Q. With the benefit of time, what do you think of the Bills RB LeSean McCoy trade now?**
COACH KELLY: With the benefit of time, I think we did the right thing at the time. I mean, we traded an outstanding running back for a linebacker, but we also traded $700,000 for $11.9 million. So I think with all those situations there is money involved, and one of the things is that we had a lot of players that were older at the end of their contracts that were getting paid big money. That is one of the things in this league is sometimes a guy signs a four-year, $45 million contract, but it's two years at $16 [million] guaranteed and the rest of it isn't. And then the back-end years are really high, so you have to make decisions when guys aren't in guaranteed years of what you're going to do. So however you look at it, whether it gave us an opportunity to get somebody defensively with that extra money or it gave us an opportunity because we had to free up money to get Sam [QB Sam Bradford], it was a tough decision. But with all those guys that we let go last year that were integral to my first two years here, those decisions were made by money. Those decisions aren't made because we don't think they're good football players or we don't think they are good people. I think people kind of forget that. When we look at it, that's a lot of money. We have three running backs this year [and] their [collective] salary cap hit this year for us is $11.1 [million]. We had one guy making $11.9 [million]. So we just had to make a decision: 'Can we get by or handle this a different way?' And we always talked about how we had to reallocate money to the defensive side of the ball.
Q. But McCoy said he was willing to restructure his contract?
COACH KELLY: That's not what his agent told us.
Q. What did his agent tell you?
COACH KELLY: I'm not going to get into the discussions, but that was not the conversation that we had with his agent.
Q. Now that you have been a head coach in the NFL for a couple of years, teams have had a couple of years to look at what you do on film and start to adjust. How does that manifest itself to you on a day-to-day basis? Is there a different way to go about watching film? Is there a different way to do things in practice? How do you kind of adjust that once teams start --
COACH KELLY: I think in this league it changes on a weekly basis, so people make adjustments week-to-week. Even in this year -- and we study it -- there are some teams that didn't blitz us at all; last week we got blitzed 50 percent of the time. So even on a weekly basis, it changes. You can go from one week where we're not seeing a lot of pressure and everybody's going to kind of throw a blanket around what you do offensively and then kind of make you kind of go the distance. Then other [teams] are going to say, 'Hey, we're going to take the fight to you and change it up and really come with a lot of pressure.' So there hasn't been one – and I understand the question -- but there hasn't been one universal way in how people have approached us. [It's not] that people are going to do 'this' so we have to do 'this.' So we change and it even changed in my first year here; in a couple games early it was 'this' and then a couple games later it became 'that.'
Q. Do you see the trends? I understand the week-to-week thing, but after two years can a team say, 'Okay, this is what Chip Kelly's offense does in the aggregate, so therefore we can address that in his third year?'
COACH KELLY: No, I don't, because I think we do the same thing. We have the ability to run the ball inside or outside. We have the ability to have play-action pass. We have a screen game. It just depends on -- That's the fun part of coaching. Are they going to do what you think they're going to do in terms of their preparation for you? If they are, how does the plan hold up? Or if they don't, what is the changeup in your kind of answer to what their answer is? A lot of those conversations occur during the game, and then really those halftime adjustments that you have to make when [you're] saying, 'Here's what we're getting and what they're doing.' But there haven't been trends and it hasn't gone one way or another. In this league, that's the interesting thing, it's each team is different, and each team has their own personality. The interesting thing for me is when we play -- because you play division games, you'll play the same team twice. So far, really it has held true that we don't see what [division opponents] did in the first game in the second game. I think people change even if they were successful in the first game. Sometimes people change just because they think that we think [something]. You know, you kind of get into that game. That is the fun part. That's the chess match that goes on.
Q. But if that's the case, why has your offense been less productive each year than it was that first year when it was so productive. You scored a lot of points and gained a lot of yards?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, but there were some games we didn't score points and didn't gain yards. I don't think we played very well in the Saints game in the playoff loss that we had. That hurt us. We had a really slow start and didn't come back until late in the second half. So I think it just depends on where you look. You look at that year -- I think we all have hindsight and look at it and say, 'Hey, we had this.' Well, we played out here against the Giants [in 2013] and the only points we scored were seven points on special teams. We played against Dallas and lost 17-3 and scored three points, offensively. So there were times even in that first year that we weren't successful on the offensive side of the ball. It kind of went game-to-game and week-to-week. We can all look back two years ago and say, 'Oh yeah, it was great.' Well, it wasn't great. If you were around and remember the Giants game, that wasn't a lot of fun. You remember the Cowboys game, that wasn't a lot of fun. We didn't have a lot of success in that day. So even in that year it went up and down. I don't think our performance in that Saints playoff game is what we were capable of, offensively. Two weeks before that, we played Chicago, which was a really good defense, and we scored 54. We were humming. But that team that played that scored 54, we didn't do that the next week. And that's what goes on in this league. You look back at it now and say, 'Hey, look what you did in 2013.' But I still think that in that year you can look at games and say, 'There were some games that we were pretty good, and there were other games that we weren't very good.'
Q. Going back to the contract stuff from earlier --
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I'm not going to discuss contracts. I'm just going to --
Q. No, no, I mean, you weren't here when those older guys signed those contracts. Now that you are here, are you more leery of making a contract more balanced --
COACH KELLY: No, I think there is -- And I understand how things are done. That's the way this league is.
*Q. But you could do a contact differently -- *
COACH KELLY: I know that. But you may not get the player, right? I mean, it would be great if every contract was just guaranteed and everybody knew exactly what their money is. But that's not the way this league is set up.
Q. There's no getting around it?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, and I'm not a contract guy, so I'm not going to say it would be great. I want to say 'Let's just offer him two years guaranteed at this.' Alright, well, the other team got him. Well, that plan's not really working because we're not getting any players. So to get him, we need to offer him this, this, and this in year three, four and five. Okay. That's just the way the league is set up. You're tilling at windmills there when you're starting to say, 'Alright, we're going to restructure the contract situation in the National Football League.' That's really the reality of it. But the reality is when anybody should look at a contract, look at the guaranteed money, because then after that, that's just the way the league is set up. In other sports, the contract is guaranteed all the way through. But that's way, way out of my league.
Q. What do you think McCoy's issues are with you?
COACH KELLY: I don't know and I haven't had a chance to talk to LeSean.
Q. You said that you would like to shake McCoy's hand.
COACH KELLY: They asked me if I would shake his hand, and yeah, I would shake his hand.
Q. He said yesterday that he does not want to shake your hand.
COACH KELLY: Okay.
Q. As a coach who spent a lot of time with a player and wants things to be good, does that bother you?
COACH KELLY: That's his choice, and I understand that. How he was traded wasn't handled right, and I've said that before. I did not get an opportunity to talk to him, and it's a lesson that we should never do, to be honest with you. We were told that the trade wasn't initiated and wouldn't be initiated until the next morning, so there were no phone calls to be made, and then all of the sudden, I'm driving to an event and he's been traded. I felt bad that I didn't get a chance to talk to him. I called him. He didn't answer my phone call. I know he was pissed and he should be pissed, rightly so. Every player that's ever left this team, I've talked to them personally myself. Everyone that's in town, we talk to them individually here in our office. I talk to them, the coordinator talks to them, the position coach talks to them. We have a way that we do it that I think is the right way to do it, and it wasn't exercised in that case and I understand why he's bothered. He was an all-time leading running back here, felt like he was disrespected and it was wrong. Because I was part of it, it's on me. When we traded for [QB] Sam [Bradford] and for [Rams QB] Nick [Foles] with [Rams Head Coach] Jeff Fisher, it was a great situation. Jeff and me were both on the phone together and said, 'Alright, when are you going to make the call? Let's call now. When we're done with our phone calls with our players, text each other.' He texted me he was done. I texted him I was done. I then called Sam, he then called Nick. That's the way it should have been done. It wasn't handled that way with LeSean, and I understand why he's not happy about it, and he should not be happy about it. And I would apologize for that, because it didn't happen the right way. But from our standpoint, we thought the trade wasn't going to be initiated until the next morning, so there was no phone call to be made until the league approves the trade. I understand where he's coming from and if he doesn't want to shake my hand, I understand that. But I will always shake his hand. If he extends his hand to me, I would always shake his hand. I have great respect for him as a player. Everything we asked him to do here, he did. He was an outstanding football player for [my first] two years here. The only reason that he wasn't here is the money was too high. He's still a really good football player in this league. I don't know if I can say anything else besides that. I do have great respect for LeSean. I think he's a heck of a football player, and we're going to have our hands full when we play him this week.