Q. Is CB Bradley Fletcher still the starting left corner?
COACH KELLY: We haven't had any meetings on what we're going to do offensively or defensively yet.
Q. You said on the radio this morning that you are planning to start QB Mark Sanchez against the Giants. Is that correct?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, we're not benching Mark. No. He went, what, 37-of-50?
Q. Just in terms of playing another quarterback in a game that does not have playoff implications. Do you want to see what else you have?
COACH KELLY: Let's get that straight. We're going to win the football game. There's no, 'Hey, let's go see what we can do.' Our job is to go up and play the New York Giants and we're going to do everything we can to beat the New York Giants.
Q. Does that mean that QB Nick Foles is not cleared yet?
COACH KELLY: Foles is out this week. Nick cannot play this week.
Q. So this means that you have no intentions to play young rookies?
COACH KELLY: If they warrant playing time, and we've been with these guys since preseason camp, then they'll play. But we are not going to turn around now and say, 'Because you haven't beaten anybody out in the last 15 weeks, we're going to let you play this week.'
Q. Knowing that this is the last game of the season, is there any eying towards the offseason at this point?
COACH KELLY: No. Our sole focus right now is the New York Giants. We don't say, 'Hey, the offseason is coming up, so let's start planning for the offseason;' it's, 'Let's plan for the last game of the season,' which is against New York. It's a good football team that we're going to go play. They've won three straight games.
Q. You talked about all the 'What Ifs' this whole time and now --
COACH KELLY: I didn't talk about any 'What Ifs'.
Q. Well you didn't like to talk about the "What Ifs."
COACH KELLY: And why should I talk about 'What Ifs?'
Q. Now that you know you guys are out of the playoffs, how does it feel?
COACH KELLY: It means we've got to go play the New York Giants. Hopefully we can get 10 wins here. That's what our focus is on right now.
Q. Did you watch the Dallas game on Sunday?
COACH KELLY: No, I didn't. I was here and then flipped to it and it was 28‑0. Obviously, I got there at halftime and there wasn't really much left for the second half.
Q. What's the upside of not playing some of the younger players at least to get evaluations on tape? COACH KELLY: The upside is we're going to go win a football game and that's what this whole organization is all about. It's not about trying to see what the future is. It's about we got a game.
I would not be fair in any of my beliefs and I would not be fair to any football player right now if I said to some guy, 'Hey, I know you're a better player, but I'm going to play a younger guy now.' That's not what we're all about. If you want to go do that, go somewhere else. That's not us. We get a chance to go put the ball on the ground, we're going to go play football; that's what we're going to do.
Q. But the organization has done that before --
COACH KELLY: I wasn't here before. In the two years I've been here, we're going to go play football. In the two years I've been here, we're going to go play football. That's the message from the owner to me. That's what we're going to do. If it wasn't like that, I wouldn't be here.
Q. Now that Foles' season is complete, how would you evaluate what you saw from him this year?
COACH KELLY: I'll go back. That's what the offseason is for. I haven't sat down and gone through every throw, every situation, every decision, all those things, at this point in time. I can't give you a real good answer on that one right now.
Q. In hindsight of everything that's occurred, do you think you made a mistake in releasing WR DeSean Jackson?
COACH KELLY: No. We feel confident in what we did. He played real well against us. Give him credit. He's a good football player. But, no, I don't.
Q. A lot of these guys have never been in this position, and you haven't either in a long time, where a game technically doesn't mean anything as far as advancing.
COACH KELLY: A lot of these guys were 4‑12 two years ago.
Q. But a lot of these guys weren't on that team. More than half the team wasn't here in 2012. For the guys who have not been in this position, is it difficult to get into the mentality that this game is as big as any other game?
COACH KELLY: I don't know. I haven't met with our players yet. We'll be back tomorrow morning. I don't anticipate it with this group, though.
Q. Defensive coordinator Bill Davis said after the game that he thought Bradley Fletcher was maybe having a crisis of confidence and was lacking confidence. Looking back going into the game, could you have played another player and did you think about starting someone else at that position?
COACH KELLY: No, we did not. I didn't see that during training during the week. Did not see that at all.
Q. Does Davis have final say on defensive personnel?
COACH KELLY: No.
Q. So if he wanted to make a change, he'd have to go to you?
COACH KELLY: Yeah.
Q. So it is ultimately your decision to stick with Bradley Fletcher every week?
COACH KELLY: Yeah. Every decision on who plays ultimately comes down to me. I don't just turn around and go, 'Hey, how come that guy is in the game?' I know what is going on.
Q. Did he approach you about wanting to make a change?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, we talk about it. We talked during the game: 'Want to make a switch there?' I was confident in what he was doing. I don't look out there and go, 'Wow, how come that guy is in the game? I didn't even know he was going to play today.'
We discuss all week long. We spend a lot of time on what our personnel is going to be and what's going to happen.
Q. What about is it about Fletcher that made him a better option than CB Nolan Carroll II?
COACH KELLY: I think Bradley has played well during the year. You talk about how he got beat a couple times by [Cowboys WR] Dez Bryant, but on Thanksgiving he didn't get beat by Dez Bryant; he actually played well in that game.
So, you have to look at it through the whole time. I think there have been times where he has played really good football for us.
Q. What showed up that made you think he might have lost his confidence?
COACH KELLY: I just think you get to that point and you get beat twice, and so you go see if we can get someone else in there that can see what he can do for us at that point in time.
Q. So if you still feel he's not confident then why would you --
COACH KELLY: We haven't made any decisions about that. For me to speculate on any further decisions -- we haven't talked about that. We have the same set schedule that we use every single week in terms of what direction we're headed in, where we're going to go, got to get an update on injuries, who is in, who is out, all those other things.
Q. Did Bill Davis switch the coverage up to help Carroll over the top a little more?
COACH KELLY: No, we were in man‑free coverage. It just depends on where the free safety has to get. On one play the tight end was matched up on [LB] Connor Barwin and was running down the middle of the field. We leaned a little bit more to that. One time because of how the route combination expressed itself, Nate [S Nate Allen] got over the top because that is what a free safety is supposed to do when the ball is in the air.
But, when you're in man‑free, there's only one deep safety. It's just depends on how the routes they run express themselves.
Q. Is there one common denominator that you can identify as the reason for the three‑game losing streak?
COACH KELLY: I wish there was. Then it would be easy to attack. I think there are a lot of different combinations. That's what makes it a little frustrating and a little bit difficult.
Q. Are you surprised the turnover issues haven't resolved themselves?
COACH KELLY: Yeah. We have focused on them, but we've still turned it over. That's what good teams don't do. A year ago we had 19 and right now we have 35. I think there's a big difference in that.
Q. How do you get past that? COACH KELLY: We've got to continue to make good decisions, we've got to continue to make sure we understand the game plan, we've got to continue to work on the fundamentals of the game that allow you to not put the ball in harm's way.
Q. Of those turnovers, 26 have come from the quarterbacks. Have you received enough production from that spot this season?
COACH KELLY: I don't know. Again, it's the second question about our full evaluations. We're getting ready to play the New York Giants. We've got a ton of time in January, February and March here to make decisions based on what we need to do at any position on this team.
Q. Both you and Bill Davis left open the chance that LB Marcus Smith II could play, but he didn't end up playing any snaps on defense. What went into that decision? COACH KELLY: We felt confident in the guys who were playing at that point in time.
Q. You've been asked a lot about sports science stuff. In recent weeks do you still feel your team has been the fresher team? COACH KELLY: Yeah. We won time of possession the other day. I mean, that's a big stat, right? We get that question all the time. So we won the time of possession. I don't think our team wasn't fresh, I just think we just made mistakes. We had 13 penalties, two turnovers, and two missed field goals. I can look at that. But I don't think our team's not fresh.
Q. After the game you mentioned TE Zach Ertz's matchup with Washington. He had only played 46 percent of the snaps going into that game. Why has it taken him so long to get that type of--
COACH KELLY: It depends on who you're playing. Look at the Seattle linebackers compared to -- you know what I mean? It's always a matchup game. It's really what you're looking at. Really, from an injury standpoint, Washington was really banged up at inside linebacker and safety. Those are the guys that are -- We spent a lot more time in 12 personnel in that game than we have in any game, but it's because we wanted to keep those guys on the field.
Q. K Cody Parkey said last month that he had never kicked this much in his entire career. Do you think that had any effect on the groin and perhaps the two misses on Saturday?
COACH KELLY: No, I don't. I mean, he was cleared and actually started kicking again this week. I don't think that had any effect on him at all.
Q. Marcus Smith, obviously, has been practicing inside linebacker for two months now. Was that part of the reason why you didn't put him in at outside linebacker, because he hasn't played there?
COACH KELLY: No. It's just based on what we see during the week in practice and are we going to put ourselves in a good situation for us to be productive when they're out there.
Q. What do you see from Marcus during the week?
COACH KELLY: I see a guy who is inconsistent at times. I think he's got a good skill set, can run around and make plays, but he's not consistent enough to earn playing time over the guys that are playing.
For me to say to [LB] Brandon Graham, 'Brandon, I'm going to have you sit down,' -- there's a guy who has done an unbelievable job when he's been presented with a situation. He's improved as a special teams player, he's improved as an outside linebacker. He has been a great asset to our football team this year.
Marcus needs to continue to show us those things. But you earn playing time here. You're not just awarded playing time based on how you came into here because that's not the way we operate. It's not fair to anybody else. 'Hey, I know you're playing really well, I know you're doing everything we are asking you to do in practice, but I'm going to give this other guy a chance even though he's not doing anything better than you're doing.'
It's always based on how well you train to earn your playing time. It's entirely up to you.
Q. Why isn't Marcus Smith getting it?
COACH KELLY: I don't know. I just think we have better players at that position right now. It's not that he's not getting it. He's not playing better than [LB] Trent [Cole] or Brandon or [LB] Connor Barwin so that you want to take those guys out of the game to put someone else in the game.
Q. You mentioned the 13 penalties, leads to 110 this year, which means to the most in the league. How do you get past that?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I mean, we had roughing the passer which we hadn't had. It's almost a different theme it seems like in terms of each week. We had more holding penalties in this game than we've had against anybody we've played so far.
It's an individual thing but we have to clean it up. You're not going to be a good football team when you're turning the ball over and having penalties like we are.
Q. You've had a lot of success in your career with outside of the box thinking. You haven't gone into full‑season evaluation mode, but is it your sense as of now that there's things you need to alter in terms of your own approach?
COACH KELLY: I'm lost on that.
Q. With regard to the tempo of the offense?
COACH KELLY: No, I think our offense is one of the most productive in the National Football League. You can look at it statistically. I don't look at what we're doing from an offensive standpoint as a reason we're doing what we're doing in terms of us not being successful in certain situations.
Q. You guys are going to finish with a 9‑7 or 10‑6 record, a winning record. A team is going to have a home game and make the playoffs with a losing record. Do you think there should be a reform? COACH KELLY: Should we move to the south so we can get in a different division?
No, that's just the rules. People that complain about rules that are already in existence...
We didn't do enough. We didn't win enough games against the right opponents to put ourselves in the playoffs. We knew the rules of engagement before the season started. To sit here after it is over and say, 'Let's change the rules so this can happen,' that's just the way it is. There may be a year where we're in a situation where we're not in great shape and we win our division and we get a chance to go. People said it about Seattle a couple years ago, and then Seattle won their wild card game.
It's still about winning each week and doing what you're supposed to do. We already knew the rules before the season started. That's the way it expressed itself. We didn't do enough to win to get ourselves in the playoffs. That's on us. That's not on anybody else, or what the structure of setup is.
Q. Is CB Jaylen Watkins in the same boat as Marcus Smith as far as consistency at practice?
COACH KELLY: They all are. Anybody that is on this football team earns their playing time. So it's been the bottom line since I got here and it will always be that way. It's not, 'Hey, you came in, so let's take a look at you.' I can sign you, say, 'Hey, go out there.'
That's not fair to the rest of the players. You can't tell them to go out there and compete every day, even though they are competing and they are playing better than the guy next to them, but the guy next to them is going to play just for what?
Just not the way we're going to operate.
Q. How is the team affected when you have guys dressed who can't get in anywhere on special teams?
COACH KELLY: I think they understand it. You have to earn your playing time. I think they'd be more affected if a guy that wasn't earning his playing time was getting playing time. I know I wouldn't want to be in that situation. Q. Can you talk about personally for you, you measure improvement with one more win or a win in the playoffs? This team will finish around the same as last season and will be out of the playoffs. Is that personally disappointing?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, anytime you don't make the playoffs in the National Football League it's disappointing. Not happy with the situation we're in right now. We just can't sit here and feel sorry for yourselves. That's not what this group I'm around will do, and I know that. I think we're going to go back out there and we're going to train really hard and we're going to get ready to play one last game against New York.
Q. Anything you can compare this to during your years of coaching -- an ending so sudden and disappointing?
COACH KELLY: Every ending is sudden and disappointing unless you win the championship. I lost the national championship on a field goal at the end of the game. That was sudden. That was really disappointing.
I mean, anytime you don't get to the ultimate goal, that's the way you feel, whether you were close or far or whatever. I think it's always that way.
And in this league, there's going to be one happy team when this whole season's over. I don't know who it's going to be. Last year it was Seattle. It's the same exact thing.
It's no different than that gut‑wrenching feeling than you had when you walked off the field when you played the New Orleans Saints and we lost the playoff game to them.
Q. A few weeks ago, you are sitting at 9‑3, everything is going well, you're rolling on both sides of the ball. Since then, you haven't been able to win a game. It's quite a contrast that you don't see a lot. We're trying to get some insight on your thoughts of why such a turnaround so quick.
COACH KELLY: My thoughts are it's gut‑wrenching. That's what I was just trying to explain. Whether we lose in the playoff game or whether we lost in this fashion, they're both gut‑wrenching situations. We're extremely disappointed. We're frustrated. We understand that.
But we still have to play one more football game. We're not going to say, 'Hey, New York, let's not worry about that.' They're not like that. They've won their last three straight. They're going to be ready to play, we're going to be ready to play on Sunday.
Q. What has been your assessment on T Lane Johnson? It seems like Johnson rebounded in the second half.
COACH KELLY: I think Lane has gotten better. I think Lane had a tough matchup on Saturday. [Washington LB Ryan] Kerrigan is a really good football player. It's one of those deals where he got Lane and sometimes Lane is going to get him. That's what goes on in this league. A lot of times it comes down to individual matchups and how you continue to progress.
The one thing about Lane is Lane is going to fight you, Lane is going to battle. You do have a good point, is I do think he bounced back and played well after giving up a couple early ones.
Q. What kind of game and season has T Jason Peters had?
COACH KELLY: I think J.P. has had a good year. I think he's been the one steady guy for us all year long. He's the only guy that's been in the lineup for all 16 games. He's really kind of just been that guy that we can kind of count on him.
That's just the type of player he is in terms of he's always going to be there for you. He played in every game last year, played in every game last year. He's the only offensive lineman to get through it all. But I think that says a little bit to him. He's had a really good year.
Q. After next week, the projected starting line in the preseason wouldn't have been together at all this season. How much do you think that affects what is going on?
COACH KELLY: I mean, I think I'm getting end‑of‑the‑year type questions. I'm not looking back at anything right now.
We're getting ready to play New York. All five of those guys made it through the game, so I'm encouraged unless something happens between now and the end of the week that the same five guys that played the last couple of games are going to get an opportunity to go back and play again.
Q. If you ultimately decided to go with Fletcher, would you feel confident having him go up against New York WR Odell Beckham Jr.?
COACH KELLY: We haven't talked about any of that, so...
Q. I was just looking ahead to next game.
COACH KELLY: Was that like a [sarcastic] comment?
I just told you before, we haven't done anything game-plan‑wise. We thought about him but we haven't done any game planning to say what we're going to do with him.
Q. Do you feel the team is still pointed in the right direction despite the setbacks this year?
COACH KELLY: I like our attitude. I like our mindset. I like what the players are like in the locker room in terms of what we got to get accomplished. We don't like the situation we're in right now in terms of losing three games.
There's a core group of guys in there that really love playing football, that will continue to battle and play. Sometimes the ball bounces your way. You always kind of forget about the close ones you win and don't think about how close they were. When we lose the ones that we've lost, like the one on Saturday, you continue to go back and harp on all those things that didn't help you win that football game, and rightly so.
But I like the attitude and the direction those guys are heading in.
Q. What is your message to the players in the team meeting?
COACH KELLY: Same thing I just said to you. We have one more football game to play and we're going to go play it. It's about preparing to go play tin New York. We've got one more shot at this. There's not a lot of people that get the opportunity to play football in the National Football League. We better relish that opportunity that we have to go back out there on Sunday and compete.