I think for all those guys, it's their second year in the system. There's a lot more comfort level for them in terms of understanding what [defensive coordinator] Billy [Davis] and the rest of our coaches over there are trying to get accomplished. Q. The majority of the guys on defense, what made you think that unit, with another year of seasoning, would be better?
COACH KELLY: Just because I'm around them every day and probably don't pay attention to what you guys write. I mean, we make our evaluations on what we did. We thought we had a really good group and thought we had a bunch of guys that were really committed to making themselves better.
I think how they showed up here in the offseason, what they did in preseason camp, how they go out there on a daily basis, kind of led us to that evaluation in terms of keeping all those guys around here.
Q. It was a near equal split for LB Emmanuel Acho and LB Casey Matthews. How would you evaluate their play?
COACH KELLY: They did a good job. You know, obviously you're replacing DeMeco, who is just a tremendous football player. But I thought both those guys did a really good job.
You know, [inside linebackers coach] Rick [Minter] rotates those guys. I don't think it was specifically designed to land right there. I think it was like 31/30. He's monitoring them. One thing we do, I think again having selfless players, is making sure a fresh body out there is better than just one other guy out there that stays for a long time.
So you didn't want to have a 50/20 split. You wanted to be able to kind of split it right down the middle. I thought those guys handled the first real true game with DeMeco out really well.
Q. How did the sub‑packages do?
COACH KELLY: They did a good job. I think overall our defense played really well. I think everything they did. We can always nitpick and kind of correct. There's little things that I think we need to look at. But when you come out of a game with as many turnovers as we had, nine sacks, you got to say that we played pretty well in all phases of our defense.
Q. I've heard you mention that every week is a Super Bowl for your team. Can you talk about how you go about instilling that mindset to ensure there's no drop off?
COACH KELLY: I think the simple thing is you only have one game each week. As simple as that sounds, it's the truth. There's no reason to look past anybody because in this league anybody can beat anybody. That's evident in terms of when you look at it. There's no undefeated teams in this league. You got to be on top of your game every single week.
It is a challenge I think. But when you really truly look at it, every game has a huge impact. When you get towards the end of the season, you know, what's the difference, it's one loss here, one loss here. You can look back to it – it was a game in October, a game in September that maybe we kind of let slip by us.
But the nature of our sport is that it's all one‑week deals. It's a one‑week season every single time you get an opportunity to go out there.
Sometimes the week is a little longer like it was last week because we played on a Monday night, then it's a day shorter this week. By and large, you kind of get into that rhythm as a football player of what it's supposed to feel like in terms of your preparation, and then are you ready to go play on Sunday.
The teams that can win consistently over the long haul kind of take that same approach. But if you kind of get it up, gear it up for one game, then kind of gear it down for another game and say, 'In two weeks, we got a big one coming up,' you're going to get surprised.
Q. You faced Clay Matthews at less than 100 percent last year. Seems like he's back to where he was pre-injury. How do you prepare for an outside linebacker like him?
COACH KELLY: Well, the question is what position is he going to play, because he didn't play outside linebacker versus Chicago, he played inside linebacker, except in dime situations where they put him back at defensive end.
Really trying to get a beat on where he's going to be and understand whether he's at inside or outside, what type of impact he can make not only as a blitzer but in coverage and the other things they're asking him to do. I think that will be one of the interesting matchups going into this game, exactly how they deploy him.
Q. Getting back to kind of bringing back almost the entire defense from last year. You changed the safety. But how much value is there in just those guys playing together for a couple years and being in meetings together, the communication, knowing each other?
COACH KELLY: The continuity is huge. We brought them all back because they could play. It wasn't a, 'Hey, let's bring him back just because he's been here.' We felt all those guys, you know, had growth potential in terms of what we were doing defensively.
We all saw it. We saw flashes at times where they were doing things. We also have been around them for such a long time, we understand their approach, how they approached it, what they were going to do from a work standpoint. We knew they were going to get better. We knew they were going to grow. So it's not surprising to us in terms of how well they're playing right now. But it's something that we anticipated the longer they can get together, the more they can get an understanding of what we're doing. The more we can continue to develop them from a fundamentals standpoint, and understanding the moves of the guys to the right of them and to the left of them, that we were going to be successful. I think we're just starting to see that right now.
Q. A lot of these guys went from a 4‑3 to a 3‑4. Will there be more growth potential over a couple years because it was so much different for a lot of them?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, but sometimes it's not that. We're a lot of four down stuff in our nickel and dime package. So they're kind of back to what they did in a previous life, so...