Q. What did you think of G/T Dennis Kelly's performance?
COACH KELLY: I thought Dennis played really well. He first started [at] tackle for us. [He] did a really good job in protection; [he] did a great job on combination blocks with [G/T] Matt Tobin. I thought both those guys on the right side played really well. I was excited for him. He has worked extremely hard since I've gotten here and put himself in that situation, but I thought Dennis played really well for us.
Q. QB Sam Bradford spoke highly of the way WR Jordan Matthews practiced last week. What happened during the week that stood out about the way Matthews practiced?
COACH KELLY: Well, I think all of them -- and this has been our best week of training since I've been here, to be honest with you. I think the whole group practiced well, but I think Jordan, in particular -- the one thing is if you're in a slump, it takes someone with a great work ethic to get out of the slump, and that's what Jordan has. He worked extremely hard [and] did a lot of work actually after our reps on offense were done, mimicking [Cowboys WR] Dez Bryant for our defense and did a really good job at that, too. The kid's tireless in terms of his ability to work and what he can do and it showed; that's what we talk about. You sink to your level of training, and he trained at a really high level last week and played at a really high level last night.
Q. Yesterday, the pace on offense seemed to be more like what you guys would probably want. How did it get there yesterday? How important is that to the success going forward?
COACH KELLY: Well, we got first downs, and that's what we're striving to do. We can get first downs to keep drives continuing to go. That's what we talk about, get that first first down. When you have a three-and-out, it's tough to get into a rhythm, but once we get that first first down we can kind of get moving. When we do, then we can play a little bit faster.
Q. What happened between Wednesday when WR Nelson Agholor said he was going to play and then the game-time decision to hold him back?
COACH KELLY: Nothing. If you ask Nelson two minutes after his injury [he said], "I'm going the next day." I mean, that's just the type of kid that Nelson is, but we're not going to put him in harm's way. He has worked extremely hard at his rehab, but it's not an injury that's going to take two seconds and [he's] going to come back.There's a certain amount of time you have to work. He practiced every day last week, and I just felt that he needed a little bit more time, and I wasn't going to rush him back from it. It also speaks to the type of guy Nelly is. Nelly thought he could go when he first hurt himself [and said], "I'm fine." And then you hear from the doctors [that] it may be a little bit of time here. But, he's back practicing, training. We'll monitor him again this week, and hopefully we can get him back for Miami.
Q. The team is a little banged up at Wide Receiver outside particularly, with WR Riley Cooper also ailing; do you foresee anything changing?
COACH KELLY: We haven't talked to the guys today, but I don't foresee any roster moves if that is what you mean.
Q. On WR Jordan Matthews' touchdown, it seemed like there were a whole lot of different things that were going on; TE Brent Celek was blocking Cowboys DE Greg Hardy and WR Josh Huff throwing a block downfield. Can you describe everything that was going on in that play?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, it was a play-action pass off of our run game, which obviously when we get our run game going, you know, the play-action pass off of it is a big part of it. [TE] Brent [Celek] was responsible for the backside edge, and ended up getting matched up one-on-one with [DE Greg] Hardy. [He] gave a great effort in terms of giving [QB] Sam [Bradford] enough time to throw in the pocket. The rest of the guys kept Sam clean in the pocket. [WR] Jordan [Matthews] ran a great route. Then the run after the catch was huge because I think the [Cowboys] DB covering him kind of slipped, so there was some separation there. Jordan, with his speed, kind of beat the free safety and then as he turns upfield, the last guy left was the corner. [WR] Josh [Huff] had transitioned really well because Josh had run a post route on the play; he's really the first look on the play. But a lot of guys give up after the ball's not thrown to them, then they become spectators. Those are not the type of receivers we have. They know that once the ball is not thrown to you, you can still be a viable option in terms of blocking to spring us. Josh threw a great block at the goal line, and Jordan made the free safety miss, turned the corner and got the ball in the end zone.
Q. There's a report that LB Jordan Hicks could be sidelined for two to four weeks. Is that your understanding of it?
COACH KELLY: No. It's not my understanding of it. He's supposed to have an MRI this afternoon. I don't have any information from yesterday. They [the doctors] said he was going to get an MRI.
Q. How did T Lane Johnson grade out at LT? Obviously, it was a tall order going up against Cowboys DE Greg Hardy, but how did he do?
COACH KELLY: I thought Lane played really well, too. For not being in that position since he's gotten in the league, he had played left tackle in college, but since he has been in the league, he has been primarily a right tackle for us. We didn't really move him until Wednesday. He started to get some snaps over there depending on if [T] Jason [Peters] was going to go or not. So to make that transition -- and it's a difficult transition to do in just a couple of days, the footwork's entirely different. It is a lot of different things. Obviously assignment-wise, he knows what he's doing. He knows when a play's called what that tackle's supposed to do, but from a footwork standpoint, it was very different for him. I thought, considering the situation, he did a really nice job.
Q. Has QB Sam Bradford's pocket awareness incrementally gotten better? If so, what have you seen there and why has it gotten better?
COACH KELLY: I think everything in Sam's game has gotten better. As I've said before, I've seen Sam improve on a weekly basis here. We're in game eight. He's better in game eight than he was in game one. I think he's more comfortable in terms of what we're doing. In terms of where we are as an offense with a lot of these guys, it's kind of like there was a movie being shown and he showed up halfway through it. And then he's supposed to figure out what's going on and what happened in the first half of the movie because he hasn't been with us for the amount of time that [TE] Brent [Celek] has been here and some of the other guys, like [C Jason] Kelce, have been here. It's something you have to get through reps; it's not something that can be forced. He works extremely hard at it. He's in this building all the time, watching film, studying, working at it. We've seen constant improvement out of Sam. I hope it continues and he'll continue to play even better as we move forward.
Q. What was that movie?
COACH KELLY: It was Gone with the Wind. [Laughs]
Q. Can that same thing be said about RB DeMarco Murray as far as coming in?
COACH KELLY: I think it can be said for anybody. We do have some new players here, so to think that on Day One they're just going to step in and plug-and-play [snapping fingers], it doesn't happen. This is a league where you have to practice, you have to train, and you have to get in sync with the 10 other guys that you're working with. I think all those guys are just starting to feel more comfortable.
Q. Can you afford, at this point, to look at last night as some kind of turning point towards that consistency?
COACH KELLY: I never look at things like that. It's always about the next challenge. We talk about that all the time. The next thing for us is to have a real good day on Tuesday. Maybe as you write a story at the end of the season, [you think] what point was it at when you go back? But I'll just take you back to a year ago at Thanksgiving; we beat these guys to go 9-3. Then what happened? We go 1-3 down the stretch, so that wasn't a turning point game for us. It's always what you do next, and that's why I try to make that reference for. I'm not deflecting it when people say, "Was that a big game for you?" Every game is a big game. If we don't do something after this victory after Dallas, then this game wasn't a turning point in the season. We can't just say, "Hey, we played a good game last night, that's our turning point; let's go kick our feet up."
We need to go back to work. What we realized is we had a really good week of training last week. If we have a good week of training, there's a carryover in the game. That's what we're trying to get accomplished.
Q. On defense, what made WR Cole Beasley a tough matchup?
COACH KELLY: Well, number one, it's him. He's a tough matchup for a lot of people because he's so good at getting in and out of breaks. The tough matchup in that is that they also have [TE Jason] Witten and they also have [WR] Dez [Bryant] at full speed, so who are you going to double? You can't double three of them; if you do, you don't have enough guys. Sometimes they caught us when we were doubling Witten or Dez, and now Beasley is in a one-on-one. That's what happens when you have three really good weapons in their offense. You know, it's a credit to him. I think he's a real difficult matchup for a lot of people.
Q. Talking about taking it one week at a time, what can a last-second win, especially, do for the morale of a team after it has been two weeks since they have played? Even though it was late, I'm sure it was a pretty pumped-up plane ride home.
COACH KELLY: Yeah, they were excited, and rightly so, in terms of what you did and what you got accomplished. Again, that's in the past. It's what we do moving forward. If we don't go out and have a good Tuesday, then we didn't use the fuel from what we got on Sunday night.
Q. There were some early third-down throws that were short of the sticks. I wasn't sure if it was the route, or was Bradford just taking what he was given?
COACH KELLY: Taking what the defense was giving. When you run a third-down play, not every route is at the sticks because you might be high-lowing a linebacker. Not everybody is going to be at 12 yards on third-and-12 because you have to have someone over the backer and under the backer. If the backer takes away the deep throw, then sometimes you have to throw it down and let that guy try to run for it.
Q. Do you see a pattern of where they're taking that too much? I know you have receivers that can get yards after the catch in situations, but...
COACH KELLY: Do I see a pattern? No.
Q. The run defense the last two games has not been where it was previously; is this because LB DeMeco Ryans isn't playing?
COACH KELLY: No, I don't think that. I just think we went up against a good group that ran the ball well. Obviously Carolina, I think, is the best rushing team in the league statistically. We went up some pretty good guys, so I would give credit to the other team.
Q. Did you get a sense that your running game, especially in the fourth quarter and overtime, was wearing Dallas down or that they were getting tired out there?
COACH KELLY: I don't know if it was wearing them down or getting tired. I think sometimes that takes away from what our offensive line can do. I thought we ran the ball well on our touchdown drive in the second quarter there when we moved the ball down the field to get that score. But I thought we ran the ball well in those situations, too. I thought our line, since the second game of the year, has really executed from a fundamentals standpoint. They're sticking on blocks better; they're covering people up and giving our backs an opportunity to run. Both of those guys run extremely hard, so they can run through on tackles. Sometimes it's going to be a dirty run where the line gets two yards and the back gets two yards. But now it's second- and-6, and that's keeping us in front of the sticks.
Q. Do you expect LB DeMeco Ryans and T Jason Peters back?
COACH KELLY: I don't have any expectations right now. Again, I don't meet with the trainers until after this, so we haven't had any updates on anybody.
Q. In 29 snaps, what did LB Kiko Alonso show you?
COACH KELLY: I thought Kiko played well. I know those guys were pleased. It's his first time back since I think the last Dallas game. We also knew we got to ease him into this thing; you can't just continue to throw him out there and then all of a sudden we lose him. They were pleased with how he played in terms of how [inside linebackers coach] Rick [Minter] graded those guys out at inside linebacker, so we'll see if we can build on that for him.
Q. Bradford's passes to TE Zach Ertz and the other one to RB DeMarco Murray, are those examples of the familiarity that you're talking about that maybe it doesn't exist?
COACH KELLY: I think it's a combination of both. You go back to the Jets game and he threw two of those same balls but we dropped them. We hit [RB Darren] Sproles going down the sideline in an unbelievable throw, but we don't catch it. [RB] Ryan [Mathews] dropped one coming out of the backfield. It's a matter of the receivers made plays and the quarterback made a play.
Q. How important were P Donnie Jones' punts last night?
COACH KELLY: Huge. I mean, that's really an unsung guy for us right now in terms of how he's punting the football. I think we had four or five inside the 20. Whenever you can flip the field in a positive manner that way, and making people have to go the distance, so to speak; it's been huge. I think our punting game this year has been really, really good, with the exception of the block we had in the first Dallas game. Not only is it Donnie punting it, but I think our coverage has been outstanding also.
Q. On the kickoff coverage, on the long return, what happened there?
COACH KELLY: We just had a couple guys got too deep and the ball got by them where they needed to squeeze in a little bit more and stay on top of the ball.
Q. Lane Johnson, he's kind of a quiet guy. Is he evolving into a leader on that offensive line?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I mean, what I see in Lane is the same. I think the first thing about being a good leader is being consistent in terms of your work ethic and your approach. It's very difficult for you to say, "Do as I say, not as I do." But I think he leads because of his preparation; he leads because of his work ethic. I think that's what that group of guys can kind of look to. When a guy talks about doing things the right way: how he approaches the weight room, how he approaches the classroom, how he approaches on the field, is the most important thing. It's not really what you speak; it's about what you do from an action standpoint. He's always been that type of guy. Has a tremendous work ethic.
Q. On Beasley's second touchdown, was there a miscommunication?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, we should have had a double and then thought Beasley was going out, so went to double Dez, but Beasley came back inside. [S] Malcolm [Jenkins] thought he was going to have to help back inside.
Q. In terms of going into the game, how did RB Ryan Mathews feel?
COACH KELLY: I still think he's a little sore. He did not practice really later in the week. I think he went out Tuesday and didn't feel very good the rest of the week. I don't know, there may have been a rep or two there. [We] really didn't get a lot out of him during the week. We weren't sure if we were going to have him. The same thing with him is that we kind of had to limit what he did. I think he ended up with 11 carries and DeMarco ended up with 18, but he was really limited going in. We were happy that we had him. We used Sprolesy [Darren Sproles] a little bit more wide out because of some of the injuries. That's kind of the great thing about having Darren. But, if Darren is going out and spending a lot of time out wide, then really you're one a two-rotation running back spot.
Q. The starts of games, offensively and defensively, it seems like you're always in a hole, trying to figure out what the other team is up to. Is there any way out of that to get the other team to wonder what you're up to?
COACH KELLY: That's the plan. Our plan isn't to start in a hole. But I think our guys -- you have to also credit the other team in terms of how they play and how they execute early in the game. But I think the one thing about our guys, they're an extremely gritty bunch that will continue to scratch and claw and fight until the end.
Q. When you run the ball as well as you did yesterday, does it make it an easy decision when you have fourth-and-short to go for it?
COACH KELLY: I don't know if it makes it an easy decision. My decisions are based upon what's gone on within the game itself. There have been other games where we haven't had success doing anything offensively. Hopefully you want to pin them deep and hope your defense can play. There's a lot to that, yeah.
Q. After the game, you joked about playing at 1 p.m. this week; is that something that matters to you?
COACH KELLY: No, that's just a joke. I wouldn't read much into it. Just a joke. Don't go too far with it.
Q. That's why I'm asking.
COACH KELLY: Okay.
Q. Is there any teaching point on the two penalties on CB Byron Maxwell in the fourth quarter?
COACH KELLY: Teaching point is the referee threw the flag, so it is a penalty.
Q. Did he do everything right in your eyes?
COACH KELLY: Teaching point is the referee threw the flag, so that's a penalty.