Once the ceremonies are over and the whistle blows on Thursday Night Football in Philly, no one will really give much thought to Andy Reid or Donovan McNabb.
It is going to be about Vick and the Chippah, and how they can hold serve against Kansas City's stingy defense.
Brandon Flowers may be out for the Chiefs in their defensive secondary, but they are still bringing young Dontari Poe and defensive front-pressure big-time to oppress the Eagles' offensive timing and formations.
Right now the Eagles are 3.5 point favorites in this game… but prior to last Sunday's game against the Chargers, they were 5-point favorites.
So far it looks like the Eagles will be looking to wideout DeSean Jackson and RB LeSean McCoy to get the major portion of targets and carries on offense. Funny, but two weeks ago everyone thought Vick and Kelly would be relying more on their tight ends. As it has turned out, that is hardly the case.
I thought I would put all the hype of Thursday Night's game into its rightful place by simply letting Coach Kelly speak to us in his own terms— in other words, how a head coach sees through all the hype and simply prepares for a short-week game…
Courtesy of the Philadelphia Eagles media relations department, here's a transcript from coach Chip Kelly's Tuesday press conference.
Q. With about three games in 11 days, did you change anything as far as getting them off their feet more and shorter practices or anything like that?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, we obviously had to make an adjustment this week. When you play a game on Sunday, and you have to come back and play a game on Thursday, that's the one that really adjusts your schedule just because you only really have three training days. You have Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and you have to go play a game. We adjusted the schedule. We were out yesterday. We'll never be out.
No one is out on the practice field training the day after a game. But we had to yesterday. Now we're trying to get into two-days-before-the-game mode. Tomorrow is the day before the game mode, and then we have to go play. We did adjust the schedule. But we knew it before the season started. When you look at Kansas City, they're the same way. They went Sunday, Sunday, Thursday. We just went Monday, Sunday, Thursday. We had an 11‑day deal, they had a 12‑day deal.
Q. How about the game planning? Was any work done prior to this week for game planning?
COACH KELLY: Everything was broken down. We immediately came after the Chargers game and came back to work that night. Our entire staff here was pretty late Sunday night putting the game plan together. It's kind of tough to game plan itself. You've got thoughts going around your head are you game planning for the Chargers or you get that and then we're starting the game plan for the Chiefs, but we haven't played the Chargers game yet. Our plan originally and we stuck to it, we immediately after the Chargers game came back to work Sunday night.
Q. The relationships between corners and safeties. You're obviously rotating Earl Wolff and Nate Allen, which make it's difficult sometimes for corners to get adjusted to each one. Do you think that might be impacting your defense in a negative way or hurting them?
COACH KELLY: I think it impacts everybody because we have all new starters everywhere. The only guys that played last year were DeMeco [Ryans], and [Mychal] Kendricks, and [Trent] Cole is playing a new position. With the whole new staff coming in, it's going to be different. Cary [Williams] wasn't here last year. Cary was with Baltimore, and Pat [Chung] was with New England.
So when you have a transition, there are growing pains. Again, it's a change from a system from a wide 9, 4-3, to moving to a 3‑4, and it's a change in personnel, and that's always going to happen. So the only way you could not change it is if we kept every player that was on last year's team and ran every defense.
Q. Do you think by some point in the season you'll have one of those guys at least 75% of the time?
COACH KELLY: I don't predict the future. It's all up to them and how they play. One guy running away with it continues to make plays and we'll continue to be on the field. If we're not getting the production to do it just for the sake of continuity doesn't make sense for us.
Q. Did you see what you wanted from this last game compared to the first one?
COACH KELLY: Yeah.
Q. Other than calling a play, what is your communication throughout the course of the game on the head set?
COACH KELLY: On the head set it's really just calling the play.
Q. Not seeing what the defense is looking like?
COACH KELLY: No, because the defense isn't set up yet. I'm not going to predict what I think they're going to have, I’m calling the play and we're getting lined up. So it's not, hey, Mike [Vick], I think they're going to be ‑‑ watch out for cover one, cover two, cover man. They may blitz, they may not blitz. I think I can't warn them about everything. So I think if you get into that because they're not deployed, they haven't lined up yet, and we're trying to get our play in and let Mike get set. He has a pre-snap routine that him and coach [Bill] Lazor work on that Mike goes through and locating the safeties and where we're going with them. So there is not a heck of a lot of communication except for what the play is.
Q. Who is your challenge guy?
COACH KELLY: Pat Shurmur.
Q. How did Andy Reid help you become more incorporated? What advice has he been able to give you?
COACH KELLY: He hasn't given me any. I talked to Andy when I got the job, and he said to be yourself. I told him I had big shoes to fill, and he said you'll do a good job, and that was it.
Q. Just on the defensive secondary. It's come down to Nate Allen as being the blame guy. Is that unfair to Nate?
COACH KELLY: Oh, definitely. Our defense is 11 guys. It's a pass rush. It's everybody being where they're supposed to be, when they're supposed to be there. So it's totally a team game. It's never isolated on one individual player. I know as a coaching staff we're not that way. I know as a team we're not that way.
Q. You've used mostly 11 personnel in your first two games.
COACH KELLY: How defenses defend you. It's a good question. A lot of times when you get in the Redskins game and some of the games, if you go to 11 and they're in nickel. You know, a lot of times it becomes a match game. What match‑ups do you want to be in? What match‑ups do you think are more favorable to you? You're kind of looking at how people try to defend different formations and different sets to try to get tendencies in terms of how they're going to deploy their personnel. So sometimes you by your personnel can at least dictate what's going to be in the game. And a lot goes into that thought process.
Q. At the same time, has that kind of surprised you in the first two games? Pretty much defensive formations?
COACH KELLY: They haven't. No, the Chargers were different than what the Redskins do.
Q. From a decision making standpoint strictly, how would you evaluate Mike Vick?
COACH KELLY: I think Mike's done a really nice job. He's protected the football for us. Gotten the ball out on time. We've had the ability because we could protect and take some more shots down the field. He's done a really good job of distributing the ball. I think we're at a pretty high completion percentage right now. I'm sure he'd want a couple throws back. There were a few times we could have been more accurate. But I think overall in two games, I'm happy where Mike is.
Q. Do the Chiefs have any sort of advantage this week because Andy knows the personnel here?
COACH KELLY: I would think anybody that understands personnel – Andy was here for a long time with those guys. So if you know what they're good at. But he doesn't know our scheme and how we deploy those guys. So he may have little ins and outs. There is a familiarity. He's familiar with Trent. He's familiar with DeMeco and familiar with those guys. But the scheme defensively has changed. The scheme offensively has changed. The scheme special teams has changed. So maybe from how fast a guy is to some of those things from a physical standpoint, I know he's probably got an intimate knowledge from the guys on the team.
Q. What is it from your standpoint because that time is squeezed down this week. Do you keep it in the back of your head maybe we should simplify and maybe we shouldn't overrun these guys mentally because they only have two or three days to absorb all of it?
COACH KELLY: You overloaded me with that question.
Q. Is this a week to simplify with all of your guys?
COACH KELLY: No, we don't look at it as simplify. We always try to put in a game plan. I know as a staff, we don't say, hey, we've got a couple extra days, let's put in more stuff. We have an exact plan for what we're going to put in the red zone. We're always doing the same thing. I know one thing you do is if we're going to add, we're going to subtract. We don't keep piling it on. We ran these plays in the red zone versus the Redskins, now we ran these versus the Chargers, these versus the Chiefs. So we always have a scope of our offense that's available to us on a weekly basis, so when we do add, we do subtract. But it wasn't a conscious let's keep this simplified this week. But it's the same every week. We want to make sure when we get to the game our players understand when we're calling X Y Z 27, that they all understand what X Y Z 27 means.
Q. So when you look at Brandon Boykin and he started the season in the slot. Is that because of performance, because that's where you needed him or because you didn't have someone else better than him in that slot and specialized position?
COACH KELLY: All of the above.
Q. Is it possible that he could move out and stay in the outside the entire season?
COACH KELLY: Is it possible? Is it possible? Yes. Is it possible that you would sit down on one of these press conferences? Is it possible? That's the only question I have.
Q. I have before.
COACH KELLY: Then that's a yes, so we're on the same page. No, is it possible, yeah. It is possible. It just depends on how we are. We were put in a situation last week where [Bradley] Fletcher got hurt. Now our cornerback depth isn't what we want it to be right now. So, yeah, it's possible. Is that the ideal world? The ideal world is that Cary and Fletch play the entire year for us and Brandon plays slot for us. Is that the reality in the NFL? I don't know about that.
Q. Why would that be ideal if Brandon was better than he?
COACH KELLY: I didn't say he was better than he. You said he was better than he.
Q. I didn't say he was either. I said if he was?
COACH KELLY: What did you say?
Q. You said ideally?
COACH KELLY: This is just, for me, just an off the subject why hypotheticals never work. You know what I mean? Right now Fletch starts in the corner, Cary starts in the corner, and Brandon is our nickel. I hope they play great and get 17 interceptions every one of them.
Q. When you look at what Andy's doing in Kansas City, you look at tape of the guys here, how much has he changed and how much has he stayed the same?
COACH KELLY: He's added the pistol formation. I think he brought Chris Ault from Nevada, he's on staff. So they're running some pistol plays. I think that's playing to Alex Smith's strength. I think Alex is a mobile quarterback and really smart guy. So I think that fits with him. But I think that's probably a little bit different. Some of the passing concepts are similar in terms of what he did here.
But I think when you look at him specifically offensively what they're doing is a little bit more pistol. It's not their entire scope of the offense, but they've added that from that standpoint. Defensively they're radically different because they run a 3‑4 scheme. The sight came from the Jets so they're running that scheme. So that's different. But offensively what's a little different than what he had done in the past was the pistol stuff and they ran some zone read stuff against the Cowboys.
Q. What's made their defense so effective?
COACH KELLY: I think they've done a good job of matching their personnel to what they can do. An outstanding nose guard who is really playing very, very well right now. Two really good outside linebackers in [Tamba] Hali and [Justin] Houston. They were a 3‑4 team last year, and I think they stayed with that. But they've got some personnel on that side, Eric Berry, Brandon Flowers, [Dontari] Poe, Houston, Hali, [Tyson] Jackson, there is some talent on the defensive side of the ball. And [Bob Sutton] is a really, really good defensive coach. He's putting those guys in positions to make plays.
Q. Is Brandon Hughes going to play?
COACH KELLY: I know he's not going today.
Q. Do you have any concerns at that spot?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, we've had concerns since we got here with depth at the cornerback spot. So that is a big concern for us overall. Didn't have Brandon in the first game, didn't have Fletch in the last game, and now Brandon's out again today.
Q. How is Shaun Prater coming along?
COACH KELLY: He's coming along. We picked him up after the cut down to 53, so I know those guys are working very hard with him. Shaun’s working very hard himself. So we're hoping to get a chance to get him acclimated. But it's also not fair to him to throw him in the field if he doesn't understand what we're doing and expect him to make a play on a Thursday night or Sunday and turn around and say we haven't had a chance to cover that. But Shaun's coming, and we hope to have a chance to get him involved here soon.
Q. DeSean Jackson is playing in the middle of the field more than he has in the past. What convinced you to give him that type of play?
COACH KELLY: I don't know what was asked of him in the past. But one thing I know about him is that he's really fast. He catches the ball extremely well and a very difficult match‑up. So as a coach, he's extremely ‑‑ it's a lot of fun to have a guy like that on your team when you're trying to figure out different ways to get him the football because he can affect the outcome of the game on the offensive side of the ball because he's such a dynamic player. I don't know how ‑‑ didn't really spend a lot of time on how it was used in the past. Know what physical skillset he's had since we got a chance here to start working with him, and really excited about what he's done in the first two games and how do we build upon that.
Q. With Andy coming in on Thursday, does it hold any meaning for you?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I have great respect for Andy. He was the head coach here for 14 years, and if you're a coach in the NFL, anybody that coaches at one spot for 14 years you look to them and say, holy smokes. You just walk down the hall ways and look at the division championships won here, the division championships, conference championships and what he's done. He's had a huge impact on this organization, and I've got a ton of respect for him. There are not a lot of guys out there in this profession that have carried themselves from a coaching standpoint when you get to be around him like Andy Reid. I've got all the respect in the world for him. It's excite to go get a chance to go compete against him and it should be a lot of fun.
Q. Knowing what you know about Andy and you mentioned all the wins and all that stuff, the championships, knowing what know about Philadelphia and the area, would you expect him to get a pretty good ovation?
COACH KELLY: I don't know any of that stuff.
Q. What's keeping Vinny Curry off the field at this point?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, everybody's competing for positions on this team, and that is a difficult thing to do when you're cutting from 53 to 46 and who is active and deactive. It's how we practiced during the week. It's how do they fit into the game plan that you're putting together offensively, defensively, and special teams wise. To see if we can get a chance to get out there and compete in that 46.