Q. Have you or your agent been contacted by the University of Florida about the head coaching vacancy?
COACH KELLY: Nope.
Q. Just wanted to get it out of the way --
COACH KELLY: No.
Q. Would you talk to them if they called?
COACH KELLY: No. Q. When that stuff comes up, how do you kind of take that?
COACH KELLY: I laugh. I laugh.
Q. Is it flattering?
COACH KELLY: No. I think it's silly.
Q. Why is it silly that a school would be interested?
COACH KELLY: Because it's a rumor. It's not the truth. I think things that are false are silly. Football questions, anybody? Is that it? Good, let's go to practice. [Laughter]
Q. How much time do you spend after last season talking about what you needed to do on special teams? Do you feel like that is the most improved phase of this team?
COACH KELLY: I think we spent the same amount of time on everything. I think part of what you do in the offseason is your quality control work in terms of, 'What did we do well, what do we need to improve on?' in every facet of what we do here. That's part of what drives us in the offseason. That's the fun part I think as a coach is, 'How do we improve upon what we did last year, how do we get better, how do we constantly keep evolving?' and that's what this process is about for us.
So it's not like we said, 'Hey, let's just concentrate on this and not concentrate on everything else,' because I do think every phase is important. But I do think we have made some significant improvements in our special teams and it's obviously showed in the play this year.
Q. How much input do you have with General Manager Howie Roseman and the front office in terms of allocating funds? If you look at the Seahawks and you guys and how much salary you spend, you guys spend a lot more on offense and they seem to spend a lot more on defense. How much of that is --
COACH KELLY: Well, I think a lot of that was before I got here, too. So I think you're governed by contracts you walked in on. You've got to understand what you have. Most of the guys that we play on offense right now were here before I got here. That's part of the deal. I think you just can't start from scratch and have a utopian model of, 'Hey, we're going to pay X amount to this and X amount to that and X amount to this,' because you may not have that player there. I don't think you can just slot and say, 'Hey, our right guard is going to make X amount of money.' It's just about what do you have there already. There were already pieces in place when we got here.
Q. Seahawks CB Richard Sherman was drafted before you got here, but you saw him when you were at Oregon. Why do you think he lasted until the fifth round of the draft?
COACH KELLY: I don't know. I mean, that's a question for other people. I thought he was a really good player in college. I always thought he was a prototypical NFL corner because of his size. I think the unique thing about Richard is that he played wide receiver to start his career and I think that's a part of one of the reasons he has such good ball skills and has such good anticipation. He's obviously an extremely intelligent player. He's got a great knowledge of what offenses are trying to do to him. He was a good player. There are a lot of times, I think ‑‑ ask most college coaches and they will say they don't understand why guys got drafted where they got drafted.
Q. When asked about the difficulties of defending the zone read Defensive Coordinator Bill Davis said it's just that extra gap that you have to be responsible for or the quarterback having that option. Is that basically why you have been a proponent of using a quarterback that can run?
COACH KELLY: Has it been the reason? No, no. I just think it's a good scheme to attack people, but that's not the reason we do it.
Q. You've only had RB LeSean McCoy for a short time, but he's on the verge of becoming the all‑time rushing leader in team history. What does that say about him?
COACH KELLY: I think it just tells you what type of back he is. We knew what ‑‑ I knew early on once we got here what type of presence LeSean has and what a tremendous asset he is, especially when he has a ball in his hands in terms of what he can do: his ability to make people miss, his ability to get the ball up the field.
I think he catches the ball well out of the backfield. I think he's a complete running back; he does a great job on blitz pickup. I knew coming in here what a talented player he was. You get a chance to work with him, he's a great guy to coach, he's very receptive to coaching and he wants to get better every day. He's got a way about him that he just is constantly trying to improve.
So that's where some of the questions earlier in the season about him, I don't think it phased anybody in here because we felt like we had one of the top running backs around and obviously I think his statistics have proven that.
Q. Do you see something clicking right now with McCoy, or do you honestly feel that he is the same exact guy he was?
COACH KELLY: I think he's the same exact guy. I think that the guys around him are a little bit different. That's always been the biggest thing. Just look at how many different lineups we had before we started to settle down. [C Jason] Kelce is back, he's starting to get healthier; [G] Evan [Mathis] is back, he's starting to get healthier. [T] Lane [Johnson] is back. There were a lot of moving parts earlier in the year for us.
Q. Is K Cody Parkey's groin affecting him on kickoffs? COACH KELLY: I don't think so. I think he should be good this week. It may have affected him a little bit last week, but I think he should be fine this week.
Q. You have been pretty successful in your first and second possessions in the last seven or eight games. Do you script at all ‑‑
COACH KELLY: We script all situations, so that's everything we do and we've done that in every game. What are we going to do in third-and-short, what are we going to do in third-and-medium, what are we going to do in third-and-long, what are our first and second down calls, what are our red zone calls, what are our high red zone calls, low red zone calls, what are our coming out? We have all of those kind of predetermined. That's how we game plan. That's how we work during the week in practice.
Q. As you have looked at those red zone calls, have you found any issues during the last three weeks in particular?
COACH KELLY: Yeah we're not executing. We've got to make plays down there. I think we've done a good job of moving the ball between the 20s, but you really get judged on what you do when the ball is inside the 20. We need to do a better job executing down there. *Q. When that's the case, do you do any more red zone work in practice? *
COACH KELLY: No, you can't, because then you're going to be short somewhere else. We just have to do a better job of executing when we are down there.
We spend a lot of time in the red zone itself anyway just because it's such an important area for us. I don't think we need to spend more time down there; we just need to do a better job when we are down there.
Q. What can WR Jordan Matthews expect against Seattle given the way they cover the middle of the field and defend crossing routes? How will it compare to the way other teams defend that area of the field?
COACH KELLY: I think they are similar to a lot of teams. They play single-high safety, they mix up between their man and their zone, and a lot of their zones are matchup zones. I think it's a lot of the same coverages he's seen before. They have got really good players doing it, but it's not like they are doing anything revolutionary from a coverage standpoint.
Q. Do they play a little more physical and play up on the inside receivers?
COACH KELLY: I think everybody in this league plays physical. We haven't seen anybody yet that doesn't play physical. Dallas plays physical; everybody was in your face. It's just, who can win their one‑on‑one matchups. Our guys go into every game expecting a physical matchup on the perimeter.
Q. Do you like to stay in your base against three wide receiver sets?
COACH KELLY: No, they match like most people do in this league ‑‑ so if you're in three wide, they're going to be in nickel. If you're in two tight ends, they're going to be in base.
Q. You have talked about specific measurables before. At safety, which things do you find important there?
COACH KELLY: There are a lot of things from ‑‑ it's all together, but I don't think you can look at one thing and say, 'He doesn't have this, so we're not going to look at him.' We're going to look at, 'Is he a football player?'
There are ideal sizes and weights and what you want in a position, but you're not going to look at a guy and say, 'He's an inch shorter than what we want, so let's not look at him.' I think there are a lot of key components. For us, our safety has to be able to be a good tackler, he's got to be a great communicator and he also has to be able to cover one‑on‑one at certain times. He also has to be able to have great range and play in the middle of the field because our safeties are interchangeable; we don't just have one safety who is a down safety and one safety who is a high safety, they have to be able to do both.
Q. You mentioned the physicality. Do you find that as the season has gone on the crackdown on defensive penalties has lessened in that regard?
COACH KELLY: No, I think each crew is kind of different in terms of how they do it. I think that's what you normally see. So I don't think you can say, 'There's less now than there was before.' I think that's typical of anybody; I think some crews call more offensive holding and some crews call more defensive holding. That's just kind of the nature as you get to this point in time during the season.
*Q. The Seahawks got roughed up by Kansas City right after DT Brandon Mebane got hurt and it seems like they have gotten things right since then in last couple of games and they have done a good job against the run. Have they changed anything since DT Kevin Williams has replaced Mebane? *
COACH KELLY: No, I don't think scheme wise they have changed anything. Obviously, [Mebane's] a really good football player when you watched him earlier in the year. He was one of the real good defensive linemen in this league, but I think Kevin has done a really good job since he's been in there. Both [Williams] and the other guy, [DT Tony] McDaniel, they are both big, physical guys inside and kind of what you are prototypically looking for this that style of defense: you want two run stoppers in there at the defensive tackles and both those guys can do that.
Q. Is there an advantage in facing Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch a week after you prepared for Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray? You geared up first for the run --
COACH KELLY: No, I think it's different schemes in terms of what they do. I don't think -- Dallas isn't going to run zone-read with [QB] Tony Romo. It's a different type of blocking scheme in terms of what they are doing.
They are both very difficult backs to defend in terms of tackling them, whether it be in the open field or in congested areas, because they are both physical backs. But, it's a totally different scheme and different mindset for our players.
Q. What's the status of RB Chris Polk and TE Trey Burton?
COACH KELLY: They are going to practice today.
Q. Is that why WR Josh Huff got a carry late in the game against Dallas?
COACH KELLY: I'm confused. Because Polk wasn't going to practice today we gave [Huff] a carry last Thursday?
Q. No, was it because they were injured against the Cowboys?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I didn't want to put LeSean back in the game at that point in time. He had been on the bench for a while.
Q. These college rumors will continue to pop up from time to time. Can you speak to your contentment level as an NFL head coach?
COACH KELLY: Our whole mantra around here is, 'Be where your feet are,' and my feet are right here and that's all we ever talk about. I can't control what other people think or other people write. I've never been concerned with it; never will be concerned with it.
I've been happy ‑‑ I've been very, very fortunate in my career, everywhere I've been in my career has been a great situation. I had an unbelievable opportunity when I was at New Hampshire and I loved it there and could have stayed there for the rest of my life.
And then same thing at Oregon. I loved Oregon; I loved those players. They have an opportunity to play for the Pac-12 Championship this Friday night. I loved that group; I loved that coaching staff. I loved being in Oregon; I loved everything about it, but I had an opportunity to come here.
I've been very happy everywhere I've been and I'm happy with being here now. If people are going to have rumors about where you're going to go and all those other things, like I said in a lot of other situations, no one has ever asked me.
Q. You have four games to go here. You guys could make the playoffs and get a first-round bye. You guys could not make the playoffs. When looking at this football team and what they have done so far, what do you think their potential is?
COACH KELLY: I don't think ‑‑ the good thing about it is we don't look at it like that. We have one opportunity this week against Seattle and that's it and that's all we're focused on.
The only thing we learned after we played Dallas last Thursday is that we have an opportunity to play meaningful football in December and it starts right now with the Seattle Seahawks and that's what our focus is on.
Q. You don't have a certain feeling about this football team and the way they have played?
COACH KELLY: I think we are going to have a good Wednesday. That's the feeling I have about this football team.
Q. Aside from the one-game-at-a-time attitude, some players have talked about breaking the season up into four quarters. Is that a message that ‑‑
COACH KELLY: I've never had that. We just ‑‑ I talk about breaking it up into every day, so I've never talked about quarters. I mean, you don't get any awards, do you?
Q. Have you used QB G.J. Kinne at all when you're preparing for the zone-read quarterbacks to just get an athletic guy back there?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, G.J. runs a lot of our scout squad stuff. He's always done that, but not because he's the athletic guy. He gets in there and does what he can do, but he needs to get reps. But [QB Matt] Barkley needs to get reps, too. When you don't have a ton of reps out there, and when you're going to give looks, we need to get those backup quarterbacks in there because Matt has got to get looks in terms of what he needs to get ready for.
If there's similar stuff to what we do offensively and there's a lot of pattern combinations that they run that we run.
Q. What stands out about Seahawks FS Earl Thomas on film? What makes him so good?
COACH KELLY: The first thing you see is his speed because he can line up high and you don't think he's going to be involved and all of a sudden he's on the line of scrimmage making the tackle. I think he's an extremely active player; he's an extremely physical player. You can tell on tape he's an intelligent football player. It's really difficult for people to fool him; people try to look him off, but he always seems to be going in the right spot. I said it the other day, I think he's one of the top safeties in the league right now.
Q. Other than the Wisconsin-Oregon game, what kind of exposure have you had to Seahawks QB Russell Wilson?
COACH KELLY: I spent a day with Russell when he played baseball and came down to play the Eugene Emeralds. He was actually at NC State at the time. He came over and stopped by the football offices. Had a game that night, had just a chance to sit down and meet him as a person. You can't meet a better person. You could tell right away ‑‑ I knew right then, whether he decided he was going to be a football player or baseball player, he was going to be successful in everything he did. There was a maturity about him and there's an air about him that you knew this guy was going to be a successful guy.
Everything that he's done, whether it was at North Carolina State playing baseball, or what he did at Wisconsin in the one year that he was there, or what he's done since he's been in the National Football League, hasn't been a surprise to me.
Q. Could Huff ever be a running back?
COACH KELLY: He was last Thursday. I'll leave on that one. [Laughter]