Philadelphia Eagles News

Quotes: Head Coach Chip Kelly

Q. Why didn't your defense improve during the course of the season?

COACH KELLY:  I think it depends on – I think there are certain things that have improved. I think we did a great job from a run defense standpoint. I do not think we did a good job from an X-play standpoint. It's actually kind of inverse from what it was last year; I thought we were really good in X-plays last year, but we weren't as good as we needed to be from a run game standpoint.

*           Q.  Was the desire to improve the run defense the reason that defensive coordinator Bill Davis used base personnel against 11 personnel?*

COACH KELLY:  I think sometimes when you're looking at those situations it's because people in 11 personnel are running the ball. You know what I mean? So that is kind of the game that goes on within the game. Just because 11 is on the field, doesn't mean it's automatically throw.  You would think that, but that's not always the case. Just like some teams will put 12 on the field, but then throw the ball with 12 on the field just because they're trying to get matchups. It's a thing that goes back and forth from that standpoint.

*           Q.  Have you received the production you wanted from this year's draft class?*

COACH KELLY:  I'll analyze the draft after the whole thing is over with. That's kind of how we do everything from that standpoint and kind of look at it. Sometimes after a year, it's tough to evaluate an entire draft class just because of situations. Guys come in and sometimes you look at draft class and there are guys that are really good at the positions you already have. So, that doesn't mean that guy's not a good football player, it just means that you have some pretty good guys that are already on your roster at that spot.

*           Q.  So the amount of rookies who have not been significant contributors at this point is a product of the depth ahead of them?*

COACH KELLY:  In certain situations, yeah. When you look at it, again, everything we do here is about competition and the best players right now, play. That doesn't mean they're the best players two years from now or three years from now. What did [Packers QB] Aaron Rodgers sit, three years? So when you asked the Green Bay Packers after that first draft did they blow their first‑round draft pick? I don't know about that. You've got to look over the course of time before you can make a judgment on all draft classes. That's how I kind of look at it.

*           Q.  On your bread-and-butter run plays, like the inside-zone read, did teams just figure out better ways to defend that or did you guys--*

COACH KELLY:  No, I don't think we're executing the way we did last year.  But I also think we had the same 16 offensive linemen healthy the entire year. Evan [G Evan Mathis] missed 8‑and‑a‑half games; [C Jason] Kelce missed 4‑and‑a‑half games. When we were breaking down Washington last week, at one point in time we were looking at the tape on our final two drives in the Washington game, and [T/G] Andrew Gardner was a left tackle, Smitty [G/T Wade Smith] was the left guard, [C David] Molk was the center, [G/G] Dennis Kelly was the right guard and [G/T] Todd Herremans was the right tackle.  So we've had a lot of different lineup changes as we've gone through in terms of what's going on up front.  So I think that's a little bit different than what last year was.

*           Q.  A couple of the offensive linemen have been pretty self-critical about their play in the last five or six games during which you've had the same unit out there. What have you seen as the difference in this recent stretch, injuries aside?*

COACH KELLY:  I don't think injury is aside. I mean, if you ask Jason Kelce, he's not the same player he is right now. The kid is a flat out warrior. He had a groin surgery that most people would have been out the season for, and he's come back and played, but Jason's not the same player this year that he was last year.

*           Q.  You told New York Giants reporters on a conference call that Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. was probably your guys' No. 1 receiver in the draft --*

COACH KELLY:  I just said he was mine. I wasn't speaking for the staff. I just said that when I look at Beckham, I mean, I love the guy.  But there are a bunch of guys.

*           Q.  What about him?*

COACH KELLY:  What about him? He's explosive, he's got outstanding hands, he's got great range, outstanding body control, he's a dual‑threat because he's also a tremendous returner, and did it at the college level. I think he could be an inside receiver, [and] he could be an outside receiver. He had everything. He's a guy that I just thought was a real electric player. But a lot of those times there are guys like that that you look at all the time, but there was absolutely no way he was getting to 22 [the Eagles' 2014 first-round draft position], so it was kind of a moot point.

*           Q.  It's interesting that Beckham would be No. 1 on your own personal board, but he wasn't No. 1 on the Eagles' board.*

COACH KELLY:  I wasn't talking about the Eagles' board. So please don't speculate and write a story about what our draft board looks like. The comment was, 'What do you think about him?' I said, 'I loved Odell Beckham. I thought he was great.' But, we didn't have a lot of conversations about [Bills WR] Sammy Watkins, [Buccaneers WR] Mike Evans and Odell Beckham because we knew they were going to go in the Top 10: that's what I'm trying to say.  So please don't run with that one.

*           Q.  It was a loaded draft class with the guys you mentioned, and they're all different types of receivers. How do you differentiate, when you rank a guy or you're considering a player, when they're different types? Do you follow what I'm saying?*

COACH KELLY:  No [I don't follow]. They're all receivers though.

Q.  Sure, but Mike Evans is 6'5", 230 lbs., Odell is 5'11", 198 lbs.  They're different types of receivers.  How do you differentiate them?

COACH KELLY:  By size.  Mike Evans is 6'5", and Odell Beckham is 5'11".

*           Q.  As you're ranking them?*

COACH KELLY:  I don't remember exactly how I ranked them.  I loved Odell Beckham.  I thought he was a great player, and he's showing it right now.  I don't think this is a draft -- where he was slotted and all those other things.  I was just saying when you looked at tape, that cat can play, and I think he's proved it in 11 games with 79 catches and doing a ton of really good things.  So I can tell a really good player, I guess.

*           Q.  Since Nick got hurt and he's been the two, has QB Matt Barkley gotten more of an opportunity with more reps to show you progress?  How has he looked at that stretch?*

COACH KELLY:  Yeah, he has.  Obviously, when Nick's down, then there's more reps to go around.  So Mark jumps into the one spot, and Barks jumps into the two spot.  So I think he's improved from when he's gotten here.  He's in his second year. I don't think he was 100 percent healthy last year. I think he'll be the first to tell you that. I think he's really done a good job of grasping things and improved as a player.  I think he's got a future here.

*           Q.  Any thoughts on DE Fletcher Cox being an alternate for Pro Bowl instead of being named to the team?  Can you speak to the kind of year that he's had?*

COACH KELLY:  Yeah, I was surprised.  I don't know the exact formula and how it was picked.  We're not anybody in this organization, I know players vote and coaches vote, we're not allowed to pick our own players.  But I thought he had a Pro Bowl year.  He's the one guy that when I was handed the results last night so I could call our players, that I was like, 'Wow.'  That was the one that kind of surprised me.  I think he's been our top player.  He's been really unblockable at times. I think he's a very disruptive force.  But sometimes you make the Pro Bowl, I guess, on reputation.  You ask [C] Jason Kelce, and he'll be the first to tell you he played better last year than he played this year, which is obviously true.  He missed four and a half games. Evan Mathis is a second alternate. Evan missed eight games.  We actually put him on IR Designated For Return.  So sometimes I think your reputation goes into it.  But I hope people recognize him and maybe like Kelce, where it's probably a year later than he should have gotten it, Fletcher will get it next year.  But I know he may be our most valuable player overall to be honest with you.

*           Q.  When you looked at the game LB Brandon Graham played last Saturday against Washington, can you see him as being an every-down outside linebacker going forward?*

COACH KELLY:  Yeah, depending on what else we have there.  I think Brandon can be an every-down outside linebacker.  But you also have to look at what's on your roster.  You're not going to sit another guy just because you think this guy should be an every-down [player] because [LB] Trent [Cole's] been a very, very productive player for us, so has [LB] Connor [Barwin].  So I think it really depends.  But put in that situation like he was in the Washington game, I thought he played well, and I thought he can be an every-down player, yeah.

*           Q.  How is LB Trent Cole?*

COACH KELLY:  Trent's good.  Yesterday was a light day.  Today and tomorrow are two big days for him to see what he can do.  But he looked like he was moving around pretty good yesterday.

*           Q.  RB Darren Sproles has been in the league a long time and has never received Pro Bowl honors.  What was that call like with him?*

COACH KELLY:  I was happy for Darren. Really, really happy for Darren. I think Darren was genuinely happy with himself being in the league 11 years and not ever making it, and finally getting the recognition that I think he deserves.  Making those calls last night, that is kind of the fun part of it.  Some of the alternate calls weren't exactly fun, but those calls, I think Darren was really excited about it, and well deserved.  I think you watch how people kick away from us, and people do drastically change things.  That was a huge deal for us in the offseason to really improve our punt return game.  I think he did a great job with that.

*           Q.  He had two touchdown returns and more than that.  After that, what were teams doing differently in the punt game?*

COACH KELLY:  I think people have changed up kick against us a lot.  So the ball is not kicked as far.  Sometimes you can outkick a coverage, and that gives him a chance to get started.  We've seen a lot more changeup punts recently.

*           Q.  What did you see from your team at training yesterday?  Could you tell any difference than any other week?*

COACH KELLY:  I think they understand that they're not going to the playoffs, but one thing we talked about as a group in our team meeting and those guys really kind of live their lives by is they're a bunch of competitors and they want to play.  I don't care who you are.  If you're in this league, there is no better thing than playing football on Sundays.  We get the chance to play one more game on Sunday, and they're entirely focused on what they can control and that is playing the New York Giants and playing really well against a really good team who is on a three‑game winning streak themselves.  So I don't think anybody takes for granted their time in this league, nor should you.  It's a special opportunity.  You dreamed about playing this.  If you're a competitor and you love playing football, you should play on Sunday.  I think that's what I saw yesterday in our training session.

*           Q.  What kind of interaction have you had with QB Nick Foles with his injury, and how do you like his approach of not being able to go in there and watching his team?*

COACH KELLY:  Nick's been great.  You knew it last year when [former Eagles QB] Mike [Vick] was here.  Nick's the ultimate teammate.  I think he's a great supporter.  When he got injured, [Eagles QB] Mark [Sanchez] going into those situations, he's been at every meeting, he's been at every training session.  He's really vocal in meetings, he's vocal in practice.  He has a lot of really good comments when he watches things and observes things.  We were in meetings today and we were talking about a route combination.  He grabbed me and said, 'What about doing this on the back side?' A really valid point.  I think he's been very engaged.  Unfortunately he can't play on Sundays, but he's done everything that a really good teammate does.

*           Q.  How much does him not being able to play in the second half of the season, how does that cloud the decisions that you have to make in the offseason about what your quarterback situation is?*

COACH KELLY:  I don't know.  I mean, we'll sit down and thoroughly evaluate everything.  But it's no different than any other position when you look at it.  You just tell us what we have available right now we'll take a look at it, let's detail it, let's go through the film again, let's put our heads together, let's get everybody's opinion on it and make valid decisions.  I don't think he can look back and say this clouds this, this doesn't cloud this.  It doesn't matter how much it clouds or doesn't cloud.  That's the reality of it. He got hurt, so we have to make decisions moving forward in terms of what we're going to do.

*           Q.  Did you get enough of a feel?*

COACH KELLY:  I guess what I'm saying is it doesn't matter.  Doesn't matter if I can say yes or no.  The reality is the reality.  I can't say, 'Hey, let's not make a decision because I need to see him play 16 more games.' In certain times we're going to have to make decisions, so you have to make it based on what you have.  We don't have any control over the injury.  We can't go back to the Houston game and not get them injured.  So it is what it is.

*           Q.  Do you feel like you know exactly what he is as a quarterback after 18 starts?*

COACH KELLY:  I just haven't evaluated anything.

*           Q.  But you see him every day.*

COACH KELLY:  I know that, but for me to stand here on Wednesday, the day before Christmas, to say I've made my full evaluation of a quarterback, it's not fair to anybody.  We have a process that we go through.  I'll watch every single game, every single throw, every single decision that everybody made in every position before we make legitimate decisions in terms of what we do.  I don't think it's fair to any player or anything to say, 'Yeah, I saw enough.  Let's sit down tonight and make a decision on what we're going to do the rest of the year.'  That's just not the way we do it.  We have a process that we go through and the process takes a while.

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