Q. A lot of the talk during the week was how it was going to be tough to get to Giants QB Eli Manning, or at least it had been through the first few weeks, and you were able to generate a good amount of pressure; what was the key to that?
COACH KELLY: Well, it's twofold because coverage leads to it. So we knew in the quick passing game that we had to get up tighter in coverage and that makes him hold the ball a little bit longer. So I thought our guys did a really good job from a coverage standpoint. Aside from really that first drive, we were just off a little bit in that first drive, but they did a better job in coverage which leads to him holding on to the ball a little bit longer. And then I thought our D-Line, especially the front four, got to him. It wasn't a real big blitz game for us, just because the ball is out so quick and you don't want to leave too many voids in behind, so we had to play well in coverage and then the coverage allows the rush to get home.
Q. What did the defense do to take away Giants RB Shane Vereen? Those checkdowns, he didn't even have those either. What did they do to take him--
COACH KELLY: It is the same thing. You know when he's in there, he's a big part of -- it's almost like Eli quickly goes to who his first read is and it's one of the wide receivers or the tight end and then gets to the back. So I thought our linebackers did a really good job in coverage on the back.
Q. What about with Giants WR Odell Beckham, Jr., I think he only had one target in the second half, no catches?
COACH KELLY: Billy [Defensive coordinator Bill Davis] and [Defensive backs coach] Cory [Undlin] and those guys did a really good job of scheming it. We tried to get him doubled as much as possible and there was a lot of double coverage going on on Odell.
Q. What have you seen, overall, from that secondary as far as progress week-to-week now and really last night, in particular?
COACH KELLY: I think they are growing as a group. I think early when you get a group together and they are just worried about their job and then what they -- I got this and that's all I do. Now it's kind of looking at the overall picture and where do they fit into the overall concept of what's going on back there. I think there's a better understanding. We've got two really intelligent safeties that get everybody lined up in [S] Malcolm [Jenkins] and [DB] Walter [Thurmond] and that really helps. And then a guy that I don't think gets enough credit, [CB] E.J. Biggers, who has done a really nice job for us. He's a real, real smart football player and allows Billy [Bill Davis] to do some different things, call-wise, because E.J. can handle it call-wise. To get those five guys on the field, there's some continuity going on with those guys. The ability from Malcolm and Walter to both play down and back; it's not a, "Hey, this guy has always got to get over here." [It's] Kind of how the formation comes out and expresses itself, they can handle that. Really, that's what happened on the first drive, they came out on in two tight ends the entire drive, but they ran a lot of slot sets with the tight ends on one side and the receivers on the other, which they had not shown. So just took a little bit of tweaking and adjustment to get adjusted to it, and then once they did that, I think they were good after that.
Q. What can the coaches do to help QB Sam Bradford? I know he has got to go out there and do it, I understand that. But, what can you do to coach him up so there are not constantly turnovers?
COACH KELLY: I mean, it's drill work and I think, obviously, a lot of the situations we do in the training, like everybody, our controlled situations, and when it comes to the game, it's an uncontrolled situation. So we need to simulate it as best we can. But you also can't go, you know, live, full go and have a rush come after him and try to hit him in practice. I mean, you're not going to lose your quarterback in practice; I think that's the one difficulty with it, with any coach, when you're trying to simulate things in a practice situation that are applicable to the games. There are certain things -- you know, everybody tries to stay away from the quarterback just because of the injury factor and you've got to keep those guys healthy. There's a reason everybody in the NFL has those guys in red jerseys. We've got to do a little bit better of a job, in terms of simulating the experience of what goes on in a game.
Q. What happened with the interception in which WR Riley Cooper broke off his route?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, it was just a miscommunication between the two of them. It's a read route, in terms what have we are supposed to do and trying to read the top end of the coverage. Riley was a little late in his decision part of it and Sam thought he was going to run though. Then, Riley decided to stop. You could see both sides of it.
Q. So he has a choice to either curl or --
COACH KELLY: He had a choice to either curl or go deep depending on how the coverage is.
Q. Before now, Bradford has not really had a problem with interceptions. Before he got here, was that your impression of him, that he was able to secure the ball?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I thought Sam -- that's one of the reasons we really liked him. I thought he was really good with the football before he got here.
Q. Do you think he has the ability to find that again?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I do.
Q. So why has he been inconsistent then?
COACH KELLY: That's a great question. There's not one thing. I think, at times, it's the rush will break down, so now he has to move his feet. We did have some inconsistency and some wrong routes run the other night, so that kind of puts him in a situation he's expecting the receiver to be here and he's not there anymore. So we had a couple communication issues. Some guys moving around a little bit. There was a little bit of shuffle there when [WR Josh] Huff went down for a little bit, Coop [WR Riley Cooper] is down for a little bit and we are jockeying the receivers around a little bit. But, that's not an excuse, that is just those are things we need to continue to work on as a group to get everybody on the same page.
Q. You have said it is as simple as, as long as the team is winning, or is in the position you are in right now, that you can afford to wait Bradford out until he works his way through?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, we are not waiting anything -- I don't know what the waiting out is. Sam is our quarterback, so we have full confidence in Sam.
Q. One of the things that makes WR Jordan Matthews effective is what he does post catch. What is the teaching point, in terms of holding onto the football and not fumbling it?
COACH KELLY: On the one he fumbled, he should have just stuck his foot in the ground and got up the field; he tried to go across the field. If he literally, after the catch, just stuck his foot in the ground and go vertical, he would have had a first down and wouldn't have had the hit we had. The one thing about Jordan is he plays with outstanding effort; he's always going to give you everything he has. It was a heck of a hit. It wasn't one of those where -- I think the ball was hanging out loose, so he took a pretty good shot on that play.
Q. When you are down three inside backers and you have LB Najee Goode, who was not even with the team a few weeks ago, wasn't even in the league, and he is able to play at a fairly high level; what does that give you as far as, not a lot of teams have a fifth inside linebacker like a Najee Goode?
COACH KELLY: We always felt like we did. It was just, and I said it when we made the cuts down to 53, that was the hardest cut for us. That's why it took the longest, we were trying to figure out a way to keep Najee because we believe he's a National Football League player; I think he's shown he's a National Football League player. So when we had the opportunity, we had to make the move. When we were a little banged up, we were just fortunate that -- I don't why he wasn't picked up, but thank God he wasn't. But we have got total confidence in Naj that he can go in there and play. And he has and he's done it for a couple years here now. So it's a blessing, to be honest with you, that we have that depth at inside linebacker. But, we also felt a year ago when we lost [LB] Mychal [Kendricks] for three or four games with the calf and then [LB] DeMeco [Ryans] for the season, that we had to increase our depth at the inside linebacker spot because we felt like we were caught short the year before. Hopefully we get Mychal back here, get [LB] Kiko [Alonso] coming back up here and then we have Najee. We feel confident that we have five guys in there that can play quality football for us.
Q. What has inside linebackers coach Rick Minter done with that group, especially with someone like LB Jordan Hicks, five games, six games into his career?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I think Rick has done a really nice job with the entire group. A lot of it used to just fall on DeMeco's shoulders, and everybody just always looked at him. I think everybody's taken a little bit more onus and a little bit more on their plate, in terms of being able to make the calls, get everybody lined up, just because DeMeco's not going to be in there every snap. And Jordan is a really intelligent, savvy football player that, as I said before, never really acted like a rookie when he came in here. But, he has really taken to how Rick is teaching in that room right now, and I think our inside linebacker play is a byproduct of that.
Q. What has been the key to turning your running game around so abruptly?
COACH KELLY: Again, our offensive line is executing. We have not changed any schemes; we are doing the same things we have always done. But, I think our offensive line is starting to come together and gel and they are executing and really getting good push at the point of attack.
Q. On RB DeMarco Murray's touchdown run, were there one or two blocks that helped spring him?
COACH KELLY: I think everybody did. When you watched his touchdown run, the entire front, we had two great double teams and both off to the linebackers and they were taking -- both tight ends did a really nice job. Then, DeMarco got up to the free safety and that was the free safety he beat, kind of with a stiff arm and knocked him to the ground. When you have a run play that pops and gets to the free safety, then that means the front seven did their job and they all did their job on that play.
Q. In nickel what has S Chris Maragos shown you?
COACH KELLY: Chris did a really nice job. He's fitting in there, giving us different looks in the safety. It's the ability to now drop Walter and/or Malcolm down. But, you have to have another safety to be able to do that. So there's some good -- there are some different things we are doing, whether Biggs [E.J. Biggers] is in the game or Chris is in the game, that allows us to move Malcolm and Walt because of how Chris is playing there.
Q. Is Murray most effective when he can get his shoulders square to the line, or can you say that about virtually any running back?
COACH KELLY: I think you can probably say that about every running back. I mean, that's what football is. You don't want to play side to side, you want to play downhill.
Q. Is it more so, though, for a guy like that who seems like once he gets moving, that's when he's --
COACH KELLY: No. I mean, again, I would say that about all of them. I think [RB] Ryan [Mathews] is the same way when he gets his shoulders square to the line of scrimmage, same with [RB] Darren [Sproles].
Q. How much do the penalties bother you, it has been an issue all year, and what can you do to reduce them?
COACH KELLY: We've been on the low end in some games where I've been really pleased with them. But, I think the penalties in the league are up. I don't know, did they have more on us yesterday?
COACH KELLY: I think we have been on the low side in almost every game we've played, and that's just how the game has expressed itself. The ones that really bother you are the administrative penalties; we line up again, covered up a receiver, and had two illegal procedure penalties. Those are the ones that you can't -- they are unacceptable. That's on us before the ball -- the pre-snap penalties are the ones you can't accept.
Q. On that subject, what's going on? There doesn't seem to be a special teams play in any game that doesn't draw a flag; have you noticed that?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, E.J. Biggers had a penalty, but I think we had a lot more special teams than that.
Q. I do not mean just the Eagles, I mean everybody. You almost can't run a punt without somebody doing something.
COACH KELLY: Talk to the League. I'd appreciate it if you did.
Q. Is there an emphasis that has not been there in the past?
COACH KELLY: No, they haven't said anything about that.
Q. What has been the key to your punt-return coverage?
COACH KELLY: Our guys covering? I think the group, you have to begin with, we've got some guys that have a great want to -- I think our gunners are doing a really, really good job of forcing the issue to a point where if they are asked to be doubled, in which you have to do when you get a really good gunner and that means the guys on the inside have to do a good job. And when you have some wily veterans like [LB Bryan] Braman and [S Chris] Maragos and those guys in there -- I think Coop [WR Riley Cooper] and [S Jerome] Couplin are doing a good job at the wings for us; those are two new guys that we didn't have that used to be [former Eagle and current RB for the Houston Texans] Chris Polk and [former Eagle] Brad Smith. But I think both of those guys are doing a great job. [TE] Trey Burton is in his second year and has a real good feel for it and Najee is an outstanding special teams player. So I think we have some guys that embrace the role of being on teams. But I also think that because of how well our gunners are playing that all of a sudden when they have to go double them, then the inside guys are making up the difference for us -- and [P] Donnie [Jones] is doing a really good job of directional punting, keeping it away from the returner at certain times and we are changing up how we are doing it. It's not always a directional kick, sometimes he's kicking away and sometimes he's trying to change up the kick. So I think because we are varied and because Donnie can do that -- not a lot of people can. I think that's what happens with Darren right now. You watch the Saints and the Giants, people try to kick away from him, but all of a sudden it changes the kick and we are gaining a lot. You mentioned it last week about the Saints, tried to kick away from Darren and when they did, that's what their punter wasn't real comfortable doing. Therefore, we are gaining yards just because of the kick itself. It's probably a lot harder than people think, and that's why what Donnie is doing has really been very beneficial to us because he's been able to change it up. But, we haven't had any of those missed kicks in those situations.
Q. How much have you looked at the Panthers, and how different do they look from a year ago when you guys played them?
COACH KELLY: We've looked at them extensively. That's the one thing, when you play an extra day, we were in all day yesterday watching Carolina like we normally do on a Monday, but you still have to go play the Giants. They are the same team, but they are -- I know I say it, and people -- they are executing. I think [Panther QB] Cam [Newton] is playing at a really high level right now. [RB] Jonathan Stewart has been healthy; he's just a horse inside, so you have a great running attack. You've got quarterback run that we haven't seen this year that we really have to start to kind of hone in on because Cam is going to carry the ball. I think they lead the NFL in rushing attempts per game because not only do you have the running back, you have the quarterback, and Cam is throwing at a really high level. They have lost some wide outs, they lost [WR Kelvin] Benjamin for the year. But [they] probably have one of the premiere tight ends in [Greg] Olsen right now, who had a huge game against Seattle last week and can cause some problems from a matchup standpoint as a tight end. Defensively, it starts with their two linebackers, who it is the best pair we'll play in [Luke] Kuechly and [Thomas] Davis because they can run sideline to sideline. They don't come off the field and don't have to come off the field in nickel because they are both three-down linebackers and they are doing a really nice job in all three phases. There's a reason they are undefeated, and you can tell in terms of how they are playing right now.
Q. When you look at the film of the red-zone interceptions, are you seeing what Bradford is seeing and maybe it's not a throw that's just not right? Or are you not liking the decisions?
COACH KELLY: No, we're seeing the same things. I think the one to [TE Zach] Ertz was probably a little bit underthrown, I think Sam will tell you the same thing. It was the same issue with the one Riley broke in the Saints game where we thought we had it clean, but then [CB Brandon] Browner came back underneath and put a little bit more air under it and give the receiver a chance to catch it --
Q. When you look at the league as a whole, what do you make of the disparity through six games, in terms of there are five teams that have not had a loss, including the Panthers. Most of those teams have coaches that have been in place for a long time, but generally --
COACH KELLY: [Head Coach of the Atlanta Falcons] Dan Quinn? – Honestly, and I'm not shirking the question, I don't look at the league as a whole. I look at it we have Carolina this week, and that is all I am looking at. I couldn't even tell you who is winning in the AFC until we play those guys. I know we play one part of that division, I know we'll play the east. When we play the Jets, our focus is on the Jets. And then I know we have the Bills, Patriots and Dolphins coming up here at some point in time, but I don't look at overall.
Q. Can I relate to you guys and what you did in the off-season? Changing things over, did you think, looking back now, that it would take a little while to get the motor to fifth gear?
COACH KELLY: I wouldn't use the analogy of driving a car at all.
Q. What would you use?
COACH KELLY: I wouldn't. Again, we take it on a weekly basis. So it's just what do we do now to prepare for Carolina. I don't look at things globally at this point in time. Once you get into the season, on each week it is really it's own individual season and how you do it just because a lot of it is the shuffling of the roster. Now you didn't start -- you had two inside linebacker, Mychal Kendricks and Kiko Alonso, that started against Atlanta for us and they are not available. So now what do we do there? There is not a global perspective, in terms of how you look at it. Really each week is its own individual week. I say the same thing after every game, 'One down, one to go,' and that's how we look at it.
Q. Panthers defensive coordinator, Sean McDermott, and Giants defensive coordinator, Steve Spagnuolo, both coached under former Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson. Are there a lot of similarities and is there a benefit playing them?
COACH KELLY: There are some similarities, but not a lot. I think the one thing that Jim did a great job of, a both Sean and Spags [Steve Spagnuolo] do a great job of, is tailoring their system to their personnel. So it's a different personnel that's in Carolina than there is in New York, and I think that's part of it. I think a lot of what Sean does revolves around [LB] Luke [Kuechly] and [LB Thomas] Davis, and rightly so, because of how good those guys are.
Q. When you look at your offense, you guys had 425 yards last night with the four turnovers. How frustrating are those turnovers? Does it show you how close you guys can be, offensively, without them?
COACH KELLY: The turnovers are always frustrating, especially when you feel like you've got it moving in the right direction. We felt like we had some answers to what they were doing and felt like we could move the football against them. And then the SIW's, self-inflicted wounds, come up. It's just part of growing as an offensive group. We've had production. We've had production in the three years we've been here. I think we've had 24 games of over 400 yards in the last three years, but it's about stopping ourselves and not having the opponents stop us. That's something that we are always striving to correct and always striving to improve.
Q. It is a small sample size, but I think you've lost three out of four after Monday nights since you've been here; what is the challenge with the quick turnaround?
COACH KELLY: It is the same challenge it is for everybody; you're just short a day in preparation.
Q. In what ways have you seen growth from Billy Davis as a defensive coordinator, or is he simply benefitting from improved personnel?
COACH KELLY: I think it is improved personnel, but I also think there's also a comfort level with the players in the system. [LB] Brandon [Graham] is here for three years, [LB] Connor [Barwin] is here for three years. That front seven, basically, with the exception of Jordan Hicks, has been here for a while. And the fact that you have a player like Malcolm that's held the back end together, and now Walt [Walter Thurmond], Nolan, Max [Byron Maxwell], Biggs [E.J. Biggers] and Chris have started to all kind of form a group back there in the secondary has really helped. But I think the one thing that Billy has benefitted is that continuity we have up front because you've had the same D-Line with both those outside linebackers played a ton of snaps for us. Really the only addition at the inside linebacker is Jordan Hicks who again, has really kind of exceeded some people's expectations, not ours, but in terms of what he could handle as a rookie. He kind of got thrust into the role because of the injuries, but when you have some continuity from that standpoint, those guys understand the system to the point where they can make tweaks, they can make adjustments. When the offense presents something to you, when Billy, Cory or Azz [defensive line/assistant head coach Jerry Azzinaro], or one of those guys is talking about the adjustment, those guys are finishing their sentence to the adjustment, not going, 'Hey, they did this, what do we do?' They already understand what the counter is to it. So I think what Billy is really benefitting from is that that whole group has a good continuity, and as the back end gets together with more experience, I really see that group coming together.