Q. Can you take us through last night and this morning? It must have been a pretty hectic time for you.
CHIP KELLY: No, we've had it all planned out. As a staff we just came back here right after the game and just started game planning on all three phases for Dallas and kind of what they did. Then obviously got the last game in – we didn't get the coaches' copy until early this morning, but we had to get most of our plan in place last night.
It was a late night, but we knew – whenever you play a Thursday game, immediately after the game is going to be a late night. Q. What are practices like this week as far as guys saying, 'It's more mental than physical?'
CHIP KELLY: Yeah, especially today. We played a game yesterday, so today will be a big mental day for us. We'll start to move a little bit tomorrow and Wednesday, but today is a big mental day for us.
Q. In college the Thursday games were typically preceded by byes. Did you learn anything from last year's experience on the four days?
CHIP KELLY: No, you have just got to be ready to go. One thing we don't worry about is what we don't control and we don't have any control over the schedule. We've got a plan in place. We got our plan in last night as a staff before we went to bed. Players were here this morning, excited about the opportunity; we've got a big game. It's a division game. And then both teams have the same amount of time, so it's not like anybody has an advantage over it.
Q. Defensive coordinator Bill Davis said yesterday that LB Marcus Smith II would probably be the next man up if LB Emmanuel Acho can't go. Last week you said you needed to see more out of him in practice. How confident are you --
CHIP KELLY: Yeah, I meant that in terms of whether he going to play over Acho or [LB] Casey [Matthews], but now with one guy down, a guy just moves up the ladder. I'm confident in him.
Q. Is the Cowboys offense when they're in 11 or 12 personnel as versatile in both packages?
CHIP KELLY: Yeah, they do a decent job. They're not just, 'If they're in 12 they're just running and if they're in 11 just throwing.' I think they've done a good job of self‑scouting themselves, and they do mix it up a lot.
Q. What do you see from their offensive line when you look at film?
CHIP KELLY: I think it's vastly improved. They do a really good job. They've got [G] Zack Martin there: first‑round draft pick, who has really fit in. I think their center [Travis Frederick] who they picked a year ago, he's in his second season, so there's a little bit of continuity. Obviously, they've got [T Tyron] Smith at tackle who is outstanding.
I think one of their strengths right now up front is what they're doing up front.
Q. With the run game, are there differences in scheme from last year, or is it just with the personnel? CHIP KELLY: Not much. Bill Callahan is still their O‑line coach and has always done a good job from a scheme standpoint in terms of what they're going to do. There are a lot of things, if you've studied Bill and his background, kind of signature plays that he runs. He's still running them. There's been an upgrade in terms of they've drafted well for that position in the last couple years, and obviously [RB DeMarco] Murray is playing at a really high level right now.
Q. What is Acho's status?
CHIP KELLY: He's not going to practice today, so I don't know anything besides that.
Q. When you look at Cowboys QB Tony Romo and the improvisation that he has in his game, how much of a challenge is that for the defense when he bides time?
CHIP KELLY: It's a huge challenge because you have to know not only what the original route was that your receivers are running, but what they're going to do after Tony bides time for himself. He does as good a job as any quarterback in the National Football League of keeping plays alive. He's got a great feel in the pocket. He has a unique sense in terms of if there's an unblocked guy, he just has a way of making him miss, but he's not looking to run. He's looking to throw the ball down the field, which is dangerous.
We not only have to know the route combination that's coming at you, but you also have to know where they're headed after the quarterback gets away from the original rush.
Q. When you look at the Cowboys, their ability to run as well as throw, how dangerous does that make them?
CHIP KELLY: It just makes them a complete team, so you just can't gang up on one phase. Obviously, it's a lot easier if a team is more one‑dimensional, but they're very balanced and they've got some outstanding receivers in [WR Dez] Bryant and [TE Jason] Witten and the rest of the group there, so it's not like you can say, 'Hey, if we can stop this, we've got a pretty good shot in this game.'
They run the ball as good as anybody in this league, and then obviously with Tony playing quarterback and Witten, Bryant, [WR Terrance] Williams, the rest of those guys, it's a difficult matchup in terms of what you're going to get because they can beat you either way.
Q. Is T/G Andrew Gardner your starting right guard at today's practice?
CHIP KELLY: I don't know. I haven't talked to Stout [offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland] yet?
Q. How exhausting is this process for a coaching staff? You said it was a late night. How late? When did you get to bed? How tough is the turnaround?
CHIP KELLY: I don't know, we didn't look at the clock, but it's just what you've got to do. I don't think we look at it as exhausting. We're excited about playing Dallas.
Q. With each week, WR Josh Huff's playing time on offense has increased a little bit. What has he shown you and why is he receiving increased playing time?
CHIP KELLY: There's a toughness to him. I think he's a real physical player when he's out there. Very, very good route runner. We're trying – obviously, when he has the ball in his hands he can run after the catch, so you're starting so see that. You saw that on the kick return in terms of what he can do with the ball in his hands. The thing that happened to Josh is he got hurt in our second preseason game and missed a real big chunk of time, especially developmental time for him. So I think it's just ‑‑ he's still a rookie, but if you compare him to [WR] Jordan [Matthews], he's six weeks behind Jordan in terms of -- so think about where Jordan was six weeks ago. It's kind of a similar situation there. But we've got high hopes for Josh and I think the more we get him involved and the more he can get comfortable out there, the better he's going to be.
Q. During your bye week how much do you prepare for a team like Dallas that you're going to face twice?
CHIP KELLY: During our bye week? The one we had a couple weeks ago?
CHIP KELLY: Zero. We weren't playing Dallas after the bye, so that wasn't ‑‑ we didn't talk about them that week.
Q. As far as RB LeSean McCoy getting to the second level, was that a function of the Titans' scheme?
CHIP KELLY: Yeah, a lot of their schemes, and we talked about it the week before, they try to press the linebackers towards the line of scrimmage. They like to blitz the linebackers through gaps, and one of the things that happens if you do that, if we can secure the linebacker when they're trying to come through the gap, when the ball breaks there's no linebackers, so the ball is already to the secondary, and that's what happened a lot on Sunday.
Q. Is QB Nick Foles scheduled for any sort of examination?
CHIP KELLY: Yeah, he's supposed to have a follow‑up. I don't know if it's this week or next week, but I haven't heard anything from Chris [head athletic trainer Chris Peduzzi] or those guys. I know he's working extremely hard from a rehab standpoint, but the whole decision will be made based upon what the bone is, and they'll get that X‑rayed at some point in time.
Q. When you've been going up-tempo, what's your satisfaction level? I don't know if you saw Titans DT Jurrell Casey's comments, but he faced you obviously when you were at Oregon and said it didn't seem as fast as it was in college.
CHIP KELLY: Yeah, college football is a lot faster than the NFL. That's just the way the league is.
Q. Why is that?
CHIP KELLY: Because they're two different leagues.
Q. Why is it faster in college than it is in the NFL?
CHIP KELLY: I just think the way the mechanics of the referees and how things are worked. That's just the way the game is.
Q. Knowing that, do you think your tempo is as fast?
CHIP KELLY: As in college? No, we were a lot faster in college. I agree with Jurrell Casey; we were a lot faster in college because of how you can play in college. The rules in the National Football League are different than the rules are in college.
Q. Are you satisfied with the tempo here in the NFL?
CHIP KELLY: It doesn't matter. Whatever they tell us the tempo is, the tempo is. I don't have a say in it. Q. No, but are you satisfied with the tempo from your team?
CHIP KELLY: From our team? Sometimes I am.
Q. What did you see from QB Mark Sanchez when you watched the film?
CHIP KELLY: I thought Mark did a good job. There were probably two or three throws he wants back: stepped up in the pocket on the one interception that sailed on him, just didn't get a chance to set his feet from a fundamental standpoint, but distributed the ball really well. We ended up ‑‑ when you finish the day, we had 30 completions and spread the ball around really well. I thought, for the most part, he was accurate, but there's a couple throws from a fundamental standpoint, setting his feet, getting his base set, getting his eyes in the right direction, that he needs to improve upon, but I thought he did a good job.
Q. When talking about LBs Mychal Kendricks and Matthews, how do you think they did against the Titans?
CHIP KELLY: Mychal did a good job. I think he's starting to get more comfortable coming back off the injury in terms of where he is. I think he played better this week than he did the week before. He's starting to improve again. You're starting to see some of the things that we know Mychal can do from an athletic standpoint, and I think Casey is just kind of a steady Eddie in there: can get the front set, does a real good job on first and second down. When we get to dime, he comes out, but I think Casey has been consistent while he's been playing for us.
Q. Do you think Matthews can handle the increased load if Acho is out and play first and second down pretty much the whole game
CHIP KELLY: He has to, unless you can play. [Laughter] I mean, Casey is ready to play football for us.
Q. Was there an issue with the route WR Riley Cooper ran on the first interception or what led to that pick?
CHIP KELLY: No, I just think that's probably a little bit on me. A little bit of ambiguity in terms of where we're going in the read, so I cleaned that up. Q. You speak about guys not making the same mistakes twice. Is that applicable with Sanchez?
CHIP KELLY: Yeah, Mark is a real professional. I think he understands it. The one thing with Mark that I think everybody forgets, is he missed an entire year last year, and he's only played three and a half games for us so far this year. There's still a growing process for him within our system.
Obviously, what we do in preseason there's not a lot from a standpoint of the amount of football we give those guys in preseason. You just want to go out and play. A lot of times we're just evaluating people [to see if they] can make plays. There's not a whole game plan aspect that goes on, especially in those first couple of preseason games or really the last preseason game. We're just trying to get to ‑‑ we use the preseason specifically for an evaluation standpoint of who's going to make our 53.
Now that he's in, he understands the week. He's been really good in terms of how we prepare. He was here late last night, just like we were here late last night, in terms of getting the game plan in and all those other things. That's the one thing I like about him and his professional approach; I don't think you're going to fool him twice with the same thing, so he does a really good job with that.
Q. What are the benefits of playing your basic scheme of defense week in and week out as opposed to switching it up to counter what an offense may present?
CHIP KELLY: I think sometimes when you switch it up, you may screw yourself up. You're going to be comfortable in terms of what you do and what you practice and what you train for, so to go out and say, 'Hey, it'll be a great scheme to run 6‑2 Stack Monster this week, well, if they don't have any reps at doing that, or they only get two or three reps during the week of it, and then you expect them to go out and execute on Sunday, then I think you're fooling yourself. I think people -- especially at this point in time, the Dallas Cowboys are going to do what they do and we're going to do what we do, and we're going to see who the best team is on Thursday.
But I don't anticipate all of a sudden they're going to come out and drastically do anything [different] offensively, defensively or special teams, and neither are we. It's just the team that executes the best on every given day. I think sometimes coaches can really outthink themselves if they think they're going to out‑scheme somebody in this league. I don't think that happens at all. I think it's the team that executes best ends up winning the football game. Q. With just Matthews and Marcus Smith healthy, you are really, really light at that position if something were to happen. Do you have anybody ‑‑
CHIP KELLY: Well, we're going see where Acho is. That's not -- we'll go through today. Don't write Acho off as dead yet. We're going to go out there and see what he can do and then we'll figure it out as we get going here.
Q. Obviously, DeMarco Murray is having a huge year. What do you see from your run defense through the first 11 games?
CHIP KELLY: I think our run defense has been good. I think it'll be a great matchup in terms of our guys going against their guys, and I think that we feel like our run defense is a strength. Obviously, it's a big strength for them offensively, so it'll be interesting to see that whole chess match that goes on between their offense and our defense.
Q. What about the stretch run? You guys have defended that well this season, but the Cowboys block it up really well.
CHIP KELLY: Yeah, but it's different teams and different schemes and different lines and different backs. You're going against arguably the best back right now; he leads the National Football League in rushing, so it's going to be a huge challenge.
We've seen the schemes that they've run before; other teams have run them against us. But it doesn't matter what you did last week and it doesn't matter what they did last week, it matters what we all do on Thursday.
Q. Did you watch Dallas' last drive last night against the Giants? CHIP KELLY: We were working, so I didn't see the whole last drive. But I've seen the tape. When we got the game tape, we watched it this morning.
Q. Romo had an incredible amount of time back there.
CHIP KELLY: Yeah, and again, it goes back to I think their offensive line is playing at a really high level right now. They did a great job of protecting him and giving him an opportunity, especially the last touchdown pass to Dez. I don't know the exact time, but he was back there for a while. It says a lot to what they can do from a protection standpoint along with being a real good group that can block the run.
Q. The decision to start Gardner at right guard, was that because G/T Matt Tobin missed two practice sessions last week, or were you leaning in that direction?
CHIP KELLY: No, it was just about who got the most reps and who do we feel most comfortable with.
Q. It's been a while since the Eagles have played on Thanksgiving, and you have never played on Thanksgiving. What are your thoughts about playing ‑‑
CHIP KELLY: Played in high school on Thanksgiving, so it's been a while. [Laughter.]
Q. You and me both. What are your thoughts about playing on Thanksgiving?
CHIP KELLY: I don't really ‑‑ just tell us when we're going to play. We don't really read much into it or wax nostalgic. It's not like we're going to have a cornucopia and a turkey on the sideline. We're just going to go play football.
Q. Dallas had some significant defensive struggles last year and they've been able to clean up a lot of that side of the ball. Where do you see their improvements this year?
CHIP KELLY: Yeah, and you know what, maybe overall they did, but I think in the two games that they played us, they played really well defensively, especially in the game we played here in Philadelphia. The one thing I think [Cowboys defensive coordinator] Rod Marinelli's teams do when he's running the show is that they play extremely hard, and there's probably not a group that plays harder in the National Football League. They run to the football. Everybody runs at every level: the D‑line, the linebackers and the secondary. Any time you play hard, you've got an opportunity to be successful, and that's what they're doing right now.
Q. Besides Acho, how did you come out health‑wise yesterday?
CHIP KELLY: Pretty good. I don't think there's any other issues besides him.
Q. I know it's a different team and different personnel, but with first place on the line last year you won the game in Dallas. Can there be carryover for the guys that are coming back?
CHIP KELLY: I mean, I think every season is different. It's not ‑‑ that game was different because it was the last game of the year so you had to win. There's still a lot of football to be played after we play this game. We're not talking about first‑place games or anything like that because they don't crown a champion after Thursday's game. We're just excited about the opportunity to go play against a really good team.
Q. What about rivalry games? Do you find there's a difference between that in college and the pros?
CHIP KELLY: In terms of what?
Q. Just the excitement leading up to it.
CHIP KELLY: I think our guys are excited because it's a really good football team they're playing. I don't get into the ‑‑ because they're in the division, obviously it's a division [game], it means a lot more because of what's at stake because you get division records are the first thing you're going to look at in terms of ties and all those other things. But the excitement is when you get a chance to play against a really good team, and Dallas is a really good team.