November 03, 2015
With the bye week now behind the Philadelphia Eagles, focus has started to shift to their upcoming NFC East matchup against the Cowboys. But considering the coach hasn't been heard from since last Monday, there was much to talk about.
Kelly said that he spent his week at the office, just like any other week. But this time, he had a little more time to analyze his team's performance, rather than immediately jumping into preparation for their upcoming game.
I've previously posted Kelly's thoughts on the since-past trade deadline and injury updates. And you can read Jimmy Kempski's take on what Kelly had to say (or didn't) about Sam Bradford.
But because it's been a while since we've last heard from the coach -- and because he's fresh off a week of self-evaluation -- here's the rest of what was discussed during his Tuesday session with reporters at NovaCare:
How did the evaluation process go during the bye? What goes into that and what does it entail?
Just a lot of film watching in all three phases. All staffs get together and break it down by situation. [On offense] break it down by field position, break it down by red zone, third down, coming out, four-minute offense; it’s the same thing for Billy [defensive coordinator Bill Davis], [breaking down] short yardage; [looking at] what are we doing in the special teams aspect. So pretty organized. It's very organized; it's been the same since I've been here. Take a lot of input from guys that have been at other places. Got a lot of good work done.
As opposed to other weeks when you have to quickly move on to a new opponent, do you get any more insight into what's right and what's wrong given the extended time off during the bye?
I mean, I think when you have more time, you get to study a little bit more tape of yourself. Usually each week you're on to your next opponent. But that's just the benefit, and everybody has a bye week, so everybody usually does the same thing.
Mentally, is it nice to get a break during the season? You get a vacation week or whatever, and I realize it wasn't like that for you because you're in here working, but is it nice to get away from the game planning and take a step back? What is it like?
No, I'd actually rather keep training, to be honest with you. I think it gets you out of your rhythm.
TE Zach Ertz had five first-down catches against Carolina. Are he and QB Sam Bradford starting to develop a little bit of chemistry as they've played more together?
I don't know if it's because of chemistry with Sam. I just think with Zach, we all have to remember he had the core muscle injury and got cleared just the week of the first game. So I think he's starting to get healthier, which I think is the good thing. And I think he is starting to get more comfortable just with himself in terms of what he can do and what he can't do. So I hope there is a chemistry that those guys are developing, but I think a little bit is because of Zach coming off that surgery that he had in August.
When you guys were doing your review over the break and everything, how much did you look at the running back situation with RB Ryan Mathews as opposed to RB DeMarco Murray, and how --
We looked at the totality of what we're doing offensively.
Yeah, but specifically as far as running backs are concerned, how much did you look at what Mathews and Murray were doing and how to go forward?
We looked at everything, and a lot of it depends on who is healthy and ready to go.
When you looked at your offense overall, what did you see and what do you need to get --
Missed opportunities. Too many drops. That is the first thing with everybody when we came out of there: we dropped too many balls. I think we were last in the league in drops or first in the league in drops, however you look at it. There were a lot of things that could have extended drives for us and kept us on the field. We really affected our third-down efficiency in terms of holding onto the football and we've got to do a better job catching the football.
Is it just about catching the ball or are some of the drops occurring because the ball was supposed to get to the receiver a millisecond before and the receiver ends up waiting on it?
I think we're critical on everybody. But we all feel it's not just about getting your hand on it, there are times we've had drops that hit us in the hands and we haven't caught the football.
With Peters out of practice today and the uncertainty the rest of the week with him, would G/T Matt Tobin be the first choice to replace him or will T Lane Johnson go to left tackle?
Whatever Stout [offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland] wants to roll today. We have an hour practice. We're going to roll through and it’s not a real big deal who is in there and who is not in there, today.
I don't know if there is a parting message to the receivers about catching the ball. What do you want to see from them in practice when they return this week?
It's not anything we haven't seen in practice. I think they've done a good job. It’s taking it from the drill to the practice session to the game is what we need to do. We need to take it over there, because they’ve done a good job in training sessions.
You've turned the run game around significantly in the last several weeks. What do you attribute that most to?
We’ve blocked better. Simple. We didn't block well at the beginning of the year. We're blocking better now.
Why do you think you’ve blocked better?
Techniques and fundamentals. It goes back to basics of the game. We weren't very sound fundamentally early in the year. We're better fundamentally now and it's a technique game. I think that we're doing a better job of blocking with technique up front.
Did that have to do with training camp or anything specific as to why that was happening?
I don't have the answer for that. I just know we're doing a better job of it right now.
Did your self-scouting process reveal anything about the slow starts?
Yeah, just inconsistency and a lot of it goes back to drops. We've got to hold on to the football better. A lot of drives early in the Cowboys game, if we catch those balls on third down, we're not off the field. So hopefully we can clear that up.
How will you guys manage your inside linebackers with all of them healthy now?
We'll see that they're healthy. Their first day back out on the field is today. So we've got five days of training to find out who takes to it, who doesn't take to it, does someone pull up lame on Tuesday or does someone pull up lame on Thursday in the training session? So for us to have a plan today, really doesn't make any sense. We’ll just roll them through today.
In games, who decides the inside linebacker rep distribution? Is it defensive coordinator Bill Davis or is it inside linebackers coach Rick Minter?
Rick handles the individual as we go through it. But we have packages during the week that we'll talk about with those guys based on who is available.
When you did your self-scouting and you looked at the edge rush, were you happy with what you saw?
When I looked at what?
The edge rush on the defense?
We look at rush overall, we don't look at edge, inside push or anything like that. It's a totality in terms of what we're doing. I think we're getting production from all those guys. I think our twist game is doing a good job for us, so we were happy with the whole rush.
Getting back to the inside linebackers, is there a scenario where if LB Jordan Hicks stays healthy he wouldn't be involved?
I don't look at it like that. Again, you have a million different things. Two guys could roll their ankles tomorrow, and one could be Jordan, and he could be out. So we don't spend our time like that. It's just who is available when we get towards the end of the week, who is on the active roster that day and how are we going to distribute their snaps? And none of that happens to us until we get to Saturday and get through our training session.
How do you combat a guy like Dallas LB Sean Lee who has had success not just against you but every team it seems. As an offense, what do you do when you have a guy like that?
Yeah, you've got to know where he is at all times. I think he's great at keying and diagnosing plays. He's got great instincts in terms of how to run and leverage to the football. He's a lot like [Carolina LB Luke] Kuechly in that manner. You have to make sure you stick and glue on blocks at the second level. Sometimes we had people on him but they didn’t stick. A lot of it comes down to the techniques and fundamentals of blocking people at the second level.
You faced Cowboys QB Matt Cassel two years ago when he was with the Vikings. What kind of challenge does he pose?
I mean, you can't go back to the Vikings game; it's an entirely different offense in terms of what [the Cowboys] do. The one thing that stands out with him that’s a little bit different is his ability to run. I think he had over 40 yards rushing this past Sunday in Sunday's game. So you've got a guy who is not only an accurate passer, [but] when things break down, he can make things happen with his feet. So he's a little bit different than some of the other guys that we face. So you have to take that into account in terms of his -- They don't have any designed runs, it's not like going against Cam [Panthers QB Cam Newton] where you're going to see zone-read or quarterback power or anything like that, but if guys are covered and you're in coverage and you have your back turned to the quarterback because you're in man coverage, there is the ability for [Cassel] to pull it down and run. With some guys that's not a big deal and in other guys it is a big deal, and we have to be real conscious of that.
How big of an addition has DE Greg Hardy been to the Cowboys defense?
He's had three sacks, had an interception and he's forced a fumble, so he's obviously been very impactful in the three games he's been back. You have to know where he is. They line him up in multiple spots, but he's been very productive for them in the three games that he has played.
You have to be aware of where he is at all times?
Yeah, very much so.
As far as the Dallas offense is concerned, the first game when you played them, they had Cowboys QB Tony Romo, but not Cowboys WR Dez Bryant. In this game, you'll probably have Dez Bryant but not Tony Romo. Does that affect anything in the way you prepare?
With Dez out, we kind of had our game plan a lot around [Cowboys TE] Jason Witten because Dez wasn't playing. Now you have two real weapons. He's obviously just getting back, but he's as talented a receiver as we're going to face. So you have to be aware of where he is at all times. Most of the time, they're on opposite sides of the field, so it makes it difficult to double both of those guys.
What about the guy throwing it to him, I guess, Cassel or Cowboys QB Brandon Weeden? How do you prepare for that?
Well, there is going to be a quarterback in there. You have to know where the receivers are. It's not, because quarterback ‘X’ is in there, we don't have to cover Dez or cover Witten. You have to make sure you cover them all. But I think with Dez in there to add to Witten, there are certain ways you've got to kind of pick and choose which way you're going to go with it.
Has the Cowboys line continued to slant against other teams?
Yeah, [Cowboys Defensive Coordinator] Rod [Marinelli] does the same thing against everybody. He's very consistent in what he does, and they do it very well.
Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin