Q. It is unusual to get a chance to play a West Coast team three years in a row. Can you take much from those previous two games?
COACH KELLY: Well, a lot of times playing teams three years in a row, there are staff changes, but you can take something from those games. Obviously, there's some personnel changes: probably more so with us than with them. But you can -- you have a chance to go back and look at the games from two years ago and then last year, and gain a little bit out of it, even though defensively, they are a little different because Todd [former Cardinals defensive coordinator and current Jets Head Coach Todd Bowles] is gone.
Q. So what is different? What did you take away from those games? What did you see?
COACH KELLY: I saw a lot of good things that we'll try to capitalize on.
Q. X-plays were a big point of emphasis for you guys. How do you feel like the secondary has performed in that area so far this season and what are the keys to improvement?
COACH KELLY: I think we need to continue to improve, but I think we've done a better job. Obviously, last year was really our Achilles' heel in terms of being able to get off the field on third down and giving up huge, huge chunks of yardage in the X-play category. I think we are better this year and the statistics will tell you that, but we still need to continue to improve from that aspect and that's really the biggest emphasis, especially against this team, because they may have the most [X-plays] in the NFL coming in. They do such a good job of getting the ball and pushing it down the field. They have got outstanding speed out there, and it's something that you really have to be conscious of, especially playing against this team.
Q. How difficult and challenging is it for you as the head coach to say, 'You know what, we need to win these games, but I also need to get RB DeMarco Murray carries to make him happy?'
COACH KELLY: I've never been concerned with making any individual happy. Our focus and goal is always on trying to win the football game. So anywhere I've ever been, I've never heard any coach ever discuss anything like that.
Q. But is there any concern at all that when you have a guy that's a big-time free agent, making a lot of money, if he's upset about playing time or carries it can affect things in a negative way?
COACH KELLY: No, I mean, everybody wants to win and we're going to do whatever we can to win the football game.
Q. In Murray's case, he has been very effective in third-down situations. What about third down is he good at?
COACH KELLY: I think the positive thing, and you look at last week, we had 18 third downs, but 13 of them were 5 [yards] or less. I think when we get to workable third-down situations – Obviously, the longer the down-and-distance, the less chance you have to succeed. But he's a downhill, physical runner that gives you an opportunity that when you're in a third-and-1, third-and-2 or a third-and-3, that he's going to [get it]. We talk about the [offensive] line getting us half of it and the running back getting us the other half of it and [Murray] always seems to be going forward, so that's a positive thing he brings to the table for us.
Q. What have you seen from CB Byron Maxwell as the year has gone on and as he has tried to fit in more and more with this defense?
COACH KELLY: I just think it's a greater knowledge of what we are doing and understanding where your help is and where your help isn't. [Where your help isn't] is just as important as knowing where your help is. I think he's done a really good job with [DB] Eric Rowe in terms of helping him develop as a younger player. That's some of the things that go on behind the scenes that people don't realize, but I think Max has been a really good mentor to the younger guys, especially at the corner position. Malcolm [S Malcolm Jenkins] really kind of takes the safeties under his wing and Max has done that at the corner position and has given those guys a little help in terms of how he approaches things. But I just see him – He seems like he's a lot more comfortable in terms of what we are trying to do right now.
Q. What makes Cardinals S Tyrann Mathieu so effective?
COACH KELLY: He's an unbelievable competitor, first and foremost. He just kind of plays the game with a passion. He seems like he has a nose for the football. He rises up to all challenges. Even though he's a little shorter than most guys in the secondary, that doesn't seem to affect him. He did a great job covering [Seahawks TE] Jimmy Graham when they played Seattle. A lot of people maybe wouldn't have looked at that matchup. I think he's so competitive and he's got outstanding ball skills. He was a really good returner. He always seems to have a way to be around the football and has a knack for making plays at critical times during the game. But I think the one thing you notice about him is his competitiveness.
Q. P Donnie Jones' punting averages of gross and net yards have been up considerably over last year. What has been the difference for him this year?
COACH KELLY: He worked really hard in the offseason.
Q. Is there a concerted effort in recent weeks to get RB Darren Sproles more involved in the offense?
COACH KELLY: No, not a concerted effort. It's just kind of how the game expresses itself. There were some matchup things we thought in the New England game with the size of their linebackers and then Darren is always somebody that we're always trying to get a concerted effort to try to get him the football because of how explosive he is with the football in his hands.
Q. Because of Sproles' size, do you see him as a guy who can carry the same kind of load as the other backs? Or do you have to keep an eye on him?
COACH KELLY: I mean, I think everybody's concerned with it, but I've never seen any wear and tear on Darren. I think it's a credit to him in terms of his work ethic and how he approaches things. How he trains on a daily basis, I think it's different than any player I've ever been around. So I think he's one of those guys -- kind of like a Mathieu for Arizona -- that you can kind of throw some of those things out. They are exceptions from a height-and-weight standpoint sometimes, but I think their competitiveness and their ability to make plays kind of outweighs any concern from that standpoint.
Q. Going against a quarterback like Cardinals QB Carson Palmer -- he's not Bills QB Tyrod Taylor. He's going to be in the pocket and is best in the pocket; are there intricacies to defending him in particular, compared to another guy like a Patriots QB Tom Brady?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, there's always differences. Obviously, our pass rush against Tyrod Taylor is different than it is against Tom or [Giants QB] Eli [Manning] or Carson just because there's not the threat of the run. But you still have to be able to get to him. It's easy to say, 'Here is our plan. Let's just -- we can rush it this way.' But they still have a good offensive line that's going to be able to protect him. But you do rush quarterbacks depending on how quickly they get out of the pocket and try to take off and run, and then obviously Carson is in the category with Tom and Eli but they are at their best standing in the pocket. The one thing about those guys is that they are not really affected by the rush. They do such a great job of focusing, concentrating on where they are trying to deliver the football that they are kind of impervious to really what's coming in front of them.
Q. Is Palmer different from Brady and Manning in that regard in terms of what he's doing to get the ball out quickly or down the field?
COACH KELLY: I think it's a different offense in terms of, in Tom's situation, just playing them most recently, is they are really getting the ball out quickly. With Arizona, they hold it a little bit longer because they are taking deeper shots down the field. Our job is to not allow him to hold the ball that long to take those shots down the field. So really, how we defend 'X' plays, and that was a good question earlier, is a lot of it involves the pass rush, not allowing the quarterback that time to throw the ball down the field, because it's not a lot of catch and runs. There's some real deep shots and he's as good a deep-ball thrower as there is, but we have to try to get him off his point and not allow him to do those things.
Q. What can Murray do to get on the field for more snaps?
COACH KELLY: DeMarco is on the field. I don't know if you've been to any games. He plays. He played the second-most snaps of any of the running backs in our last game.
Q. There's a feeling, I think from him, that he's not getting enough carries and things like that. What can he do to get more involved and have you talked to him about that?
COACH KELLY: I talk with all of our players. I spent time with him last week. I think he knows exactly what our plan is.
Q. The Cardinals blitz a lot like you said yesterday. How has Bradford done against extra pass rushers over the last several weeks?
COACH KELLY: Sam has done a good job.
Q. When you look at the coaches who came in the same year as you did, we were asking Cardinals Head Coach Bruce Arians about this yesterday -- he was saying your success is tied to the hip with your quarterback. You've had four different starting quarterbacks since you've been here. Do you agree with that statement and how have you been able to kind of overcome that?
COACH KELLY: Well, I think any time you have a -- this is a quarterback-driven league, and when you have a team that's been very successful for an extended period of time, usually it's because there's stability at the quarterback position. But I don't look at it that that has to be the end-all because I think when people look at it that way and say, 'I didn't have a quarterback,' you're just making excuses. Your job and your whole coaching staff's job is to find a way to get things done and to win the football game. It helps. It obviously helps. I mean, and you've got some really good quarterback -- we're playing a really good quarterback and Bruce has done a great job with him. I think sometimes Bruce is being a little self-deprecating in terms of -- Carson is really good but Bruce has done a great job with that entire team. So it's not just Carson is leading the Arizona Cardinals. I think in the last three years, I'm not sure there's a coach that's done a better job with his team than Bruce.
Q. Is RB Ryan Mathews further along from a conditioning perspective than last week?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, obviously he missed three weeks and we just got him back I think last week on Tuesday. So he's a little bit farther along just because when you're in that -- he really wasn't working out. That's part of the concussion protocol part of it, so he is a little bit farther advanced from that standpoint.
Q. Following up on Bradford and the blitz, has he shown progress in that area? Seems like you guys have been pretty good against the blitz.
COACH KELLY: Yeah and it's everybody. You have to tie the offensive line in there, you've got to tie the receivers in there, knowing when things are hot and when things aren't hot. But I think Sam has done a really good job. I think he's got a better feeling and a better understanding in terms of what we're doing from an attack standpoint, what we are trying to get accomplished, and I think he does a really good job of that.