Philadelphia Eagles News

Quotes: Head Coach Chip Kelly


Q. You said the other day that your players listen to QB Sam Bradford and have a good feel for him. Is that a process for a new quarterback to get to that level?

CHIP KELLY: Yeah, it is. I think for anybody coming in new to an organization or a team, there's got to be -- you've got to establish yourself a little bit before you can start to say, hey -- because I mean, anybody would be like, 'Why is this guy telling me something to do? He just got here.' And I think Sam handled it really well. Sam was a little bit more quiet in April and May because he wasn't really full-go in terms of what we were doing, but I think as he has gotten more snaps, as he came back to preseason camp and we started rolling here in August, you could start to see him assert himself a little bit more. So I think it's a process. But I think it always happens when you have a new group together.

Q. You were joking the other day about the slow starts by Bradford, but obviously this is something you need to get fixed. What can you do? Is there anything in particular?

CHIP KELLY: I think it's more than Sam; it's everybody on the offensive side of the ball. We were a little bit more consistent in the Saints game, but didn't execute down in the red zone in the first half, and then really kind of got it rolling in the second half. But it's everybody contributing to that, and not only Sam being on right from the jump, but also the offensive line, the receivers and the running backs.

Q. When you drafted WR Josh Huff, did you view him as a future starting receiver? How close do you think he is getting to that point?

CHIP KELLY: Yeah, I guess we don't use those labels in terms of 'this guy is a starter,' because of how we use our receivers right now. I think we've got a lot of guys that are playing out there that are rotating in. We look at Josh as a starter right now, not as a future starter, but he's playing 30-plus snaps or 40-plus snaps a game, depending on how many snaps we get on the offensive side of the ball. But we knew he had the capability of doing this. He was an outstanding receiver in college; he came in as a true freshman and played not only receiver, but was a running back. But we were really attracted to his versatility, also. He can be a kick or punt returner. You know, he's a kick returner for us because obviously we have Darren [RB Darren Sproles as a punt returner], and [Huff] did a great job and kind of set the tone for us with the kickoff return to open the game against the Saints. We envision him being able to do that, and that's why we took him in the third [round].

Q. Has anyone from the University of Southern California contacted you or your agent?


Q. How about the University of South Carolina or --

CHIP KELLY: No. North Texas State. [joking] The Armadillos or whatever. [laughter]

Q. Is it a distraction, though, when --

CHIP KELLY: Only when -- yeah, just keep asking questions like this in the press conference and it'll be over quicker. What do you want to talk about? Let's talk about another college. You've got 10 minutes, so let's talk about North Texas. I know you have an obligation, and I understand that it's going to happen [when] we're not successful and we're not winning. I came from college, [so the assumption is] I'm going to go back to college. I hope someday to be like Coach Coughlin [Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin] and win enough games where I can stay around long enough without speculation. But I understand you have to ask the question, but I answered it the same way a year ago and I answered it the same way my first year here. It's an unfortunate part of the game because the other part of it is there are people who have lost their jobs, and somebody, a friend of mine in [former USC Head Coach] Steve Sarkisian, is dealing with a big issue right now, and I wish him the best out of the whole thing, and that's how I look at that situation.

Q.  Are you concerned about the talk of it undermining your authority here or in your locker room?

CHIP KELLY: Our players could care less about it. That's my guess. I don't think they're – I don't think [C] Jason Kelce is really concerned because my name came up with a college. I mean, he's concerned about going against [Giants defensive coordinator] Steve Spagnuolo's defense, which is what's first and foremost on our team right now.

Q. What did you like about newly acquired G/T Tanner Hawkinson who you picked up off of the San Francisco 49ers practice squad?

CHIP KELLY: Just athleticism, and we felt we needed a tackle, a guard-tackle combo. We feel like we're confident in [C/G] Josh Andrews, who's been dressed for all our games as a center-guard combination. We have Dennis [G/T Dennis Kelly], but we had two tackles out last week missing some training time in terms of Lane [T Lane Johnson] and Jason [T Jason Peters]. Josh is not a tackle, so you're kind of looking at what we needed to do. We just thought that we needed to have another guard-tackle body in here. [Hawkinson] is a young, athletic guy, sharp, and we'll see what he can do. But I mean, when you take a guy off of a practice squad, he's going to stay active for you for three games, so we've got a chance to work with him. But I know Stout [Eagles offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland] liked him. Yesterday was really our first day on the field with him.

Q. Defensively on third-down, opponents have been over 50 percent in the last two games. Yesterday, defensive coordinator Bill Davis mentioned that's something you guys have got to do better. How much has getting off of the field been a focus this week?

CHIP KELLY: It's been the same every week. It's just we need to -- it's just like we were offensively when we weren't successful: we need to execute. And playing really good third-down defense is critical to being a good defensive football team. You put them in a situation where it is third-down, now we need to get a stop and we need to get off the field. You know, it's been an emphasis. We always have a third-down period every day in training, whether it be in seven-on-seven or in our team sessions, but I think our guys are kind of understanding what we have to do. A lot of times it's really -- the ones that really are the back breakers are the third-and-longs because you put them into a third-and-long. That means you've executed on first and second down, and now we need to kind of finish it. We need to not allow them to stay on the field, so we can turn the ball back over to our offense.

Q. How is Spagnuolo's defense different from former Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell's defense?

CHIP KELLY: Just the whole system. I mean, it's just an entirely new coordinator. It's just like when [former Giants offensive coordinator Kevin] Gilbride left and [Giants offensive coordinator Ben] McAdoo came in: the offensive system has changed and the defensive system has changed. So it's new players, different -- some new faces back there. [S] Landon Collins is there, a couple different guys playing different spots that they didn't have before, and I think it's a totally different system than they were in before.

Q. You have three first-quarter points in five games. Are you surprised with all the talent you have out here, that you're getting off to such a slow start?

CHIP KELLY: I wouldn't use the word surprised. We just need to execute. I don't sit there at the end of the first quarter and say, 'That's surprising.' It's a matter of how you play the game. You've got to execute to play the game to be successful.

Q. When did Eagles defensive line/assistant head coach Jerry Azzinaro first get on your radar? What did you identify in him that made you decide that you wanted to kind of --

CHIP KELLY: I have known Azz for a long time -- maybe 25 years. We coached in the same circles. He was at Boston College a long time ago. I actually coached against him when he was at UMass and I was at New Hampshire. You'd run into him on the road. I knew people that knew him, that coached with him. I know Coach McGovern [Eagles outside linebackers coach Bill McGovern] coached with him a long time ago at Boston College, Coach Dawson [Eagles assistant defensive line coach Mike Dawson] was with him at Maine, and he's been to a lot of different places. He was at Duke. He's been around, and then when we had an opportunity, when I was at Oregon and we had a defensive line job open, he was the best defensive line coach that I had known, so we brought him in and interviewed, and he got the job.

Q. What does Azzinaro do well? It seems like he's maximizing the potential of everybody he's working with.

CHIP KELLY: I think that's really what he does well. I think he really identifies what he has from a talent standpoint and players. He's a really good evaluator on top of that. But when he evaluates what they can do and what they excel at, then he kind of accentuates that and really gets them to work at it. He's as good a fundamental coach as I've ever been around. His players have always been fundamentally sound, and he's outstanding, and we're lucky to have him.

Q. How much autonomy do position coaches have to put different players into different packages without your approval?

CHIP KELLY: We talk about it all during the week so what happens on game day isn't surprising to me, but that's their role and that's their job. That's why they were hired, to coach the position. [Running Backs Coach] Duce [Staley] does a hell of a job with those guys.

Q. In the past Giants Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has liked to blitz from the edges with cornerbacks and safeties and stuff. Is he still showing that?

CHIP KELLY: Yeah, he is.

Q. And does that have the possibility of opening up the outsides a little bit more?

CHIP KELLY: You know, he's very sound in how he does it, and he also -- the one thing, I think, Spags' defense, they're great at disguising it where you think it's coming over here and then it comes over there. It's such a [former Eagles Defensive Coordinator] Jim Johnson influence for him, but I think he's still doing a lot of those similar things, and it's part of us being able to recognize it. With any blitz like that, you can take advantage of it if you're geared into it and see it and are ready. But you may think it's coming from this side and then it comes from here and you're not ready for it. But he does a great job with it, and it's been a staple in the defense that he's running now in New York.

Q. What is it about C Jason Kelce that kind of makes him ideal for your system, just the way he plays center?

CHIP KELLY: Well, I think he's ideal for any system. I don't think it just has to do with us. But I think [with] most teams in this league, the offensive line in what happens is center driven. He has to identify the front and identify how we're going to set protections, how we're going to set the run game, where we're going to direct everything, and so we have to kind of be your coach on the field, so to speak, at that position. He's just a really, really intelligent football player, spends a lot of time studying film, studying tape and making sure that he's correct in his calls. But I think Jason could fit in any system in this league.

Q. How is WR Nelson Agholor coming along?

CHIP KELLY: I don't know. We'll see him on the field today. He did not do anything yesterday.

Q. The Giants' offensive line has been kind of reconfigured a little bit. They moved T Justin Pugh inside and they drafted T Ereck Flowers. They're doing a good job of keeping QB Eli Manning clean. What are some challenges that they present?

CHIP KELLY: They are. They're doing a good job of keeping him clean. I think it's a product of the offense, too. Eli is doing a great job of getting the ball out of his hands quick. He's got some receivers that can uncover quickly. I think sometimes it's easier said than done where the quarterback has just got to get the ball out of his hands; well, the receivers have got to get open, too, and they've got a very talented bunch of receivers. They do a good job of spreading you out. But that line, they've made some moves. They've moved Pugh, who's playing really well right now. Flowers was a first-round draft pick who is playing well right now at left tackle. They're doing a good job protecting him. I think it's four sacks in five games, which is way down from what it had been in past years. I think it's a combination of the player -- I think the moves they've made with the players have really benefitted them, but a lot of it really goes to Eli's second year in the system. [Eli's] playing at a really high levelright now.

Q. We've talked a lot about stopping those 'X' plays. Does that happen in practice, or does that more so happen -- just being mindful of it during games?

CHIP KELLY: No, it's an emphasis for us in practice at all times, and I know [Defensive Coordinator] Billy [Davis] and [Defensive Backs Coach] Cory [Undlin] spend a lot of time on it. But it's something that you don't not do in practice, and then wonder why it happens in the game. It's something that we have to continue to emphasize and do.

Q. After the Falcons game you talked about how you thought you had the need to pass against them because they had a tough defensive line. Statistically, the Giants are lining up defensively the same way, where they're last in pass defense but very tough against the run. Do you feel differently going into this game in that you have to establish the run?

CHIP KELLY: I think maybe that was miscommunication. We weren't throwing against the Falcons because of the defensive line. It was just because of the coverage they were playing behind it that gave us an opportunity to get some passes off. It's a totally different coverage system that Spags uses compared to what [Falcons Head Coach] Dan Quinn uses. A lot of things the Falcons were doing to us in that game was playing very deep, playing off of our receivers, and allowing you to throw the ball in front of them, and I think that's what we did. We did a good job in our screen game against them. We did a good job with our backs out of the backfield against them because of the depth that their linebackers drop. It had nothing to do with the defensive line. It had to do with the coverage, and the coverage for the Falcons and what Dan does in the coverage and what Spags does are two totally different things.

Q. We talked a lot about S Walter Thurmond the last several weeks, but when you signed him last winter, what were you expecting? What did you think you were getting?

CHIP KELLY: Honestly, what you guys see right now. I mean, I thought Walter was an outstanding football player when I coached him at Oregon. If he didn't get hurt his senior year, I was convinced he was a first-round draft pick, but he had a really bad knee injury, and that kind of dropped him. I think he went in the fourth. And he just had been kind of snakebit. The injury he had in college has never reoccurred. He had a pec, he had this, he had that, it was just different things, but that was the same player that I saw when I had an opportunity – my first year as a head coach, he was a captain. He was all over the field, was our best defensive football player, was always around the ball. I mean, we really struggled my first spring of doing things when Walt was on the field defensively because he was always making plays, and so what I saw when I coached Walt in 2009 is kind of what we're seeing now, and that's the type of football player he is.

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