Q. Should we assume that you have not spoken with head athletic trainer Chris Peduzzi?
COACH KELLY: No, I have spoken to him. Nick [QB Nick Foles] is not healed. He's out this week. Bone is not healed, so he will be out. We will move forward without him. He's going to start throwing a little bit more, but he's out right now.
Q. Is everything still normal as far as what you said last time regarding the normal healing timetable?
COACH KELLY: I don't know what normal is. I know he's not cleared. That's the only thing they just told me right now. He's not cleared and he will not play this week.
Q. Did they tell if there is a possibility that he can return --
COACH KELLY: One more time. They told me he's not cleared and he will not play this week, as I was just walking out the door. So I didn't have a long sit down. I usually have that after. I tried to get you guys the information before.
Q. Is this a trend?
COACH KELLY: No. They just saw me right there and I just asked them what the status was. They said it's not healed, fully healed. Until he gets fully healed, he's not going to be able to play with it and they think he'll be able to throw a little bit more this week, but we can't have anything or anyone near him from a contact standpoint.
Q. Did you get a chance to look at that opening kickoff and talk to special teams coordinator Dave Fipp about what happened?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, the up back should have taken it. We were on the 10 and the ball landed on the 15. Josh [WR Josh Huff] was too deep for him to field the kick. I think what he thought was that the ball got hit ‑‑ looked like it came off his foot pretty good, but looked like it got held up by the wind.
Q. Is Huff supposed to communicate that to WR Brad Smith?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, the two of them are and I think Brad is an experienced guy. That's why we have Brad in that situation, in case it's a short kick so he can field it.
Q. What did you see from QB Mark Sanchez when you watched the film? COACH KELLY: Like most people, I saw good and bad. I saw some of the throws -- the throw to Mac' [WR Jeremy Maclin] for the long run was a real big-time throw. There were a couple throws on the sideline that I thought he made, but then there were some other throws, the throw to [TE Zach] Ertz that he missed, the throw to [TE Brent] Celek that he missed. So I saw some good and some bad.
Q. Have you gotten good enough quarterbacking to win the last two weeks?
COACH KELLY: I think so, but I think overall the entire team, that's probably been the one thing. There's been good and bad at every position, and I think we have to be more consistent overall and Mark will be the first to tell you that, and I think everybody else here will tell you that. When we are not successful, we own it, and I think we own it as a group right now.
We dug ourselves a real big hole yesterday down 21, but then came back to go up 24‑21 and then couldn't sustain it.
Q. Has Sanchez been able to stretch defenses vertically the way you want?
COACH KELLY: Well, I think people are playing us a lot deeper than they did last year. That's very evident. I don't think anybody really lets us get behind them anymore. People are playing coverage from the top down, as opposed to last year; we saw a lot more press-man last year.
We are not going to force things in terms of trying to throw the ball deep over the top if they are not going to allow you to run over the top.
Q. As opposed to six weeks ago when ‑‑
COACH KELLY: I think it's changed since then, too. Some of the things that Jeremy Maclin has done -- and he's had an outstanding year for us, I don't know his numbers [exactly], high 70s and whatever -- he was running post right by people and we're not seeing that anymore. If you watch the tape, the safeties are a lot deeper and people are playing a little bit deeper on us now. Q. You only ran 53 plays last night and 45 last week against Seattle. Is that a byproduct of the offense's struggles or is it what defenses are to doing you?
COACH KELLY: No, I think we have to convert on third down. I think it's both ways. We have to stop them on third down and we have to convert on third down, and we are not doing a good enough job of it in both phases of the game, offensively and defensively. And that's why the numbers – I mean, if you convert you're going to stay on the field, which is what their offenses are doing to us and we are not converting right now in the last two games on third down, so we are not staying on the field.
Q. How is the team's confidence right now?
COACH KELLY: I think they know what the task is at hand. We've got no wiggle room in one direction or another and our focus should be on Washington. But I haven't been around a lot of them today; some guys are kicking around now for treatment, but we'll meet again tomorrow morning at 8:30 and get going.
Q. C Jason Kelce mentioned after the game that the Cowboys were doing some things from a run defense standpoint that you had not seen ‑‑
COACH KELLY: No. I mean, they played a three-technique wider, or a little bit wider as a four-technique, but that was about it, and they slanted a little bit. They didn't play -- we thought they would play a little bit more Bear, [but] they didn't; they actually were a little lighter in the box than they were in the last game.
Q. RB LeSean McCoy said he thought there was an extra safety down more in the box ‑‑
COACH KELLY: They had one high safety in the middle of the field and we've seen that, as I said before, 79 percent of the time, last year 78 percent of the time. This year it's pretty par for the course in terms of that. Q. What were some of the issues up front in terms of getting the running game going?
COACH KELLY: There was some movement things. They slanted a little bit up front, getting going from that standpoint.
I think the wide edge, they tried to keep the ball inside, which obviously we tried to run the ball inside. Just some movements and some one‑on‑one battles up front.
Q. How do you balance the play calling when you get down early? How do you incorporate McCoy or the running game in general and wanting to be balanced and keep running the ball?
COACH KELLY: I think we still kind of stuck with it because it was early. But the game wasn't out of hand and we actually got back up 24‑21. But in that one drive we ran it in on three plays, on the drive we went to go up, so I think we were balanced at that point in time.
But then you start to get into the ‑‑ it got to 28 and then to 35, and now you're down 11 and it really turns into more of a throwing game. So I think we balanced it early.
Q. Why do the third-down situations continue to be a problem 14 games into the season? COACH KELLY: On what, offense or defense?
COACH KELLY: Same thing. I think we have gotten them into third‑and‑longs and usually I think that's where statistically it's tougher to convert on third‑and‑long than it is on third‑and‑short. But we've got to do a better job, and I think the interesting thing is you think [that] third downs killed us, [but] they were 4-for-4 on their first third downs and then they were 1-for-9 the rest of the time. Early it was just one of those deals, and you give them credit for making that, we doubled Dez [WR Dez Bryant] early a lot in that game and then [TE Jason] Witten hurt us, and then going to help on Witten, but then they go find Dez. I think it's because they had weapons outside, inside and then in the running game, it makes it difficult when you go against a good team like that.
Q. Did defensive coordinator Bill Davis move CB Cary Williams over to the other side to cover Bryant?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, at the end of the game to try to make a switch, because we still had to cover the tight end and we weren't doubling at that point.
Q. Knowing that he made that move, will there be further moves in the starting rotation?
COACH KELLY: No. There will be no further moves in the starting rotation.
Q. On Bryant's third touchdown, it was third-and-7, was that a situation ‑‑
COACH KELLY: We were in man-free. We were in man-free. We actually brought a five‑man rush, so everybody was in single coverage with the free safety in the middle of the field.
Q. You've spoken of self‑inflicted wounds, turnovers and penalties. Are these fundamental issues that the players are doing?
COACH KELLY: I think you have to look at each of the turnovers [individually]. Obviously, the opening kickoff was just different. Brent Celek, I don't think he has a fumble since I've been here: this may be his first one.
So when you kind of go through it, you look at each individual turnover in terms of how that affected you. So if it was a fundamental issue ‑‑ but I think it's fundamentals we work on. You look at Duce [running backs coach Duce Staley], you guys are here everyday at practice, in terms of what he does with the running backs. There's a ball security station every single day out there. We harp on it, we talk about it, but we are continuing to do that.
And then in the penalty situation, we just have to understand, and rightly so, in terms of how they are going to call the game. I think the difference is some groups call it one way, some groups call it another. Sometimes you can get away with a lot of things [and] sometimes you can't get away with a lot of things. You have got to get that feel once the game is going on.
Q. Sanchez has nine interceptions now in seven games. Do they seem to be of a general theme, trying to do too much or just missing guys? COACH KELLY: No, I don't think there's a general theme to them. That's why I think it's hard to put your finger on. There's been some ‑‑ a couple of them were tips that went through our hands first. We didn't catch the ball right. Sometimes we're just off a hair. The ball he threw to [TE Zach] Ertz, he puts that ball six inches to the inside it's a catch and run, and we convert on the third down. And tips and overthrows are always going to be part of your deal when you're talking to the quarterbacks about protecting the football, but there has not been a recurring theme in terms of the interceptions that he's thrown.
Q. Are defenses playing WR Jordan Matthews any differently following his string of big games?
COACH KELLY: No, we just saw a little bit more man, and that's a match up. [CB Orlando] Scandrick is their nickel and does a good job of it. They didn't play a little bit more man-free, they played us about the same amount that they played us in the last game. Scandrick is a good player.
Q. Your run defense held Dallas RB DeMarco Murray under three yards per carry. Is that a byproduct of the talent up front or is it the scheme, is it ‑‑
COACH KELLY: I think it's both. I think we are very talented in the defensive line and I think those guys are playing very, very well. They have done it consistently for 14 games now.
But also it's the same token, if you are going to load up, then you're going to be a little bit lighter in the back end. And then you have to be able to make the quarterback pay from that standpoint in terms of getting a rush home, making sure that he can disrupt him a little bit and then we have to be a little bit closer in coverage.
Q. Is that a general philosophy with you in terms of the defensive scheme? Do you want a scheme that's going to first stop the run ‑‑
COACH KELLY: No. Depends who you're playing. If you're playing a team that throws it all the time, that's probably not a good plan. I mean, this team going into it, DeMarco Murray was there, he had 40 touches the week before, and DeMarco Murray was ‑‑ had been their team. We did a good job on Thanksgiving in the run game.
But I think the difference in this game is Tony [QB Tony Romo] played so much better in this game than he did in the last game.
Q. How much leeway does Bill Davis have in terms of adjusting within the scheme that you want here ‑‑ COACH KELLY: I'm confused.
Q. He ran a different scheme with the Arizona Cardinals, and I'm wondering ‑‑
COACH KELLY: He ran a different scheme with the Cardinals based on personnel. Everything we do is based on personnel. So what do we have available to us and what are we going to do? So that's ‑‑
Q. But when you got here you didn't have specifically two‑gap and 3-4 personnel.
COACH KELLY: In your opinion? Is Fletcher Cox not a good two‑gap, three-personnel? Is [DE] Cedric Thornton not a two‑gap? [DT] Bennie Logan? I mean, I disagree with that.
Q. I mean LB Brandon Graham, DE Vinny Curry and LB Trent Cole ‑‑ COACH KELLY: I think those guys have done a really good job.
Q. Back in training camp, you guys had said that CB Nolan Carroll was competing for a starting job at the outside corner position. What's holding him back?
COACH KELLY: When he got injured a little bit, missed some time and then we started to get settled in. He's such a valuable person for us in our dime personnel in terms of what we are doing there and we are in a lot more dime than we are in nickel now because of the loss of DeMeco [LB DeMeco Ryans].
So we are kind of down to a one-linebacker set in terms of most of our passing situations. So we really, and we said it before, just like we consider [CB Brandon] Boykin a starter, we consider Nolan a starter because of how much we are in that scheme.
Q. You say you can only control what you can control and you talk about your teams' short‑term memory, but can you talk about the mental challenge of losing two straight? You haven't done that since last October, and they know what's in front of them and they know you lost control of your own destiny, so how do you get these guys to ‑‑
COACH KELLY: We only get to play one game. So that's ‑‑ I mean, you're just wasting energy if you're thinking about anything else except for Washington. I think that's our job as coaches, to make sure that they really, truly understand that. But I don't worry about this group from that standpoint.
So if we don't beat Washington, then there are no scenarios that really can be played out in anybody's head. And I don't know if playing a scenario out in your head makes you feel better or whatever; I don't know how that helps you. It's about [the] one thing we can do and [that's] go out and play against Washington on Saturday.
Q. As you and the coaches put the game plan together this week, what are you accounting for with Washington's quarterback situation? Are you expecting Robert Griffin III?
COACH KELLY: I don't know. Until you get some updates in terms of what happened with Colt [QB Colt McCoy]; I think they like Colt. Obviously, Pat [Eagles offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur] coached Colt in Cleveland. I know Colt from when he played in college. He's a hell of a quarterback. We'll just see as it gets updated and then really as you break the games down, how much do they change offensively from Colt and RG3 when they are in there? I think Billy will be ready accordingly depending on who the quarterback is.
Q. How much of a factor is the attrition of your roster? You've lost some important guys this season. You lost Foles for a while, you lost Ryans, you lost Kelce and G Evan Mathis for a while. How big of a factor has that been, if any, this season?
COACH KELLY: I think it's a factor for everybody. Washington's got injuries. Everybody at this point in time -- Arizona has injuries. That's just the nature of this league when you only have 46 guys active on game day out of a 53‑man roster, you're going to lose players.
We played Washington early in the season and a lot of those – [LB Brian] Orakpo isn't there anymore. It's just part of the deal and you have to be prepared for it at this level. If you can sustain handling those things, then you have a chance to be successful.
Q. Last week you said you thought that the team understood the stakes of this game you just played, yet you're down 21‑0 early in the second quarter. Do you think your play reflected that?
COACH KELLY: No, I don't think ‑‑ I think, and I said that our effort was always there. I don't think our team came out flat. I don't think our team didn't play with energy. We didn't execute. And if they didn't have effort and they didn't have energy, we wouldn't have gotten back to be up 24‑21. But it's about sustaining and it's about eliminating the mistakes and not putting yourselves in harm's way.
So we are up 24‑21 and then they go on a long drive to score, we have to go out and respond offensively and then we turn the football over. So it's more self‑inflicted things, but I don't think it was anything about our guys not being ready and not understanding what the stakes and the game were all about.
Q. What have you seen from CB Bradley Fletcher that gives you confidence to keep him in there?
COACH KELLY: I've seen Fletch compete. I think he gives you everything he has and the one thing I like about Fletch is that he's going to compete out there. He made a bad turn once on the ball. The other ball, I think if you look at it really, it was a perfect football thrown by Tony and a great route run by Dez, and getting matched up with one of the best in the league: a big, tall, physical receiver and that's a tough matchup for anybody. But we still have confidence in Bradley and he's going to be our corner this Saturday.
Q. You were able to convert in the red zone with RBs Chris Polk and Darren Sproles. Was it specifically them or was it the plays and blocking? COACH KELLY: No, I think it's the scheme. I think any time you look at one person and say, 'Was it that person?' -- I think both of those plays, I don't think either of them got touched.
So I would say that the offensive line did an outstanding job on both of those plays. Obviously those guys ran it where it was supposed to be run, but I wouldn't read anything more into that.
I think if you watched the one play that Sproles ran in, it was a hell of a block by LeSean as the lead guy taking out the safety.
Q. What goes into the decision of whether you accept or defer the coin toss? You've had various ‑‑ COACH KELLY: A lot of times, it's weather, kind of seeing where you are, how their kicker is, what you anticipate what the outcome of the kickoff is going to be, but most of the time we are concerned with the weather is the big factor for that: is there wind, do you need the wind, can you kick with the wind, can you pin them down there? There's a lot of different variables.
Q. What is it about Polk's skill set that makes you like him at the goal line and makes him effective down there?
COACH KELLY: I think he's got great vision and he's a tough, hard, physical runner.
Q. You've talked about the number of X-plays. Do you need to give the cornerbacks more safety help against some of the big-time receivers like Bryant?
COACH KELLY: We have. It's kind of picking your poison. As I said, early in the first half I think most of Billy's calls, if you watch the tape, were doubling Dez and then Witten was killing us on third down. You can choose what you want, but it's still about stopping them and getting them off the field.
Some of Billy's decisions, and I agreed with his decisions, were, 'Now the tight end is killing us, so now we have to help somewhere else.' But then they come back and they found Dez.
Q. Was there a noticeable difference that Romo looked more mobile in the pocket in this game?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, obviously he had an outstanding game. I think he's a hell of a quarterback and there's a reason that they are that successful and they are not a one‑person team. It's not just DeMarco Murray. He obviously played a lot better in this game than he did in the first game and that was evident. You look at just the production they had in the throwing game yesterday as compared to Thanksgiving.
Q. Did your defense get tired at all in the second half? After you guys took the lead in the third quarter, Dallas drove for a touchdown and I know Murray had a big run and Bryant had a big catch. Did you see anything?
COACH KELLY: No, I thought our effort -- those guys have been out there, they have been out there in games for a lot longer snaps than that. So I thought our effort from our defense was really good.
Q. In which areas do you point to scheme as opposed to execution and personnel? Which areas do you point to for scheme as a reason why you guys lost yesterday?
COACH KELLY: I don't think I pointed to any of that.
Q. I'm asking how much you put on scheme and game plan, versus personnel and execution?
COACH KELLY: Again, I'm confused with your question.
Q. The game plan, how much do you think is responsible for the loss on Sunday night?
COACH KELLY: I think the game plan is responsible for everything, but you've got to give them credit, too. We doubled Dez Bryant, they find Witten. Then we have to make the adjustment and go to Witten, and then they find Dez Bryant. You can't double everybody in those situations and still be good in the run game.
Q. How is Trent Cole?
COACH KELLY: I haven't gotten an update on Trent yet. I just got [a quick word] with Duzz [Peduzzi] right there. I have not gotten an update on Trent yet. I'll get that afterwards.
Q. On Bryant's third touchdown, it looked like the safety had a chance to make a hit as the catch was being completed. Do you feel like there could have been a chance to make a play there?
COACH KELLY: I didn't think -- when you look at the coach's tape, he was getting over there, but it was a perfectly thrown ball pinned on the sideline and he was right in the middle of the field when the ball was snapped. Pretty good timing throw by Tony in that situation.
Q. Were you satisfied with the explanations from the officials on a couple of potential intentional grounding penalties? This is the second week in a row there's been ‑‑ are you getting any clarification?
COACH KELLY: Next question. That one didn't count [towards the last two of the press conference]. Don't count that one. [Laughter]
Q. It seems like teams are trying to take the deep ball away from you guys by playing back. Do you presume that's based solely on the stats and what you guys do, or do you think it's predicated at all on who your quarterback is and what Sanchez's strengths and weaknesses are?
COACH KELLY: I think a lot of has to do with Mac' and the way Mac' is playing right now. You look at some of the balls he's done, when he's run by people and blown the lid off the top of the coverage, I just don't think we are getting that right now. A lot of time it's predicated on him. As I said, the first ball that Mark ever threw here, he came in the game and dropped a post right over the top in stride to him and then all of a sudden people started backing up a little bit.
Q. So in that situation, you're just naturally not going to take as many deep shots to keep the defense honest?
COACH KELLY: I don't know how you're keeping them honest if they are already back there.
Q. Well, in this new school of thought that you just trust your personnel to make a play?
COACH KELLY: You watch the tape and tell me how deep the free safety for the Cowboys played. He was pretty deep, you know what I mean? I just think if you're going back there and just saying, 'Hey, let's wing it,' and if you question ‑‑ if anybody questions Mark's arm strength, go to the preseason game against the Bears when he threw it 70 yards into the end zone at the end of the first half. So I don't think that's a question in terms of, 'Can he throw the ball down the field?' and I don't think people are defending that and saying, 'Hey, try to throw down the field.' When they are going to do that, they are going to play press-man across the board and play similar to what an Arizona does when they are no deep, no blitz, and then give you an opportunity to do that.
We are not getting that right now. I would love if someone would play us like that so we could throw it up. We like to go over the top. We like to score on one play as opposed to 10 plays, but we are not getting those looks right now.