Q. There is a report that University of Southern California reached out to you in the last week or so. Have they reached out to you?
COACH KELLY: No, I've never spoken to anybody from USC. I've never emailed anybody from USC. I never got a phone call from anybody from USC. I have never been in contact with anybody at Southern California.
Q. Does the same hold true with your agent?
COACH KELLY: Same thing. I'm not involved with any college jobs. They said it before, the same thing happened a year ago for Florida. I have great respect for all of those schools. I think USC just hired a coach who is a heck of a coach and he'll do a great job there, but I haven't been involved with any jobs or discussed anything with any colleges.
Q. There are two separate reports: one is saying that USC touched base, and another one specifically saying that you met with them on Friday in Philadelphia?
COACH KELLY: I wasn't in Philly on Friday, so that's wrong. I haven't met with them. I haven't talked to them. I haven't had a conversation with anybody from USC.
Q. Just in general, how has adversity that you guys are facing affected your commitment to this job and your desire to stay here?
COACH KELLY: It hasn't at all. I can't control what's written in terms of other schools and things like that.
Q. I'm not talking about that.
COACH KELLY: I know. I'm answering the question. It hasn't at all. So what is written or what is said, I've been totally committed since the day I got here on January 16th of 2013, and that hasn't changed. I'm here.
Q. So is it important for your players to know that you're not looking at college jobs?
COACH KELLY: I've never been looking at college jobs. But, again, I can't control what is written. I was never looking at the Florida job last year. I said the same thing when they hired [Head Coach of the Florida Gators] Jim McElwain, they did a great job; Jim has done a great job. I never talked to anybody from Florida. I can't control what's written, but I guess there are no rules that people can write, tweet or whatever. I don't know the rules. They can say whatever they want. But I've never discussed another college job since I came here.
Q. This is where you want to be?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, and I've said that a hundred times. I don't know how many more times I have to say it when it continues to come up. I can't control that, so I don't have to say that to my players every single time. I've never been involved in any other job since I came here. When I got here on January 16th, 2013, this is where I wanted to be.
Q. How did you spend your weekend, and how do you fix this?
COACH KELLY: Thanks, let's get back on to football. [Laughs] We went through the game obviously, and then got a jump start on what we can do for Patriots preparation because they weren't playing until last night late. But you could watch the other games that they had, and kind of in an orderly fashion, the same thing we do whenever we play a Thursday game, you get a little bit of a jump start. I got a chance to watch our game a couple more times than I normally do in a normal week. And then get a jump start in terms of getting ready for our preparation on our game on Sunday in New England.
Q. Are you confident that defensive coordinator Bill Davis is the guy to be able to get this done?
COACH KELLY: Yes, I'm very confident in Billy and all those guys on the defensive side of the ball.
Q. Why are you confident in Davis?
COACH KELLY: I've seen Billy do a great job. Up until two weeks ago, I thought we were doing some really good things on the defensive side of the ball. The last two weeks, obviously, we haven't played as well as we can as a team, on that side of the ball or in any phase of the game in the last two weeks offensively, defensively or special teams. But I've seen him coach, and I know Billy knows football. I know Billy is a good communicator, teacher and a really good football coach.
Q. Have you been able to figure out what has gone wrong the last two weeks?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, and I say this all the time and truly mean it: it's not one thing [that] if we fix 'this', we're good, everything is straight and the score's going to be changed the other way. There are break downs that occur that have to be corrected. Sometimes it's communication. Sometimes it's a physical break down where we may miss a tackle or a block, or we don't catch a pass. It's a physical thing; it is not a mental thing. But there are too many of them right now for us to be consistent as a football team. There are times offensively when we moved the football, but we need to string more drives together. We just can't string a drive together and then go out the next time on the field and have a touchdown drive and a three-and-out. It's really just a consistency thing.
Q. QB Sam Bradford practiced full on Wednesday, is he ready for the week?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, Wednesday is the day before the game, so it's full because -- we don't ask our guys to do a whole heck of a lot. He threw on Wednesday. But, again, it's not a -- it's full because it's an hour practice the day before the game, but it's not what a normal Wednesday during our normal work week, or our normal Thursday. We'll see where he is tomorrow. He'll practice tomorrow. I just don't know exactly where we are from a throwing standpoint with him. He threw a little bit on Thursday in Detroit. He wasn't ready to play last Thursday, obviously, but we hope he progresses to a point. And the big test will be tomorrow in terms of him throwing the ball around and seeing if there is residual soreness in terms of being able to continue.
Q. How does having an injury in the non-throwing arm affect how Bradford throws?
COACH KELLY: The stability on that side, where he is. And the other point is can he take a hit? If you've got some instability in your left shoulder, and it's not his shoulder, it's his AC. If you have some instability in there, you're susceptible to something if you get hit. Can he handle that? Can he take a hit? It's not something that's going to affect him long-term.
Q. What are some of the things that have jumped out at you now that you have looked at the tape?
COACH KELLY: A couple of the mental assignments, I think, that were uncharacteristic speaking on the offensive side of the ball. And the communication part of it, I think, up front, was a little bit surprising in terms of us facing a team that really didn't do a ton. They played extremely hard, but they didn't run a ton of schemes against us in terms of what they did to us. Defensively, obviously, I thought [Lions QB Matthew] Stafford had an unbelievable game in terms of where he threw the football and even some of the passes that were dropped. The one he threw down the sideline to [Lions TE Brandon] Pettigrew was as good of a throw as I've seen. Fortunately for us, Pettigrew dropped it, but we had [LB] Connor [Barwin] in a trail position and he put the ball exactly where it needed to be. The biggest thing for us, I think, some of the match-ups with the running backs that have usually been pluses for us got exploited a little bit in the pass coverage stuff. We had the long screen pass and we had those two option routes by the running back that I think affected us.
Q. Have you met with Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie at all over the last two weeks?
COACH KELLY: Met with him?
COACH KELLY: No. I mean, I talk to him all the time. He's at practice most of the time. I talked to him earlier today because he's not here; he's going to a league meeting. So I talked to him Monday on the phone, but I didn't have a specific meeting with him or anything.
Q. What kind of message are you getting from him? Do you have the assurances that you'll be able to see this through?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I'm not looking for any assurances or anything. But we've never had any conversations other than the next goal is to beat the New England Patriots and what are we going to do in terms of facing the Patriots, game planning and things like that? That's all we ever talked about is who the next opponent is.
Q. What did you see from DB Eric Rowe on Thursday against the Lions?
COACH KELLY: I thought Eric competed. You look at the one pass for the touchdown right there on the one to [Lions WR] Calvin [Johnson] in the corner on the shorter one was probably as good a throw and as good a catch as I've seen. I'm not sure there is another receiver in the NFL that could have made the catch because of Calvin's length and his ability to turn his body and go get that. I thought the coverage actually was as tight as it probably could be; I thought he did it for an extended playing time. I think he has got some things he can learn and grow from, but I think we were impressed with how he competed out there.
Q. Are your inside linebackers killing you defensively?
COACH KELLY: I wouldn't say 'killing us' is the word, but I think we've had some break downs there that we normally don't have at that position. Again, those are some of the plays -- we had three big pass plays from the running backs in that game that I think hurt us in that game.
Q. Are LB Mychal Kendricks and LB Kiko Alonso still trying to catch up to the speed of everybody else?
COACH KELLY: I think both of them are different. I think Kiko's a little bit behind. I think Mychal is fully healed now. When you watch him run around, I think he has made some plays on special teams for us, but it's just a matter of those guys putting everything together.
Q. Are there any lineup changes that you're considering based on performance?
COACH KELLY: We'll look at everything, obviously, when we get back out on the field on Tuesday. But there is nothing drastic at this point in time that we're going to do. We have a set roster. There are not guys on the street right now that we're saying, 'Hey, let's go get these six guys and flip it out.' There is a reason those guys are available at this point in time.
Q. There are back-ups.
COACH KELLY: Yeah, there are back-ups and we've told those guys that there is an opportunity to go get some playing time. But you also have to merit playing time. It's not just change for the sake of change, and just flip this out. They also have an opportunity every day when we're out here training Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, to show us they deserve more plain playing time.
Q. What does WR Miles Austin bring to this team?
COACH KELLY: He has got a veteran presence in our wide receiver room. I think him and [WR Riley] Cooper are probably sharing a left receiver spot. They haven't had a ton of targets on that side. But I think when you put the two of them together they've got, I think, about 30 catches and around 500 yards, so we kind of look at that as one position.
Q. Doesn't a wide receiver that's that deep on the depth chart normally play special teams? So why doesn't Miles Austin?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, it's just where he fits in terms of what we do scheme-wise. Usually for us, our fifth receiver or fourth receiver has been a younger guy. So it's a little bit more of a teams-oriented guy that can spell you a little bit at the receiver spot. Miles is in a different category than that, a little bit older guy. Coop [WR Riley Cooper] does play some special teams for us; he's our wing on our punt team. But, again, we look at that as those two guys form one position.
Q. Do you still feel like staying the course is the best option right now? Or are there fundamental changes that need to be made by you and your approach in order to turn this around?
COACH KELLY: No, I think we're going to do what we do. As we prepare and get ready to go play the Patriots, there are not fundamental changes. We're not going to put the wishbone in and say, 'Hey, let's change what we do offensively, or now we're going to put in a three-three stacked defense this week and try to out-scheme people.' You're not going to out scheme people this week by changing your schemes at this point in time during the season. I think that there's an opportunity in front of us, and we all understand what our opportunity is in front of us, and we'll prepare and go do that.
Q. What kind of input do you have on defensive adjustments that need to be made for the game?
COACH KELLY: We talk; I'm on the head set with those guys. I know what's going on, and I'm aware of what's going on. We have conversations.
Q. Do you ever typically say, 'I want 'this''?
COACH KELLY: No, usually it's a discussion. It's not, 'Hey, I'd like to do 'this'.' And I don't get, 'No, we're not going to do 'that'. It's [a conversation of] what are we doing here? Why aren't we doing this? How about this? It's a conversation that goes on.
Q. What do you think of Bill Davis when he has had to make adjustments? How do you think he has handled those?
COACH KELLY: I think Billy has done a nice job; he has done a really nice job. I don't think we've played well the last two weeks defensively, but I look at the whole overall what we're doing. And sometimes I look at it from a lot of different aspects, but I think Billy has done a really good job.
Q. Do you contemplate going slower on offense? You had the situation in the second quarter when the Lions had three pretty decent, long scoring drives, and you guys punted it back to them within a minute. Do you contemplate going slower on offense to give the defense a chance to rest at all?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, but at that point we were down, so we're trying to see if we can get points scored. So I don't think our message going out on offense was, 'Let's go slower and go three-and-out and turn the ball back over to them.' We're trying to make plays. When you look at that opening drive, we moved the football. We ended up kicking a field goal that we missed. But then we came back out again and thought we did a nice job and drove the ball down the field. When [TE] Brent [Celek] scored, we finished at the end of the first quarter and into the second quarter. So I felt like we were moving the football. I didn't look at it as, 'We're going to go three-and-out, so let's see if we can extend the timing on the clock' or anything like that.
Q. After these last two games, do you worry about the confidence and psyche of the team, and how do you deal with that?
COACH KELLY: I think anytime you're not successful, you worry about the mindset of your team going in. Part of that that we talk about all the time is: execution fuels emotion. If we're not executing, then we're not going to play with a lot of confidence; that's just human nature. If you're going out and not having success, then it's tough for you to say, 'We've got a lot of confidence in this.' But I've seen this team this year play with confidence. We played with confidence when we were playing down in Dallas. I think you had it in all phases of the game in that game, and that is the fleeting thing: you go from one week to the next, and the teams that are really good can consistently do that. That's what we need to do. We need to be consistent in that approach.
Q. How does it affect you? You're a coach not used to losing this many games. How does it impact you?
COACH KELLY: I think when you ask any coach, it doesn't matter. You're not looking at it as, 'I haven't lost this many games, oh, God, what's going on with me?' It's we lost. What can we do to win? That is what our mindset is. It's not we lost three and now our record isn't a winning record and we're concerned with what that part of it is. We're not concerned with it. We're concerned with whatever that next game is that next week, what our approach is and what we need to do to beat a really good New England Patriot team.
Q. Do you think you need to change your approach in dealing with the players in the locker room and how you're getting them ready for the game and how you game plan?
COACH KELLY: We'll look at everything. I think that when you do, you're conscious of not just changing because you say, 'All right, now we're not going to talk to them. Now we won't have meetings the day before the game or we won't have meetings the night before the game because we've had them and we haven't won.' I don't think that's how you approach it.
Q. How would you grade the play of CB Byron Maxwell?
COACH KELLY: I don't grade. I don't look at it that way.
Q. How do you look at the way Maxwell is playing?
COACH KELLY: I think Byron has done a good job. I think with what we've asked him to do, I think Byron's done a good job.
Q. Did you ask him to tackle?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, we did.
Q. On calling up WR Jonathan Krause from the practice squad, what made you do that?
COACH KELLY: Just showing us what he has done on the practice field and getting a chance. We had a spot and he's a kid that each week, when we're out here in training, that has stuck out to us and given him an opportunity to show us what we can do. If he has a good week in practice, we'll see where that puts him.
Q. Is this the biggest test you have ever faced as a coach?
COACH KELLY: I don't look at it that way; I look at it as every game you play is a big test. That's the way I've always approached it. You can say, 'Hey, we've won five games in a row, so we don't have a big test this week.' I think you have a big test every week, especially in this league. There is not a day off; there is not a minute off; there is not an hour off. Every single week better be the biggest test you're going to play.
Q. Do your defenses get worn down over the course of the season playing so many more snaps than most defenses do?
COACH KELLY: I think when you look at the games, yeah, depending on where you play. But I think that becomes production on the offensive side of the ball. If we're not getting the requisite amount of snaps, then that's where we're hurting our defense. We talk about it all the time: it's plays run. We only ran 59 plays, I think, on Thursday against Detroit and that's where we're hurting. The week before, or two weeks before, we had 98 snaps against the Miami Dolphins. It's really just the production from the offensive side of the ball in terms of what's giving them an opportunity to wear us down on the defensive side of the ball.
Q. You said that before Bradford went down, you thought you'd seen some improvement over the recent weeks. What were some of the areas that you thought he was getting a better grasp of?
COACH KELLY: I just think, in general, feel of what we're doing and being able to go from one to two, to three, to four, to five at times and going through full progressions. Knowing where everybody's going to be at times when he has to change protection and make sure we're on the right page of who the linebacker is, and where we're going and things like that. I think he has done a really good job. I think there is a comfort level with him. Obviously, he missed a lot of the off-season program, was here every day but not taking the reps every day in the off-season program. So I think, obviously, when he's around it and he's in it and practicing in it every day, playing in it every day, you can see him grow. I thought he grew really in those last couple games. He started playing really well when we played Dallas. I thought he was on track when we were playing Miami and then he gets hurt. So we're hopeful to see where he is. I don't know where his status will be this week.
Q. So it's still his job once he's healthy?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, if he's back healthy he will be the starting quarterback.
Q. Are RB Ryan Mathews or TE Zach Ertz cleared?
COACH KELLY: Mathews has not been cleared yet, and I don't think Ertz is fully cleared. He has to see the independent [neurologist]. I don't have that exactly for you. They have a 1 o'clock treatment today.
Q. How about your connection with the locker room; do you feel like you have strong enough relationships with the guys to pull you through here?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I do.
Q. Who do you talk to to take the temperature up in the locker room?
COACH KELLY: [LB] Connor Barwin, [S] Malcom Jenkins, [LB] DeMeco Ryans, [C] Jason Kelce, [T] Jason Peters; there are a lot of guys. I think we've got a group of guys in there that are pretty open-minded. [LB] Brandon Graham is a guy that I talk to a lot. So I think there are a lot of guys in there that we can have open conversations with.
Q. What are they telling you? Because, obviously, the last two games they're not acting like a healthy locker room based on the results that you're getting.
COACH KELLY: I think anytime you lose, that is the byproduct of it. I think they're disappointed in how they've performed and how they've played. You look at the results and they understand that. I think the biggest thing I get from it is they're just disappointed. I think they want this as much as anybody wants this, and I think they train that way and prepare that way. I think they're disappointed with the outcome, that's what I get from them.
Q. With all of these rumors about colleges coming for you, do you worry about and do you feel it's necessary to go to the team and give them assurances that you are here and you're committed to seeing this through?
COACH KELLY: No, I really don't. Because there are so many things that are written and said nowadays that it's ridiculous. A lot of times we just chuckle and laugh, to be honest with you, that I had a meeting in Philadelphia with USC on Friday.
Q. Where were you on Friday?
COACH KELLY: I was in New Hampshire.
Q. Did you meet with them?
COACH KELLY: No, I never met with them. [Laughter] I mean it's crazy. But it's kind of sad that everybody can just write whatever they want or say whatever they want and everybody takes it as the truth. It's the world we live in, but if you have to sit there every day and combat everything that comes out, I think you're just wasting time. Our focus and energy is going to be on the New England Patriots. I don't know why it comes up or has to happen. But to have that every day with every rumor you hear about every person or everything, it's crazy. You know, it's the world we live in. So I don't get worked up about it. I don't care because I know it's not true. I know you just got to answer it in press conferences like this, and you guys are on a set time, so we can talk about any other schools you want because we've got what, two questions left? So a couple more college questions would be great, and then I can go back up and get ready for the Patriots. [Sarcastically]
Q. Do you worry about the team's confidence over the last three weeks?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I think they're really not confident because of the college rumors out there [Laughter], and it really affects their play on the field. Hopefully the college rumors will now stop and we'll go out and play football again. [Sarcastically]
Q. What do you think of T Lane Johnson's performance at left tackle?
COACH KELLY: I think he has competed really well at left tackle. He has had a limited number of snaps just because he played right tackle for two years and then he has filled in for [T] Jason [Peters] when Jay went down. Jay went down in the Redskins game and then in Carolina. He has started to practice a little more there and trained a little more there. So I think he's getting more confidence. It is a different position playing right tackle as opposed to left tackle. We're really hopeful that we'll have Jay this week, and we'll be back to normal there. But I think you can see him getting better. But there is also, even if you ask Lane, there is more confidence in him at right tackle than there is at left tackle just because that's where he has trained the most.
Q. If Bill Davis wanted to make a drastic change, not talking about personnel, but going against the grain of philosophy and playing a softer pass coverage as a base, would he have that kind of freedom?
COACH KELLY: No, we discuss everything that goes on. So it's not like when we get to Sunday and we look out on the field, I say, 'O jeez, Bill that's what you're playing this week?' We have meetings all week long; we train; we're at practice.
Q. But if he wanted to do that--?
COACH KELLY: We talk about everything. If we have thoughts or ideas from any coach on our staff of what we think is going to help us win the football game, we go over that stuff. But it has to be implemented from a training standpoint and we need to get it in on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, so that we can get familiar with it and get it matched up in terms of the team we're playing against. But I think all of our coaches have the ability to contribute in any meeting they're in. That's what game planning is all about. It's not like the only guy who has one thing to say is Billy, and if no one else says anything he just tells our defensive coaches what we're doing. It's always an open discussion no matter who is in the room. Then we finally decide what the game plan will be and we implement that game plan and go play.