Q. Not many guys have experienced kind of the double-whammy that QB Sam Bradford has the last couple years, getting hit with two ACLs. Do you think he's mentally over the hurdle of the two injuries?
COACH KELLY: Mentally over the injuries? I think he is now, yeah, I do. I don't see him favor his leg or think about his leg in terms of anything we're doing from a training standpoint or from a game standpoint. I don't see him kind of doing anything from that standpoint.
Q. In the last game it seemed he was able to move around in the pocket a little better than maybe he had before. Have you seen that and do you think that is just him getting comfortable coming back from the injury?
COACH KELLY: Again, I don't think it has anything to do with the injury. I've seen him move around since he got cleared to play pretty well.
Q. WR Jordan Matthews had his best statistical game last year against Carolina. How did that game express itself in order to allow him to do that?
COACH KELLY: They played a lot more man coverage, I think, in that game. He got matched up a little bit a couple times. They played two different nickels -- a big nickel and a little nickel -- and he got matched up on two different guys in that game. So just a little bit more man-free, and a lot of times in man-free, we are always looking for the matchup.
Q. The Panthers have new personnel in that secondary. Does that change anything they do in the back end there? I know the defensive scheme is pretty much the same because defensive coordinator Sean McDermott and Head Coach Ron Rivera are still there, but do they do anything differently because of their new personnel?
COACH KELLY: They are very similar to what they have done in the past. They are really well-coached and the one thing that I think Sean does a great job of is he always makes adjustments. He always has a way to, if you're hurting him with something, he's going to make a counter move. So [there is a] game that goes on within the game and he does a really nice job with it. You can see it in each [Panthers] game, whether it was the Houston game or the Saints game, if somebody beat them with something or hurt them with something, he comes back and makes an adjustment on that and I think that's part of what makes them a really good defense.
Q. Panthers LB Thomas Davis has really good stats this year. Is he playing as well as his stats would suggest?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, he is. He's a true three-down linebacker, he's sideline-to-sideline, and [he's] one of the fastest linebackers in the league. Now that you have [Panthers LB Luke] Kuechly back with him, that's why I said that pair is the best pair we'll face. They don't come off the field and they shouldn't come off the field. They can cover tight ends and they can cover running backs and then they can run sideline-to-sideline. I think his statistics are where they are because Luke was out for a little bit, but now with Luke back, you have both those guys in there and that's a tall task for us.
Q. Why is WR Riley Cooper able to get open deep more than last year?
COACH KELLY: A lot of it is just the coverage dictated. We are seeing a little bit more man now. Last year we saw a lot more zone. Last year was like 60-40 [percent] zone and right now I think it's 51-49 [percent] man. So I think it's just how people are defending us now compared to in the past. It's skewed back a little bit towards maybe where it was closer to our first year [in 2013]. If you're going to play man coverage, then we are going to try to get some matchups that are favorable to us. The one post we hit [the Giants] on, I think in the second half, it was man coverage; it was press man. [Cooper] beat his guy off the line of scrimmage, the safety was leaning the other way and Sam came back to him on the post route.
Q. Why are you seeing more man this year?
COACH KELLY: Why more man this year? I don't know.
Q. So you're seeing a lot more man this year?
COACH KELLY: Just this year, so far.
Q. What about compared to two years ago?
COACH KELLY: Two years ago it was 60-40 [percent] man-zone. Last year it was 60-40 [percent] zone-man. Right now it's 51-49 [percent] man-zone.
Q. When you look at Carolina's running game, they really commit to it. I think they are running 32-to-33 times a game.
COACH KELLY: Yeah, they lead the league in rush attempts.
Q. What's the challenge there, knowing that they are just going to keep hammering at it?
COACH KELLY: Well, the challenge is they are going to try to pound you and they have got a back in Jonathan [RB Jonathan Stewart] who a big, physical downhill running back. And then you have a quarterback – and it's different than other zone-read-type teams you face where it' a quick, agile quarterback that's going to break outside -- in Cam [QB Cam Newton] who can pound you, too, because he's -- unlike many quarterbacks -- got to be the biggest quarterback in the league from that standpoint in terms of rushing -- him and [Steelers QB Ben] Roethlisberger. But [the Steelers] don't run Ben; [the Panthers] run Cam. So I think they are just going to try to wear you down and pound you a little bit. I think their offensive line is built that way. Their running game is built that way, so it's can we stand in there and go to toe-to-toe with them, is going to be the challenge for us.
Q. A lot of times when you face an option quarterback the idea is to try to hit him as much as you can and try to influence the offense out of that stuff. Does that change with a bigger guy like Newton who can kind of hit your guys back?
COACH KELLY: No, I mean, we're not going to not hit him. I mean, that's not the other option is it?
Q. But there is an idea, normally, that even on an exchange between the quarterback and running back, you want to hit the quarterback. You want to make sure the quarterback --
COACH KELLY: We don't coach to hit guys on an exchange when they don't have the football. We coach our guys on defense to tackle the guy who has the ball; we don't say, 'Hey, I know he handed it off, but hit him.' I think that's a waste of a player because you're trying to tackle the guy who has the football. That's our theory defensively.
Q. You had some good fortune with spying Newton last year. Is that a similar strategy you'll employ this year or will you tweak that?
COACH KELLY: Again, I think Cam last year was different. Cam was coming off an ankle surgery and he wasn't really running. They weren't really running him that much. He's playing different this year. I've said it before, I don't think a lot of the things we did last year are really what we are going to be doing this year.
Q. T Jason Peters seems to be playing at a level that we're accustomed to. You said early on he wasn't playing like he typically does. Was that because of the struggles of the entire unit or did you see something perhaps with him that maybe he was --
COACH KELLY: No. I think there's a very high standard for Jason, so I don't think Jason played poorly at all. You're talking about a perennial Pro Bowl player. So if J gives up one play where a guy beats him around the edge, it's like, 'Oh, my God, what's wrong with Jason Peters?' But if it's anybody else, you don't say that. So if he blocks his guy 79 times and on the 80th time he gets beat, 'It's what's wrong with J.P.?' I think it's just that we have such a high standard for him and he has such a high standard for himself. But he did play his best game this past week and I think he's playing really, really well right now.
Q. How did LB Mychal Kendricks do yesterday in his first day back at practice?
COACH KELLY: He did good. He'll be back out there again today and we'll see where he is. Again, the thing with Mychal is the consecutive days, so what happens today? And we still have Friday and Saturday. He did good yesterday and we'll see where he goes today.
Q. How is WR Nelson Agholor coming along?
COACH KELLY: He's doing things with Shaun [director of sports science and reconditioning Shuan Huls] and he's coming along. I don't know, really, what his status will be this weekend. It's kind of up in the air. But he's progressing and working hard at it.
Q. The game seemed to dictate more 12 personnel because you were ahead in the second half. How is TE Zach Ertz improving as a blocker?
COACH KELLY: Zach has improved as a blocker and it gives us some flexibility. We run a lot with Zach in the game with [TE] Brent [Celek] out of the game. So it's -- I think he knew it's something he had to work on to increase his game to be a complete tight end and I think he's done a nice job with that.
Q. When you were the coordinator at Johns Hopkins, how would you describe your scheme and where did you pull those concepts from?
COACH KELLY: We're talking Baltimore in 1991?
COACH KELLY: All right. (Laughter). This is good. We were a 4-3 team, played a little match coverage. Played more match coverage than zone coverage, just because we had some smart kids that could do a good job with that. Had really good middle linebacker, [former Johns Hopkins LB] Stu Markley that ran around and made a lot of tackles. Most of the stuff I brought is when I was coaching at New Hampshire and I went down there.
Q. When you were looking at T Lane Johnson in the 2013 draft, how much did his athleticism influence you guys compared to like some of the other tackles who were available at the top of the draft?
COACH KELLY: Lane was a guy we always felt, because I think one of the things with Lane is he had experience. We had [T] Jason Peters here so we wanted someone that could be a right tackle that could eventually move to left tackle and he had experience because he played right tackle I think his junior year before he moved over to left tackle. So he had some experience. I think that versatility is something we were really impressed with and obviously his athleticism at that position is something you're always looking for and I think we felt that he probably had the most upside out of all those guys just because of the limited amount of time he had on the offensive side of the ball. He came in, he was a quarterback at the junior college level, played some tight end, played some defensive end, played right tackle, then left tackle. So he really only had about 11 games with him as a left tackle but we felt with his athletic ability and his ability to jump, how explosive he was, his ability to run, that he was going to develop into a really good tackle. But the versatility was really a key part in that, too.
Q. When Bradford had some issues with some throws, they have been underthrown. What is that usually typically a product of? Why does that usually happen for a quarterback when he underthrows something?
COACH KELLY: Sometimes you're trying to guide it instead of letting it rip. You're trying to place it instead of just taking it and ripping it. There's one --
Q. It's never footwork issue in terms of --
COACH KELLY: Yeah, it could be. There are a lot of different factors that could be involved in it, but that was just one I was giving you.
Q. Every time we ask about the running back rotation, you talk about Running Backs Coach Duce Staley. What is it about Duce that gives you the confidence to just go with what he says? He's the one guy that was kind here before you and was kind of left on the staff.
COACH KELLY: We do that with everybody, though. I don't just let Duce roll his position. [Wide Receivers Coach] Bob Bicknell is in charge of receivers, [Tight Ends Coach] Justin [Peelle] is in charge of the tight ends, [Defensive Line/Assistant Head Coach] Jerry [Azzinaro] does the defensive line, [Inside Linebackers Coach] Rick [Minter] does the inside linebackers. I think that's what you do – you hire coaches and you let them coach. You can't sit there during the game, especially when you're the play caller just say, 'Alright, I need this guy in, I need that guy.' It's all part of what we do during the week. There are calls we make from personnel groups that get guys in the game, and that's specific to it. But besides that, if we are just staying in 11, then it's his responsibility to watch the backs and make sure we have fresh bodies in there so that the defense isn't getting a tired running back. We feel like we can wear defenses down. But one of the reasons we can wear defenses down is that we have the ability to rotate our skill guys. I think we are doing it. You look at the snaps we are getting at wide receiver, they are pretty fairly distributed because those guys are subbing in. But Bob is doing that with the wide outs and again Justin is doing it with the tight end and Duce is doing it with the running backs.
Q. WR Jordan Matthews, he played on the outside the other night in 12 personnel. How is he coming along as an outside receiver?
COACH KELLY: He's fine. We can use him and the thing with that is we had a couple guys in the game get banged up, so if we are going to be in 12 personnel, we have to get our two best receivers on the field. Jordan was one of them because [WR Josh] Huff was banged up for a little bit then came back. Coop [WR Riley Cooper] was banged up but then came back. So we were thin a little bit for a little while there at receiver, but Jordan can play any position for us, outside receiver, right side, left side or inside.
Q. How is he coming along overall in the sense that he had a very productive first two weeks and production slipped a bit thereafter? Jordan's production overall, how do you see it?
COACH KELLY: I think the game has ebbs and flows and sometimes you have weeks where your number is going to get called a lot based upon how people cover you and sometimes you're not, but Jordan handles it great. As long as we're winning, Jordan's a happy camper.