Head coach Chip Kelly met the media Tuesday for the first time since the Eagles' 36-10 win over the Colts in the team's preseason opener. Kelly recapped the performances of several key members of the team, provided injury updates on some key players and looked ahead to this Saturday's game against the Ravens.
Before Saturday, though, Baltimore head coach Jim Harbaugh returns to his old stomping grounds Wednesday through Friday for joint practices. Kelly said the biggest thing for the Eagles is getting to practice against new players and see looks they didn't see against the Colts.
"I just think it's different competition," Kelly said. "Number one, a different offense. They will see a little bit more two‑back. We didn't see much two‑back. We got a little, just a little from the Colts, but they did it with an extra tight end in the backfield playing with a true fullback. Schematically, I think there are some different things that I think our defense is excited to get a chance to see.
"I think any time you get a chance to compete against another team, when you have players like [Ravens WR] Steve Smith out there at receiver and [Ravens QB] Joe Flacco, who is one of the best in the league; that's always the great thing when we got a chance to go against the Patriots, you got to play against [Patriots QB] Tom Brady. We get a chance to go play against Flacco. You’ve got [Ravens OLB Terrell] Suggs and [OLB Elvis] Dumervil and that group on the outside linebackers and defensive line in terms of pass rush. So that will be some good matchups with our offensive line. I think the competition part of it is what we are real excited about."
Here are some other nuggets from Kelly's press conference:
Offensive line play on Sunday
Well, you played a lot of different groupings so I think a lot of guys got an opportunity to play. I thought the first group did a decent job, especially in protection. We were pretty clean except for one play that [QB] Mark [Sanchez] ended up slipping underneath the linebacker and getting a first down actually scrambling for it. The first line did a good job of keeping the quarterback clean.
We had a little too much push in our second and third group. I thought the pocket collapsed a little bit on both [QB] Matt [Barkley] and on [QB] Timmy [Tebow] a little bit. So those are some things we have to correct. But overall, I thought the communication was good and they knew what they were doing from an assignment standpoint. There's a lot of technical things we need to continue to work on.
Competition for the nickel cornerback job
We actually used [DB Eric] Rowe, [DB Jaylen] Watkins and [CB] Denzel [Rice]. I think all those guys had some really good plays. Eric made a nice play on a fumble strip near our sideline. Also caused another fumble. When [S Chris] Maragos came in, they ended up ‑‑ Indianapolis ended up recovering it.
But I thought he ‑‑ for the first time in there, because he's only been there for the least amount of time -- we just moved those corners in there -- we were pleased with him, and Jaylen did some nice things in there. So it's still an ongoing process but we were pleased how the nickels played.
The play of Matt Barkley and Tim Tebow
I thought both of them played well but I think on both of their occasions there's a couple missed communications where some things broke down that were not their fault. So they have to kind of make some adjustments on it. But I thought they both, when they had time, threw the ball very well, were accurate with their throws.
Matt got a little bit more throws than Timmy had in terms of just play calling but that wasn't by design. It was just kind of how the game expressed itself but I thought they both took advantage of their opportunities.
The progression of Bennie Logan
We were pleased, really pleased with him. I thought he played really, really well. His knowledge and understanding of blocking schemes now, going into year three for him, really sharp. Made some real just not only were they physical, tough plays but he knew what plays they were running based upon what was happening. He back‑doored once on a power play when the center blocked back on him and came deep around the center and made a tackle in the backfield. They tried to cut him off once when he was at nose, but the right guard couldn't get to him so he stayed flat on the center and flattened him down and then made another play in the backfield. And another one, it was a little twist game inside but again recognized the blocking scheme immediately and then came off of it. We were really pleased with him and how he played on Sunday.
Depth along the defensive line
There's a lot of people that coach the same things to their ones and twos but there's a drop off because of the talent level. When you have the ability to bring [DE] Vinny [Curry] and [DT] Beau Allen and [DE] Taylor Hart and [DE] Brandon Bair in that next group, there's not a big dropoff. And that's one of the things we look for because of how tough it is to play defensive line and how much effort we ask our players to exert.
It's great that you have the opportunity to spell those guys, so [DE Fletcher Cox] Fletch and [DE Cedric Thornton] Ced and Bennie can go play ten snaps and then get a rest for three or four and then those guys can come back and they end up being fresher than the guys they are lined up against because if you are an offensive tackle, Fletch is further center, Bennie is out of the game, good, here comes Beau Allen.
There's not a big dropoff, but I think because of how we rotate those guys and what we demand of them from a practice standpoint and then their individual skills really fits to what we are trying to do.
Depth at the skill positions
Yes, there were times when you were calling plays and thinking, ‘Who is in the game?’ The play call [may have] changed a little bit. You watch Ryan [RB Ryan Mathews], he only had two carries, but we think of Ryan as a No. 1 back, we think of DeMarco as a No. 1 back and we think of Darren [RB Darren Sproles] in that situation, too. Then at wide receiver, with the additions of Nelson [WR Nelson Agholor] and Miles, we have some guys to go along with Coop [WR Riley Cooper] and Jordan [WR Jordan Matthews] and Huff [WR Josh Huff]. Then with TuTu [WR Seyi Ajirotutu] and Maehl [WR Jeff Maehl], I think we have a lot more depth than we've had at receiver and at running back.