Philadelphia Eagles News

Quotes: Head Coach Chip Kelly

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Q. Did you call the Titans and offer to move up or package something?

COACH KELLY: We had a conversation with both teams at the front, but it was way too steep to do anything. It didn't get very serious, to be honest with you.

Q. At no point did you think you were close to getting up there?

COACH KELLY: No, not at all.

Q. Did you offer QB Sam Bradford in a package?

COACH KELLY: We didn't offer any players to anybody. We didn't get into any discussions. It was just a really steep price. It was like driving into a nice neighborhood and looking at a house, and they tell you the price and you walk away. We didn't walk in the front door and take a look around. Part of our plan, as we've said all along is we're going to build this team. We still think there is a lot of value in this draft and in future drafts. So we want to try to hold on to our picks, if we can.

Q. Is it fair to say in a perfect world that Marcus Mariota was your prime target in this draft if the price was right?

COACH KELLY: Yeah, that's fair to say. I think that would be fair to say for every team in the NFL except Tampa Bay.

Q. But if the price was right?

COACH KELLY: Yeah, but I think if you asked anybody that question if the price was right would they move up, yeah. If the price was right for (swapping first round picks), yeah, I would have switched picks in a second.

Q. Can you talk about the guy you like?

COACH KELLY: Yeah, the guy we like, Nelson Agholor. Yeah, he's a great fit for what we're doing. Know him fairly well. We tried to recruit him when I was in college. He never visited, but we knew him from Berkeley Prep back in Tampa. Got a real good extensive knowledge from the people at USC that coached him. Going back to his high school coach who we know very well. We worked him out. I think we had two private workouts with him, an outstanding punt returner along with an outstanding receiver, can play both inside and outside receiver. Has got excellent speed, outstanding hands, catches the ball away from his body. Outstanding route runner, real student of the game. We were really excited, and he was kind of what our model is. He was the best player that was available for us that fit our system. So we were excited that he was there.

We kind of were afraid and weathering the storm there a little bit from 15 to 20 was he going to be available, and when he was, we were excited about it.

Q. Did you at any point think that you might have to trade up a few spots to get him?

COACH KELLY: No, that wasn't in our plans. We were just going to stay at 20. We had no conversations after looking to see if there was anything that was going to happen at one or two. We were going to hold pat. There were a bunch of guys that we liked. There were still some guys that we would have taken at 20, but Nelson was the highest guy we wanted. But, again, really not our model – I'm not really thinking about moving up unless there is somebody that we feel we have to go get. But we felt like there were going to be a couple really good picks at 20. There were three or four guys on our board that were still available that we would have taken at 20, but Nelson was at the top of the list.

Q. Is it safe to say that wide receiver was really the prime position that fit what you wanted to do in this draft?

COACH KELLY: That's not safe to say.

Q. So you called the Bucs too?

COACH KELLY: Yeah, just to see where they were.

Q. Do you feel you'll have to have a conversation with Sam Bradford with his name being tossed about, whether you confirmed it or not in trades? You haven't talked to him about the contract extension?

COACH KELLY: We have talked to him about contracts. Do I feel like I have to have a conversation with him? No. I talked to him tonight about taking a wide receiver, so he seemed pretty fired up about that.

Q. Are you guys close to a contract extension?

COACH KELLY: We never discuss contracts.

Q. There was a report that you offered a pretty extensive package to Tennessee that involved players.

COACH KELLY: No, that's false. As I said earlier, we never got into any conversation about players.

Q. So how far did talks get?

COACH KELLY: It didn't get very far. I went around the starting price for what it was. It wasn't where we were going to go. So the analogy I gave you, we drove up. It was a really nice house. We didn't get out of the car, we didn't walk into the house.

Q. They named their price, and you thought it was prohibitive from doing a deal?

COACH KELLY: Yeah.

Q. At what point did you realize it was too steep, tonight or two days ago?

COACH KELLY: No, usually the first conversation we had with them was yesterday. So we said we'd talk today, and I think they made the right maneuver. If I was in that situation, I would have done the same thing.

Q. Did you have hope that something might happen or did you kind of know it was a long shot?

COACH KELLY: I mean, you have no idea. I don't think hope. We don't sit there and wish and rub pennies together or anything. You let the draft unfold the way the draft unfolds. We obviously know he's a very talented player. I know him very well. We wish him the best of luck. I think Tennessee made a hell of a pick.

Q. When you drafted WR Jordan Matthews last year, you talked about starting him inside as a rookie and you wanted him to learn that. Do you feel you'll do the same with Nelson?

COACH KELLY: We haven't gotten that far. It's a good question, but let's get him in the building and start talking to him a little bit. We also felt that because we knew we had (former Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin) and some guys on the outside that we felt comfortable with. But we lost Jason Avant. The one thing about Nelson is he's played both. He's played all over the field for them. He's played inside receiver, he's played outside receiver.

(USC head coach) Steve Sarkisian did a great job of moving him around. He had 104 catches this past year. He lined up everywhere. He lined up in the backfield. Really versatile guy, smart guy, understands the game. So I think in his situation, you could line him up anywhere, and I think he can handle that from a mental standpoint. But where they're going to play and all that other stuff, we're a ways away. We're still in April, and we've got a lot of time. We'll get him in here next week for mini-camp and go from there.

Q. Did anything that happened before your pick surprise you? Any of the trades or anything?

COACH KELLY: No, not how I thought it was going to go, but in this league, nothing surprises me.

Q. Did receiver become a priority after Maclin left? Was that a position you were looking at?

COACH KELLY: No, again, we're looking at the best players. I think it's a reach when that need part of it crosses over the talent part of it. And right now we still felt there were a lot of talented guys on the board. He was our highest-rated guy that we felt fit for what we do. So that is kind of the way it was. I think when we get in trouble is when you start to reach and when need (overshadows) talent, I think you're in a bad situation. So we tried to stay away from that.

Q. When you pulled up to the house and you were armed with draft picks and they get out of the car and let you go in the house and you talk with them and let you have Mariota, would you have been prepared to have six quarterbacks? That would have been the scenario you would have been presented.

COACH KELLY: I would have seen if I could get another house. So I would have had seven.

Q. Where is Sam Bradford right now? Where is he?

COACH KELLY: He's in Philly. He was here today. I expect to see him tomorrow rehabbing. He's on schedule from talking to our doctors and our trainers. I think when we traded for him the following Sunday, he was in this building, and he's been here every day since. I think he's gone home one weekend. He's working extremely hard. Really progressing out there. Monday will be the first day for us where we actually go on the field with him as coaches. So the last two weeks of the offseason program is what's called phase one. So we had meetings with the players and they were with our strength and conditioning coaches. So we'll actually get on the field with all of our players on Monday for the first time. So it's our first look at what he is and where he is and what he can do.

Q. What do you think he can do now? What has he been cleared to do?

COACH KELLY: He can run around. It's a total non contact thing. We don't have any equipment on. He can run around, we just haven't specifically sat down to see what he can do, but we're in the infancy stages of our offseason program.

Q. Does that predicate on how he recovers one day to the next?

COACH KELLY: I haven't gotten that in depth with the conversation.

Q. In two seasons, a first round, second round, and third round pick in that position, what do you think of the changes you've made in the wide receiver core?

COACH KELLY: I like the guys we have right now. I think the guys we've added with bringing Miles (Austin) and (Seyi Ajirotutu) in here to go along with Jordan (Matthews) and (Josh) Huff and (Riley Cooper) and Jeff Maehl, and we feel we wanted to get another guy in that room. It was kind of our plan going into this thing, and we were excited to get Nelson to add to that group.

Q. What's that say about the depth at that position in the last two drafts? Saying the wide receiver is the top position in the last two? You guys have taken three now in the first three rounds.

COACH KELLY: That we didn't have enough depth that's why we've taken those.

Q. What's it say about the depth of the position in the drafts that you've taken wide receivers?

COACH KELLY: I think when we first talked – I think I said it when we were in Arizona, that I felt wide receiver was the deepest position. I don't know why, but for the last couple years there's been some really talented receivers coming out.

Q. Given the depth at wide receiver, was there any thought to wait on that and see if you could get someone later?

COACH KELLY: There always is, but he was our highest-rated player, so we weren't going to pass on him and say, 'Hey, maybe we'll get another guy a little bit later.' We just felt like he was too good to pass up at that point in time.

Q. Did anybody make you an offer to trade down?

COACH KELLY: Yeah, we had three or four offers, but nothing that we felt was good enough for us to move off of our guy.

Q. What is the schedule for Sam Bradford? When do you think he'll be able to do everything?

COACH KELLY: I know Monday we're going to get out in the field with him the first time, so that's the schedule I know right now.

Q. Does he have a timeline for when he is going to see Dr. James Andrews to get cleared?

COACH KELLY: I think he's been cleared from that standpoint. I just think it's how the leg is in terms of strength and things like that, but I don't think there is any question -- I'm unaware if he is going to make a following return trip. But he's on schedule for doing everything he's doing right now.

Q. Do you weigh different positions differently? Is a wide receiver more valuable than a corner on your draft board?

COACH KELLY: No. I mean, there are certain positions, but corner, no it's not more important than corner. There were some corners we liked, but they were gone by the time we had an opportunity to select.

Q. In the first round last year, you had six targeted players.

COACH KELLY: We did?

Q. Well, from the way it was explained to us, there were six targeted players and when they weren't there, you traded back. Was the approach different this year?

COACH KELLY: No, we had a bunch of players we liked. It's really, 'Let the board speak to us.' We're always going to entertain offers when people ask, 'Do you want to move back?' But is the value of moving back, are those guys still going to be there? We felt really comfortable going in and as the draft unfolded, we were kind of excited as it kept moving because there were multiple players there at 20 for us that we would have selected, and Nelson was just the highest rated at that point in time.

Q. The other day Vice President of Player Personnel Ed Marynowitz said that he felt there were eight to 10 difference makers in the draft. Do you feel like Nelson is one of those guys?

COACH KELLY: You know, I don't know that. I'm not that smart to pick who is going to be a difference maker and not going to be a difference maker. I know Nelson is a really good fit for us.

Q. Agholor draws a lot of comparisons to former Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin. Do you see that? Are they similar type players?

COACH KELLY: Size wise they are. I mean, they both have their different strengths. Mac is a little bit different. They're a little bit different, I think. I think Mac is more of an outside receiver: a really good outside, down-the-line receiver. I think Nelson is an inside, outside guy. But I think size wise they're almost identical.

Q. How does he fit in terms of what you guys do? They run the route tree and with the blocking?

COACH KELLY: He fits into all of that. That's why we thought he waswhen we got to know him, I know (Southern California Head Coach) Steve Sarkisian really well. I know what USC is doing. He was with Kiff (former Southern California Head Coach Lane Kiffin) for his first year, and I know how Kiff feels about him. I know how those guys felt about him. I saw him firsthand when we played against him; he had six catches for 162 yards in front of my face. I knew he was a productive player when he walked in as a freshman and he just kept getting better and better.

And you throw in the fact that he has that ability as a punt returner which will help us with Darren (RB Darren Sproles). Darren is our punt returner, but to have that other guy out there that I don't think if we take Darren off the field on a punt return, you're missing a beat when you put Nelson in there. I think he's a dynamic returner and he can play both and really excel at both positions here.

Q. You have three young receivers obviously that you like, that you like drafted in the first three rounds. Can you sort of let out a sigh of relief saying, 'I've got my receiving core and I can let them grow for several years?'

COACH KELLY: Yeah, that's the hope, but somebody could get hurt tomorrow. So we don't look at it that way. We're always looking to see if we can make the team better. We're always on the lookout for other better players that we think can come in here and make us a better team.

Q. Will that take some of the time away from Sproles returning punts?

COACH KELLY: No, I didn't mean it that way. What I meant is that I feel we have a comparable guy. We were fortunate that Darren played every snap for us in the return game last year, but if Darren has to come off the field, you feel like you have another guy and you're trotting 1 and 1-A out there. I don't think we had that. When (Sproles) didn't play against Arizona (last year), we put Mac back in for the first time and Mac hadn't returned a punt since he was back at Missouri. So I think having that gives you a little more of a luxury that you feel like you have two solid punt returners in Sproles and Nelson.

Q. When you spoke to us last month, it seemed by trading for Bradford you talked about Mariota and you talked about how you thought it would be really hard or impossible to trade up to the top of the draft?

COACH KELLY: And I was right.

Q. Was there ever a point between then and now that you thought it might be more reasonable?

COACH KELLY: No, I think it played out exactly the way I thought it was going to play out. I didn't think it was going to happen, and it didn't happen. Little Nostradamus out of me about a month ago, right?

Q. When you went to Tampa, FL and visited with Agholor -- and I'm assuming that you did -- what were your impressions of him and his family (inaudible)?

COACH KELLY: I didn't. We were at the high school, so it was a private workout. I met his coaches.

Q. What were your impression of him at the high school?

COACH KELLY: I guess the best way to say it is he's just dialed in as a football player. He's in the Jordan Matthews category in terms of his approach to the game. Always striving to be better. I think the great thing about Nelson is he has a growth mindset, and not a fixed mindset. He's always trying to get better. What is his edge? You talk to the people he worked out with – I know he worked out Yo Murphy, a former NFL receiver that was training him down there in Tampa. And he's like a sponge when it's just the game of football. When he came here and we had him on a visit here, we were in the room with him for a long time because of the questions he had for us about, 'How do we attack this coverage, and what do we do here?' He's one of those guys that's really a student of the game.

I think you get excited when you're around guys like that. He's just trying to soak up everything that you can spit out in terms of being able to give him coaching points. He's always trying to get better, whether it's from a physical standpoint, improving himself physically, or a route-running standpoint, or just a mind standpoint in terms of how to run routes, how to do things and how does he fit into the scheme. So really exactly what we're looking for in a football player.

Q. Did you follow him during his college career?

COACH KELLY: Following him? No. I mean, when he was a freshman, I didn't think I'd be here. I was following him with my eyes when he was running by me saying, 'I hope we can cover this guy a little better than we're doing right now.' But obviously well aware of him. I think everybody in the country was well aware of him. He had 104 catches this past season, and was one of the top receivers in college football.

Q. Do you see him as a guy that can stretch the defense the way former Eagles WR DeSean Jackson did?

COACH KELLY: I think he's got good linear speed that can get down the field and I think people will have to be leery about that, yeah.

Q. It's our first time talking to you since the signing of QB Tim Tebow? What went into that and what appealed to you about him?

COACH KELLY: We worked Tim out; we had him in for a private workout. We wanted to get another guy in here. (QB) G.J. Kinne wants to try to make the team as a special teams player, maybe a receiver or running back, kind of a multi purpose player on the offensive side of the ball. Allowing G.J. to move around a little bit means we need to get a fourth quarterback in here and we felt he was the best guy available.

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