Q. You said the other day that QB Nick Foles would be able to do more throwing on the side. Has he done that and how has that gone for him?
COACH KELLY: We didn't throw at all yesterday. It was kind of a walk‑through. So, we'll see him throw the ball around a little bit today. Still, the bone is not healed. The biggest thing is, I think Nick can throw -- I don't think you're going to see anything different from him throwing – but he can't have any contact because if he gets hit, he can reinjure it. That's the biggest concern right now.
Q. Will he have follow‑up after this next game?
COACH KELLY: I don't know when the next follow‑up is.
Q. Is LB Trent Cole going to be at practice today?
COACH KELLY: No. Trent is getting surgery today to get a plate, from what I understand. I don't know the exact details of what it is [being] put in his hand. So, he'll be out this week.
Q. Could that enable him to play the next week?
COACH KELLY: All I know is he's getting a plate put in his hand and he's out this week. I don't know anything else.
I think he's in now, so I don't know any information until he gets out of surgery.
Q. What has impressed you the most about LB Brandon Graham now that he is in his second year in this system?
COACH KELLY: I think B.G. has really, really picked up in terms of what we're trying to do. I think it's the same thing with Trent. I think both those guys, having not played outside linebacker, their transition to outside linebacker, you know, it's not, 'Hey, you're going to play outside linebacker,' and you pick it up in one second. There are a lot of nuances to it.
But Brandon can set an edge, Brandon can rush a quarterback. He's doing a better job in pass coverage. We've been really happy with him. I think he's really dedicated himself. I think he has really played better from a special teams standpoint. In every phase we've had an opportunity to get B.G. on the field, I think he's done a really good job. Q. When you look at some of the issues you have been trying to clean up -- whether it's turnovers or red zone efficiency -- do you think that some of those issues were masked early in the season by the return scores that you were able to get? That's not something you can always count on.
COACH KELLY: No. No, it's not something you can count on, but a turnover is a turnover. You don't say, 'We turned it over, but we scored on defense, so it's okay.'
I mean, it's still something that you have to clean up. Every individual group is still kind of their own separate entity. The offense doesn't say, 'Hey, the defense or special teams scored a touchdown, so it's okay, we can turn it over.'
It's something that we need to continue to work on and we need to continue to fix because you're not going to win games when you turn the ball over that many times. You're giving the other team an opportunity and you're also not giving yourself an opportunity.
Q. How much of an unexpected benefit were the return touchdowns earlier this season in terms of providing easier wins or turning games around?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I don't look at it as unexpected benefits. When we got [RB] Darren Sproles, we thought he could be a really good returner for us. We have some really good special teams players for us. You know, we're pleased with where those guys are, but they'll also tell you that they think they should be able to do it every game. We need did continue to have those guys because the strength of our team is our special teams.
Q. When you look at your cornerback play, especially against Green Bay and Dallas, how much of that do you think is linked to the amount of pressure that you guys get on the quarterback?
COACH KELLY: I think it's all related. If you can obviously get the quarterback to get the ball out of his hand quicker, or get him off his spot and make him move, he's obviously not going to be as accurate as possible. So then you don't have to stay in coverage as long.
It's the same thing, but the longer you can stay in coverage, it's more time for the guys to get a rush to the quarterback.
Pass defense isn't just one phase. It isn't just great coverage. It isn't just a great rush. It's a combination of the two all the time.
Q. In the first game against Washington there were six personal fouls between the two teams and two ejections. Is that something you are discussing with the team this week?
COACH KELLY: No, I have not discussed it with them yet, but we still have three more days for meetings. We meet briefly as a team on Tuesday morning to kind of just get the other game put to bed and get ready to go. We have more time to talk about that.
Q. Is controlling their emotions going to be -- COACH KELLY: But that's key in any game. I mean, it's not like it's more important in this game than it was in the last game or the game before that or the game before that. I mean, it's something we always continue to strive and talk to our guys about not doing things that are going to hurt the football team.
Q. In the last two games you have had three‑and‑outs that have really plagued you early in games. What can you do or reemphasize to try to keep that pattern from happening? COACH KELLY: We have to execute better. It's the same thing I said the other day. We need to stay on the field on third down and convert those third downs into first downs. Usually with this offense, once we get one first down, we're in pretty good shape.
But we have got to get that first, first down. That's the key for us in terms of being successful on the offensive side of the ball.
Q. Yesterday, defensive coordinator Bill Davis said he wasn't sure if LB Marcus Smith II projects as an inside or outside linebacker in the long run. Where is Smith in his progression and where do you see him long term?
COACH KELLY: I agree with Billy. I mean, I don't know where his projection is. Our concern is going to play the Washington Redskins. You think long term at different times, but right now we're a man down at linebacker right now. When Marcus is going to be a backup outside linebacker then we're short a guy at inside linebacker. That's the nature of the game at this point in time.I think everybody's dealing with it. I just saw the Giants put their 21st guy on injured reserve for the season. It's kind of the nature of the game and that's what you deal with.
So we're thinking that we need to win football games right now. We're not thinking about, 'Hey for the long‑term development of individual player X, let's just leave him here and play a defensive back at inside linebacker.' That's not our mentality.
Q. So where will he play this weekend? COACH KELLY: He's going to play both. We don't have any other linebackers. We have one backup inside linebacker right now with [Emmanuel] Acho and Casey [Matthews] switching off at that position and there's not another guy because we lost DeMeco [Ryans]. Because we lost Trent for this week, we don't have another one. We have Bryan Braman and him; those are the two backups. So, we'll be a linebacker short in terms of where we're going to be this week.
Q. Will Smith be the first one in on the rotation?
COACH KELLY: It depends on the situation.
Q. Is Braman a guy that you're confident in?
COACH KELLY: Bryan is a guy that's also in the mix there, just like Acho. It really just depends on what Billy is calling and what we're using at that point in time during the game.
Q. What do you know about Smith now that you didn't know at the time you drafted him? What have you learned about him?
COACH KELLY: You know, I think he's got a skill set that he can play in this league. But he needs to continue to develop. The big thing we talk to him about is just the consistency approach in terms of being able to get yourself on the field.
In this league, you have to earn your playing time. Nothing's given to anybody.
Q. With a sample size of 14 games, how has the receiving corps compensated for not having WR DeSean Jackson? COACH KELLY: If you look at our catches, those three receivers already have more catches, from what I've been told, than last year. I think our receiving corps has done a really good job: all three of those guys.
Q. Are you guys using RB LeSean McCoy differently and taking him off the field more in the red zone and using more of RB Chris Polk in the last several games?
COACH KELLY: You mean the two times Chris went in the game? So yeah, the two times Chris got in the game. But LeSean was in there. We only got down there three times. So it's not anything different. Q. What stand out about Washington and what do they do well?
COACH KELLY: I think they're a talented football team. When you look at their players, if you're not aware of where RGIII [QB Robert Griffin III] is, he can hurt you with his legs and his arm. We got to be really sharp in our contain when we rush the quarterback because he's a different element than we've seen except for [Seahawks QB] Russell Wilson and you saw what happened to us.
I thought we did a really good job at times in defending Seattle, and then all of a sudden Russell just extended plays and continued to make things happen.
I think they've got talent. I think [RB] Alfred Morris is one of the better running backs in this league. We have said it all long: he's a handful. He's a great zone runner. He's got great patience. He can run the football. I think their front seven is really, really, really good. [LB] Ryan Kerrigan and [LB Trent] Murphy on the edges of it. Even though they lost [LB Brian] Orakpo, they have Murph. Their two inside linebackers are really good players. They're stout on the defensive line. There's a lot of talent on that football team.
Q. Has it been tough to evaluate Griffin III since he has been in and out of the lineup this year?
COACH KELLY: We're not evaluating him.
Q. When you look at tape or Griffin III, what do you see?
COACH KELLY: I mean, I know he can run and I know he can throw. That's what we're preparing for. We're preparing for the best.
But we don't look at tape and try to evaluate players. We know what they can do. He can run the zone-read play and you better be conscious of the guy coming off the disconnect. It's different than [Dallas QB] Tony Romo; when Tony Romo turns and hands the ball off to [RB] DeMarco Murray, you're not worried about Tony running out the backside.
When RGIII turns and hands the ball off, you better be worried about him running out the backside.
Q. When you watch the film, is Griffin III the same player, athletically, as he's been in the past six or seven years?
COACH KELLY: The past six or seven years? He's only been in the league for two, right?
Q. But also when you saw him back in high school and college.
COACH KELLY: I saw him in high school. I never saw him in college; we never played Baylor.
Is he athletic? Yeah. And if you sleep on that guy, trust me, you guys will be sitting here after the game going, 'Boy, he went for a hundred yards against you, how did that happen?'
That kid is athletic as heck and he can run really, really well. Trust me; we have to understand where he is on every single play.
Q. When Griffin III was drafted, Washington designed their system around him. Now that he is under a new coach and a new system, he has kind of had trouble. If you were to acquire a new quarterback via trade, free agency or the draft, how important is it to look at those things and determine whether he can fit into your system or whether you can change your system around him?
COACH KELLY: When we are evaluating any player at any position, we're looking for players that can play football. I hope our coaching staff is smart enough that when you have a good player, you can find ways for him to be successful.
I mean, you guys all thought I was going to run the zone-read a thousand times with Nick Foles. That didn't happen, right?
Q. Did you know that Merriam-Webster named 'culture' their word of the year. Do you feel like you had anything to do with that?
COACH KELLY: Who? [Laughs] No, I don't. [Laughter] We're getting deep into the questions here.
Q. You have spoken about the roster crunch at some positions. Is putting Foles on injured reserve something to be considered?
COACH KELLY: No, because we really didn't know until yesterday what his status was. We were hoping we were going to get him back. That has never been a discussion with us.
Q. So you are still holding out for the possibility that he could play this year?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I mean, if he can get cleared, he can play. But I don't know if he'll ever get cleared and I am not a doctor. I just go off [the doctors]. We never had any discussions with Nick that we have potential to move him to IR.
Q. How is identifying and attacking the blitz different in an offense that likes to use tempo compared to one that doesn't?
COACH KELLY: I think it's the same exact thing. I don't think there's any difference at all.
Q. What are the keys to doing that well?
COACH KELLY: Same thing. You've got to locate the safeties; figure out the depth of the corners. Where are their eyes? Where is their leverage? What are the tells on the tape? How deep is the middle linebacker? How is the defensive lineman slanted, and is he going to be tighter on the offensive tackle, or is he going to be wider than the offensive tackle? There are a lot of different things that people give you when you look at blitzes, but it's the same whether you're playing fast or you're playing slow. It is still the same look.
Q. Washington has given up the second most sacks in the league. When you look at the tape, are teams bringing an extra man or --
COACH KELLY: I think they've had some struggles just from a personnel standpoint on the offensive line because they've had a lot of injuries. I think sometimes that ends up adding to that. It depends on what group you're going to run out there. I don't think that's different than anybody else in this league. When you start to lose offensive linemen, all of a sudden the success of the offensive line isn't what it was when you had the regular guys in there.
Q. Are defenses adjusting to WR Jordan Matthews since he had that productive stretch of games?
COACH KELLY: No. You watch the tape. We've seen most of the same thing all the time.
I do get a kick out of that question. Everybody says there's an extra guy in the box. If there's one high safety in the middle of the field, that means there's eight guys at the line of scrimmage.
We've had one-high safety, and Dallas played it the entire game. It's the exact same look that we've seen from almost everybody.
Q. It seemed like Seahawks CB Byron Maxwell bodied Jordan Matthews up a little more than other guys and the Cowboys tried to get their coverage near him.
COACH KELLY: Well, if you look at it and say, 'If the defensive back is better in Team A than Team B' – [Cowboys CB] Orlando Scandrick is really good and Maxwell is really good.
Q. There have been games where Scandrick has played outside and it seemed like --
COACH KELLY: Scandrick has been their nickel since we played them.
Q. Yes, in the games you have played the Cowboys, but in some other games, we've seen him on the outside.
COACH KELLY: Scandrick? No. In our games, Scandrick has been the nickel.
Q. But what about in other games? COACH KELLY: Scandrick's been the nickel since they've had some injuries in the secondary. I don't think that was an adjustment going into our game.
Q. What about Maxwell?
COACH KELLY: [CB Jeremy] Lane is their nickel and he's been hurt. He has a glute injury. When Lane is hurt, they bring [CB Tharold] Simon in at corner and they do it. It's not an adjustment because of what we do, it's because of injuries.
It would be the same thing if we had an injury and we had to move [CB Brandon] Boykin out, then you would see another nickel. That's not because we made the adjustment that we wanted to get another nickel in the slot because of a matchup. Look at who the nickels were before those guys were there, and they're hurt now, so now they've moved another guy to nickel.
Q. Can you talk about the nature of this league and the fact that an 11-win team may miss the playoffs this year? There are also teams under .500 that might make it. You are one win better than last year and last year 10 wins did it.
COACH KELLY: Right now we've only got nine wins. I mean, for us to think of questions like that, I mean, that doesn't help us beat Washington. So I don't really think about it.
If we win 11 games and it's not good enough to get in, shame on us because we didn't win the right games. That's the bottom line. That's what this whole deal is all about and we know it going in.
What we can do is control how we prepare for Washington and that's what we're going to do.
Q. This is the first time since the middle of last year that you have lost a couple games in a row. What have you seen from your guys this week? Have you seen any difference in their demeanor?
COACH KELLY: They were great yesterday; they came in here ready to play. That's what I know about this group. They love playing football, they love training for it and they were fantastic yesterday and they're going to be the same today.