Chip Kelly met with the media on Monday morning for one last time in 2014. Kelly offered thoughts on several key topics, including Nick Foles and the quarterback position, LeSean McCoy, Bill Davis, and much more.
Will Bill Davis remain the defensive coordinator?
Yeah, I thought Billy did a really good job. I thought our defense improved in a lot of categories. There are still things we need to clean up. We were really good in 2013 in X-plays; we weren't good at all in 2014 in X-plays. I thought our run defense got better. I thought our transition from coming in here and playing a Wide-9, 4‑3 defense to a 3‑4 defense over last two years -- I think Billy has done a really good job.
Will the Eagles defensive back coaches be back?
Yeah, I think everybody's evaluated. I'm evaluated. That is what this whole process is all about. But I really like our coaching staff. I think we get along very well. I think we have a lot of really good teachers here who do a really good job.
Any chance the Eagles lose some coaches to outside hires?
That happens, too. That's another aspect. Last year we lost Bill Lazor, who went to Miami. There are some things you don't have control over in terms of -- I'm never going to stand in a coach's way when they have an opportunity to kind of get what they consider a better job. It's really their decision, not my decision. I'll weigh in on it if they want me to give advice. But I would anticipate as openings happen around the league and there could be openings in college where people want to go to a college job. But that's always done on an individual basis and you never know. We finished the season last year, we didn't have anything, and then three weeks later, the Miami thing started happening with Bill. So we'll cross that bridge if it happens, but I would anticipate it. We do have some really good coaches here, so I’m hopefully that we can keep everybody together.
Did the Eagles make progress this season?
Well, we didn't make the playoffs, so no. You're all measured by one thing: Did you win a Super Bowl or did you not win a Super Bowl? So, we didn't make the playoffs and don't have an opportunity to compete for the Super Bowl.
How did the Eagles quarterbacks play?
I thought our quarterbacks, when you look at their rating, you know, some of the things, I thought they played good football. At times, obviously, as I said, the turnover part of it hurt us. I think Derek [Eagles director of public relations Derek Boyko] showed me something where we threw for more yards this year than the Eagles have ever thrown for. We had the highest completion percentage, but we also, in my opinion, had too many turnovers. I've never been on a team or coached a team that has had this many turnovers. So that is something we have to clean up.
Will the Eagles look to upgrade at quarterback?
We haven’t made any evaluations of anything. So for me to say, at any position here, quarterback, wide receiver, defensive line, kicker, holder, anybody, we literally just played our last game. Still in the process of breaking down the film of the last game, and then we have a long evaluation process. Time is on everybody's side here. We don't have to make any decisions today. We don't have to make any decisions until we get close to free agency in terms of how we want to start to shape the roster for 2015. I think we have a good process in terms of how that works. I don't think there is a reason to be hasty from any decision in that standpoint. So you take a look at anything and everything you can. Our goal is to win this thing and to do that, you have to look at everything, no matter what it is. You don't know what presents itself, so you have to take a look at everything and say, ‘Hey, what do we think?’ When the chance or an opportunity comes, you have no idea what you're going to get, but [you say], ‘Can this help make us a better organization?’ We have to make decisions based on that.
Chip Kelly appeared on 94WIP
and said he wanted LeSean McCoy and Jeremy Maclin back.
It’s the same thing that I just said. We are going to have a long, full process for this whole thing. But do I want LeSean back? Yeah. Do I want Jeremy back? Yeah. Is that the reality? I don't know. I don't know what's going to happen. What if someone gives us 17 first-round draft picks for LeSean? Should I say, ‘No, I made a statement on a radio show at 8:00 o'clock in the morning after the game and said that I want LeSean back, so I'm not going to do that?’ We’ll look at everything.
Giving up too many big plays on defense.
I think X-plays defensively have a big factor in that. If you look two things, it’s turnovers on offense, and X-plays on defense. [...] Again, like the interceptions, you have to look at the individual thing. Did the quarterback have too much time, on that individual one, to throw? Was it a blown coverage? Were we close in coverage, but didn't make the play? There is a lot involved in it. So to just say there is one thing, until you go through the whole thing, there isn't. But X-plays are a big deal. Again, it was two things that we were really good at last year: we were good in the turnover category last year and we were really good in the X-play category last year. We weren't good at either of those, offensively or defensively.
How does Chip Kelly need to improve?
Everything. I think everybody has to be very self-aware of what they need to do. I think as you gain more experience you get better, you hopefully get better because you learn from your past mistakes. But part of it is going through a process and really analyzing each situation. In the red zone, can we call better plays down there? Obviously. Did the defense change for the sake of change down there or was that something we were consistently in? Did we have a good enough plan when we were in there? There are a lot of things.
How is Kelly's relationship with Howie Roseman?
Has Kelly made the Eagles into an attractive destination spot?
Yeah, I don't know if it's us and our staff or I wouldn't have come here. I think Philly is a destination spot. I think it's one of the top franchises in the league. And as long as Mr. Lurie’s in charge, it's always going to be that way.
What does Nick Foles need to do in the offseason?
I think Nick needs to just continue to work. The one thing I do not fault Nick is a work ethic. He’s been outstanding in that. I watch how he attacked his rehabilitation in terms of his shoulder injury and what he did every day. I think he's been outstanding from that standpoint. I think he's continuing to grow as a quarterback. And that's part of the maturation process in this league. Very rarely do you come in early and just light it up. I think you need to kind of almost do something and make that mistake and learn from that mistake. I think that is one thing I admire about Nick is he processes things out well. When he does make a mistake, very rarely does he make that same mistake twice. I think he needs to continue on the trajectory that he's headed on right now.
What does the future hold for Tom Gamble?
I think it's the same thing with assistant coaches. As I said earlier, I think we have an outstanding group of assistant coaches. But if they have an opportunity to move on to what they consider is a better opportunity for them, then you're never going to stand in their way. I think if people have goals and aspirations to continue to move up the ladder so to speak. Some guys are content in their roles, but other guys want to see what the next step is or see what the next seat is or put the next hat on. I think Tom does an outstanding job and if he has the opportunity to do that, then I would support him in anything. And if I can give him any help in that situation I would. But he's a heck of a football guy.
How can Marcus Smith II earn playing time?
He's got to beat out the guys in front of him. If anybody realizes one thing about this place is nothing is handed to you. You've got to be better than the guys that are playing in front of you if you're going to earn playing time. We're not going to just say because you came in in this situation it's going to be teed up for you. That’s not the way it’s going to be. It's never going to be that way. It's going to be based on competition. We have to have confidence in you based on demonstrated ability whether it be on the practice field or in preseason games to show us that you're better than [LB] Connor Barwin or [LB] Brandon Graham or [LB] Trent Cole.
DeMeco Ryans' recovery progress?
I think you have to monitor his rehab. When you go through, you listen to what our trainers and strength and conditioning coaches say. But it sounds like he's right on track. He's moving around. He's out of the walking cast now and I think he's starting to do some movement things now. But we need DeMeco. I'm a big DeMeco fan. As a group, he really sets the tone for everybody on the defense side of the ball. So it's just a matter of getting DeMeco healthy again.
Is Chip Kelly staying in the NFL?
Till the next college rumor comes out. Well, you guys run with it. I don't care. Michigan's not filled out, so we'll see. What if a college guy gets the Michigan job? Oh, my God, then there is an opening somewhere else. That is a hypothetical. [...] I don't deal with hypotheticals. When you get two sources that say I'm going to a school, write the story. When you get one source that tweets something on the internet that says someone is interested in me. You should Google the article about Jeremy Foley and his search for the Florida football coach. It's a good article to read. There’s a great part in it about me in terms of my interest in the Florida job and his interest in me, and there was none on his part and none on my part, surprisingly.