Philadelphia Eagles head coach spoke to the media on Monday one day after the team's first victory of the 2015 NFL season. Kelly touched on a number of topics, including the play of quarterback Sam Bradford. Bradford has not looked very good for the Eagles through his first three starts. He's completed 62.4% of his passes for 678 yards (a mere 5.8 yards per attempt), three touchdowns, and four interceptions. Despite Bradford's struggles, Kelly remains confident in the quarterback.
"I think Sam’s doing a good job," Kelly said. "Again, there are some throws Sam probably wants back. There are a couple in there that he missed, but there are also some drops, too, that I think could have really extended some drives for us. But we are pleased with Sam right now."
It's true that Bradford has had to deal with untimely drops. In fact, the 11 dropped passes thrown by Bradford are tied for the most in the NFL along with Giants quarterback Eli Manning. But drops are hardly the only reason for Bradford's struggles. He's also had some accuracy issues. Kelly was asked if those issues are a technical problem.
"Yeah, just setting his feet," explained Kelly. "I think on some of those, he had time to set his feet, but was just off target with the throw. That's just kind of a fundamental thing. Then there are some other times -- he made an unbelievable throw when he got flushed in a zero blitz and hit Jordan [Matthews] on the crosser that got it down to the half inch‑yard line and then [Darren Sproles] ran it in for a touchdown."
"Then the one where they brought a zero blitz again and he scrambles out of the pocket and hits Sprolesy on a wheel route right in his hands. Those are two outstanding throws. Again, the same thing I just said, there just has to be, with everybody on the offensive side of the ball, there just has to be more consistency in terms of what we're doing."
More clips from Kelly's press conference below.
Darren Sproles' hard-working approach
Just every day. I mean there's one speed with Darren, it doesn't matter. Every time he catches a punt [in practice], he scores a touchdown. Then when he goes out on the field, every time it gets blocked up pretty good, he's going to score a touchdown. There's a very consistent, going back to what we talked about, there's a consistent approach to Darren Sproles. I have talked to our players about it. We point it out all the time as coaches. I've never been around a guy, and I've been around a lot of guys, that practices as consistently as hard as Darren does every single day. In walk- through, we are done telling him to slow down in walk-through, because he's not going to slow down in walk-through. He goes full speed.
Early, you're trying, ‘Hey, you've got to do ‘this’.’ Doesn't matter. If we have a walk-through punt, he's going to catch a punt and run 60 yards with it and try to score a touchdown. The guys we have to stop, to be honest with you, -- and you can ask [P] Donnie Jones, I have stopped Donnie from trying to chase him because I'm afraid Donnie will pull a hamstring. That's just the way [Sproles] is built and the way he's wired.
We always talk about, you sink to your level of training and what you see on Sundays from Darren is what we see every single day, whether it's a walk-through or whether it's a practice. It's an amazing thing to watch. I wish more players would emulate it because it seems like a pretty good formula that's working.
Ryan Mathews and DeMarco Murray both fit the offense
DeMarco fits in perfectly with what we are doing and Ryan fits in perfectly with what we are doing, and so does Sprolesy [RB Darren Sproles]. I hope if ‑‑ God willing and the Pope can bless us again [joking], all three of them will be available to us on Sunday against the Redskins.
[Mathews] did a good job. He's a physical runner. He does a nice job with the ball in his hands and can break contact at the line of scrimmage. Sometimes when there's not a real huge hole there that anybody can get through, I think when it's even ‑‑ there's an arm tackle, something like that, he's a big, physical runner and obviously runs behind his pads really well. He did a nice job after contact.
Why the Eagles' run defense is so good
Consistency. There's been great effort. I think on our base defense, we’ve got guys that can set edges. We have guys that really do a good job of two‑gapping, in [DT] Bennie [Logan] and [DE] Ced [Thornton] and Fletch [DE Fletcher Cox], and then [DE] Brandon Bair has played well, [DE] Taylor Hart, when he was in there, has played well. We have a consistency, even though we are rotating players along the defensive line, we have consistency there. I think our linebackers know exactly where the ball is going. Jordan really adapted and has fit in really well there in his first extended playing time.
We are getting a lot of consistent play in terms of what we are asking our guys to do, they are doing, on the defensive side of the ball. If it forces people to be one‑dimensional, then you hope you have a little bit of an advantage because you kind of know what's coming, but I think we've been really consistent in our rush defense and you've got to stop the run. If you can make teams one‑dimensional, then obviously things can change for you.
What stands out about Jordan Hicks
Probably coincidence I would say. Leaning towards intentional, because obviously, he was someone that caught our eye. When you sit down and meet with him at the Combine and then your coaches come back and say, ‘Hey we had a really good meeting with him. We think we really need to -- boy, he's pretty sharp from a football standpoint,’ that leads to you want to dig a little bit deeper and find out a little bit more about him.
Right from the jump, when we first started the interview process, just when you meet him and talk football with him, he’s just -- he's a very, very intelligent football player and it showed when we got a chance to sit down and talk with him and then it showed right when we got here in OTAs and then in mini‑camp. He's one of those guys, it's a compliment when we say it, he never acted like a rookie. He's got a maturity to him and he’s got a real good football mind in terms of being able to pick things up and diagnose things. Probably a combination of both to be honest with you.
Byron Maxwell's performance
You know, there was some ups and downs in there. A couple times when he was isolated, there was some plays there. And I know he had a penalty, a hold, in front of our bench, but there was more consistency out of Byron's game here as we have gone on through Week Three. I think he's improved as the season has gone along.
Eric Rowe's development
Yeah, which you anticipate when you have a new corner in the game. He's been bouncing around a little bit in terms of where he's been playing: been inside, been outside, been at some safety, which you have to do if you're not the starter. I think he's been consistent when he's been outside at corner in the last couple of weeks and we felt comfortable if we were going to put him in the game at corner. He did a good job.
Devin Smith, he was the receiver who was covering, can run. He's a real speed guy that they took high out of Ohio State, so we kind of knew that was going to be a good challenge for him. He had two passes thrown on him, one of them was a real good breakup, and the second one, he did a good job of flipping his hips and kind of shielding the receiver towards the sideline and made a real good play on the ball. Hopefully for Eric, it’s what we felt and he'll continue to gain some confidence in himself because we believe that he'll be a really good corner.
Marcus Smith has a future with the Eagles
Yeah, he does have a future here. I just think each game expresses itself differently and how it is. He was a lot -- he spent a lot more time in base defense in practice last week than nickel stuff and we were in nickel. They kind of abandoned the run from their standpoint, so we were in nickel and dime almost once we got up. Got to 24‑0, it turned into a nickel and dime game for us defensively.
Assessment of Nelson Agholor
Nelson has done a nice job when his opportunities have come up. We just haven't had a lot of opportunities to get the ball out to him. He ran ‑‑ we missed him once on a dig and then another on a backside post-route where he did a good job running the routes and was open, but we just didn't get the ball to him on Sunday. But Nelson has done a really nice job since he's been here.
Eagles safeties playing at a high level
Yeah, I have been pleased really with both [DB] Walter [Thurmond] and [S] Malcolm [Jenkins]. Malcolm's versatility to be able to come down and play nickel at times in certain looks or to cover slot receivers has been really good for us, but Walt has that ability, also. They are interchangeable. It's kind of what we've always wanted to get, but I think both those guys are playing really well right now.