Your offense, particularly your offensive line, in three out of four games, the first quarter has just looked like chaos. Is that talent? Is it coaching? What's going on that this happens again and again?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I don't think it looks like chaos. I wouldn't use that word. I think we've been out of sync a few times. But I think we have the right guys, and we're doing the right things. Again, we start off the game with balls a little bit low on the first pass of the game. Could he have caught it? Should he have caught it? We have to be able to help those guys out, too.
Was any of it team-related?
COACH KELLY: I think it's all related --
The run game specifically.
COACH KELLY: In the run game? Yeah. I mean we've been doing things that we've been doing for a long time here; running inside zones, outside zones, sweep plays.
So, I think we understand what we're doing, but we're allowing sometimes too much penetration -- sometimes a back is not hitting to where he should have hit it. Second play of the game, if the back bounces outside, there's no one outside. The defensive end is showing his head to get around the inside, so if we keep it on the outside. So, it's not just one thing, it's a combination of a couple things.
You're big on, 'We do what we do.' Do you need to do something a little differently in terms of plays? Are you committed to those plays?
COACH KELLY: We need to execute the plays better. That's what we need to do.
It seems execution is the answer we've heard often in these past four weeks. What evidence do you have that this group can execute?
COACH KELLY: Because I've seen us move the ball. I saw us move the ball in three consecutive drives, or three out of four drives in the second half against them [Washington]. I saw us move the ball in the second half against Atlanta. Saw us move the ball against the Jets. So I have confidence in this group. We just have to do it on a more consistent basis.
In your three losses, you have a total of three points in the first half.
COACH KELLY: Yeah.
What's going on in the first half design-wise, schematically, etc. to where you guys are not able to get going?
COACH KELLY: We are not executing. We need to stay on the field offensively in the first half and not be on three-and-outs.
One time you have executed on the ground is in the first half of the Jets game, and that was with RB Ryan Mathews. Does he need more playing time?
COACH KELLY: No, Ryan was actually in on the first series in the game yesterday. So that second run was -- he was in the game there, so I don't think it's the matter of the back. That's not the answer, 'Hey, it's this. Put him in and then everything's changed.' It's a combination of the whole group.
So it's not adjustments? It's productivity that's happening in the second half and not the first? It's not a result of adjustments?
COACH KELLY: No. I think it's guys are making plays when they have an opportunity to make plays when we are not making plays when we need to make plays in the first half.
Is that just random then?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, because it's not just one guy. If it was one guy, it would be an easy switch; we can move 'this' guy in and move 'this' guy out. But it's a consistent thing. In the other games, we had key drops in Dallas on third down where the ball hits us in the hands and now we stay on the field. It's a third-and-5, we complete a pass for third-and-8, but the ball is dropped on a third-and-8, so then we are off the field. It's a matter of -- and again, it's not the same guy. It's a different guy each time where it's not one specific thing. There are plays to be made there; we are just not making the plays right now.
Does that part of it concern you the most, that it's a different person on each play?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, it does. And they are guys that we know are good football players.
But the difference in this league, right now, is almost every game when you look up, is a less-than-one-score-game. It's a one score game in terms of -- I think 31 of the 62 games so far have been decided by eight points or less.
So it's a matter of making one more play than your opponent. We had a touchdown called back because we lined up wrong. That's the difference in a football game. We missed an extra point, we missed a field goal; that's the difference in a football game. We get a completion on third down, we allow a completion on the third down; that's the difference in the football game. It's just one play here or there and it's a different story when we are standing here today.
On that topic, what's the plan at kicker going forward?
COACH KELLY: We are going to stay with [K] Caleb [Sturgis]. Looked at what's available out there, don't feel -- I think the state of kicking in the league right now is not very good. There has been a lot of changes; Houston changed a kicker last week. I think Tampa Bay has changed their kicker. A lot of people have done that and moved those things. Compared to what we had from a workout standpoint, one of the guys we had worked out actually got signed with the Texans and was their kicker this week. But we feel, in terms of what's available out there, we are going to stick with Caleb.
Given the inconsistencies on offense, are you open to pulling back on tempo to alleviate some of the burden on your defense?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I don't think that's a burden on our defense. The deal all the time is we need to execute offensively. If we execute offensively, then it's not an issue.
But if your offense isn't executing on a consistent basis, then that becomes a pattern and the defense gets out on the field longer --
COACH KELLY: No, I disagree with that. It's plays run. Our defense needs to make stops when they have the opportunity to make stops, and our offense needs to make plays.
When you are talking about time of possession and the fact that most teams huddle, and that's perhaps why it's not as important as plays run, physically. But what does it do to a defense in the mental part of the game when they are all out there on the field so much more than their offense?
COACH KELLY: Our defense is concerned about making plays on the defensive side of the ball. Our offense is concerned about making plays on the offensive side of the ball.
When I talk about time of possession -- we have this argument every week. We have the same exact plays run in the Atlanta game. They had the ball for 35, we had the ball for 25. They ran the same plays that we ran. They had the same production that we ran. They just stand around a little bit longer than we run.
I understand that, and that's the physical part of the game. But I am wondering if you have you done any studies or anything like that to know what it does to an opponent's mentality when you are out there--
COACH KELLY: I think when you are losing and you're not on the upside of it, it can affect you mentally. But if you're a competitor, you're not concerned. You're concerned with doing your job, not anybody else's job and not hoping someone else bails you out.
You mentioned the touchdown that was called back on the illegal formation. As much as you prepare, how does that happen? That just seems like such an incredibly crucial mistake.
COACH KELLY: It happened to them first play of the game. So, it happens.
But it wasn't a touchdown.
COACH KELLY: I know that, but you don't know it's a touchdown when you do it. I mean, I know he didn't do it on purpose. But it happens. People line up and sometimes you have a receiver cover up or sometimes you don't have a receiver enough on the ball.
We've had tackles called in two games being too far in the backfield and had plays negated. It's just one of those deals where -- it's the first one we've had in our four games, but obviously it came at a real inopportune time.
You've been through this before where players are not making plays in big spots. I don't know how you coach that up? How you change that? How you get guys to make clutch plays? WR Jordan Matthews dropped one. RB Darren Sproles dropped one.
COACH KELLY: Yeah, and Jordan made a heck of a catch on a deep ball down the seam with two guys draped on him and took a shot to the head and came up.
I understand that, but it seems like the plays are not being made late in the game. How do you change that?
COACH KELLY: You just keep practicing and you keep working on it and you trust the guys you have. We know we have the right players here. We just-- it's a play here or a play there. We've lost a game by two and we've lost a game by three. We lost another game by ten; we've lost three games by 15 points.
You hit two kicks and we are sitting here 3-1 and everybody's happy. There's no difference, it's that either that you either make plays or you don't make plays. And if you're not making plays, you have to continue to work on them so you can make the plays.
Isn't that generally how things are in the NFL? It's razor thin and that's for a good team and a bad team.
COACH KELLY: It's razor thin, so you don't throw the baby out with the bath water and say, 'Okay we are going to change our offense, change our defense and change everything we are doing in our approach.' It is just that we just need to settle down, take a deep breath and when we have an opportunity to make a play, we've got to make a play.
Should RB DeMarco Murray be getting more touches?
COACH KELLY: We all should be getting more touches on the offensive side of the ball, but when you only have 51 snaps on offense, there aren't a lot of touches. So we can stay on the field and snap it for 68, 70 plays, and we are going to have a lot more balance in our run and pass game because we are on the field longer.
So over the last -- you guys have lost six here out of your last eight regular-season games dating back to last season. Over that period, have you drawn any conclusions about the league and what other teams are doing to you? Maybe expectations or thoughts that you might have had about the development and how things would go? Or is it simply what you are coaching will work, it just needs to be done the right way?
COACH KELLY: I think when we have an opportunity to make plays, we have to make plays. So, that's how we look at it.
With the way this happens, everybody kind of looks at themselves. When you look over everything, do you start in certain situations second-guessing yourself? I should have done 'this' or I should have done 'that'?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, we look at play calls. What could I have done on second down so that second down could have put us into a more manageable third down? You look at it from that standpoint of we should have maybe run it 'this' situation so that you had second-and-10; could have got you to third-and-6. If it gets you to third-and-6, then your choices of play calls on third-and-6 are a little bit different because third-and-medium is easier to convert than third-and-long. So, we are always analyzing that part of it.
What is Murray not doing in the running game? I know he had the one carry for 30-yards, but other than that, it was seven-for-six yards.
COACH KELLY: Yeah, we were bottled up there a little bit. They had seven guys in a box a few times in there. And triggering a safety on the run-- when the tight end blocked, the safety kind of got triggered. They had -- sometimes they had an extra guy in there, but we are still trying to kind of run the football so that when we run the football, we're putting ourselves in a little bit better situation when we get to third down. He's doing a nice job -- all three running backs are doing a nice job, I think, when they have had their opportunities. We just--again, we are not getting a lot of opportunities because we only had 51 snaps.
Should QB Sam Bradford check into a pass when there are seven guys in the box? 9:30
COACH KELLY: Depends on what we've got play-call wise.
Why do you think in Year Three, execution has been such a big problem these first four games on offense?
COACH KELLY: I wish I knew that answer and then we could go out and fix it tomorrow and get ready to go play the Saints. But I think it's just a matter of—and you see it a lot. All of a sudden, someone makes a play, makes a spark and everybody starts kind of feeding off of that. I think it's such a game of confidence, and as you see it being played out across the league, it's the same exact thing. It's just who is going to maybe give us that spark to kind of bring the whole group along with them is kind of what we're looking for right now.
What are some of the positives that you take from the game after watching the film?
COACH KELLY: I just think we are close. But again, we need to make plays when we have an opportunity to make plays. I think our guys gave great effort, but when we had an opportunity to make some plays, we didn't make them.
Why do you have more soft tissue injuries at this point as opposed to the two previous years?
COACH KELLY: Again, you've got to look at the individual injury and kind of go through all that; and the predisposition of that player, is it-- are their hips aligned the right way? Are they not aligned the right way? Did he have a pre-existing condition going into it? There's a lot that goes into it. It's not just a blanket statement of, 'We have more this year than we had the last two years because of 'X''.
When you have guys who try to play with injuries and they are gone after the first series, does that mean they should have been in the lineup or shouldn't have?
COACH KELLY: Probably, but when they worked out during the week, they felt like they could go. Sometimes you're going to hit on that, sometimes you're not.
There are some guys you're nervous going into a game-- I'm not sure how many snaps we are going to get out of them and then you get a ton of snaps. But I don't think anybody can predict that an injury is going to happen, but obviously not having a couple of those guys really put us in a bind a little bit.
It is multiple players, though, who have re-aggravated the same injuries this year. As you look at, or recondition things of that nature, why is that the case? We haven't seen that in the past here.
COACH KELLY: Again, it depends on the individual injuries.
Murray made a point of saying he should get the ball more. Are you aware of that? Do you mind him saying that?
COACH KELLY: No. I want all of our guys at the running back, wide receiver spot to want the football. I don't think you want someone that says, 'I don't want the ball more.' It's what you're looking for.
But again, it's a team deal on the offensive side of the ball that we need everybody; everybody needs the ball more and we need more than 51 snaps in a game for us to be successful on the offensive side of the ball. When we only have 51 snaps, no one is going to get the ball as much as they should get the ball.
How do you keep the players from questioning, obviously players are frustrated, how do you keep them from questioning what's happening and keep them on track to try to get where you say that they can get?
COACH KELLY: I think they have belief in themselves, so I'm really not worried about this group. I've been around a lot of different teams, but I think this group is pretty close and understands what the task is at hand and also understands everything in this league is going to be close. Every game you're going to be in is going to be a one-possession game. And it's about -- if you're a competitor, you kind of embrace the situation and get excited for what your next opportunity is. You're playing a 1-3 team coming in here, but if you watched them play last night, they don't play like a 1-3 team. The New Orleans Saints are a good football team. How they lost their first three games -- they lost one 27-22, they lost another one 26-19. They have been close in two of their three losses. They are kind of in the same boat as us. They had a close game last night, they won in overtime. They missed a gimmie field goal at the end of regulation and then came back and showed some great resolve and made a big play on an 80-yard touchdown pass to win it in overtime.
So, it's about being a competitor and coming back out there. We are still standing; we've taken some shots, but we're still standing. We've got to go out there and compete.
What do you think Bradford hitting those four deep passes yesterday does for the offense as far as going forward?
COACH KELLY: I don't know about going forward. Sam is taking what the defense gives us. And in those situations, the defense gave us an opportunity to throw the ball over the top, and when they did that, we took advantage of it. So, it's the first time we've kind of had a chance to do that, and when we had the chance to do that, I think in doing it to three different guys, I think helps us. But we have always known we have had guys out there that can make plays. But if people are always going to play back and make us throw the ball in front of them, then it's going to be a different story. But if people are going to challenge us and try to kind of blitz us a little bit -- which Washington tried to do, tried to get an extra man in the box like Washington tried to do, then we need to be able to hurt them with our wide receivers and that's what happened on those three passed balls.
Particularly on the offensive line, personnel-wise obviously you have G/T Dennis Kelly out there and G/T Matt Tobin. Are you sure you have the personnel, depth-wise and starting-wise, at the O-line that you need?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, at this point in time, you have to. There's not a bunch of O-linemen on the street. Everybody is on their different teams at this point in time. So you hope JP [T Jason Peters] is healthy this week and he can go. If not, then we've got to go with what we got.
Former Eagle, Evan Mathis, was part of this team, though, and you chose to part with him. Given the issues along the offensive line, is it a lesson learned that you can't get rid of--
COACH KELLY: No, it's not a lesson learned. We were not going to renegotiate his contract. And again-- I'll say it again, we were told by his agent, if we didn't renegotiate it, we weren't getting him back.
Why was LB Marcus Smith inactive?
COACH KELLY: Special teams. And [LB] Mychal [Kendricks] was active, so then it came down to [LB] Najee [Goode] and [LB] Brad [Jones] on special teams as compared to him.
You spoke about how you need somebody to step up and give you a spark. Is that a leadership thing?
COACH KELLY: No. I don't think -- it's not lack of leadership. It's making a play on third down when we need to make a play on third down, or making a play on first down so that we don't have a play on third down. I don't look at it as a leadership thing at all.
How do you feel about your leadership right now?
COACH KELLY: I like our leadership. I think our guys are doing a nice job. Again, we don't cover receiver up when we are in a different football game. We lost by three and we have a touchdown called back. We are not sitting here having this conversation questioning our leadership; I don't think leadership had anything to do with us covering off a receiver on a pass play.
26 percent this year on third down, but you've been well up to the 40s the first two years. Any common theme on those third downs?
COACH KELLY: Common theme when we are not successful is a lack of success on first and second down and so that we are getting into longer third down situations, it seems like. When you kind of look at it, I think if we can be a little more consistent on first and second down, it would put us into more manageable third downs, we'd be in a good situation.
The injured players, do you have any word on the guys who left the game yesterday?
COACH KELLY: No. No word.