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Full Transcript: Chip Kelly, Allen Iverson have similar thoughts on 'practice'

Eagles coach Chip Kelly met with the media prior to Thursday's practice, and offered up his thoughts on practice, which are somewhat similar to those of former Sixer Allen Iverson.

Chip Kelly and Allen Iverson. (Staff and AP photos)
Chip Kelly and Allen Iverson. (Staff and AP photos)Read more

Eagles coach Chip Kelly met with the media prior to Thursday's practice, and offered up his thoughts on practice, which are somewhat similar to those of former Sixer Allen Iverson.

Here's the full transcript:

Q. What happened to WR Brad Smith?

COACH KELLY: He had a core muscle injury, so he had surgery, I think, on Tuesday. So he'll be out for a couple of weeks.

Q. Is that like a sports hernia or is it different?

COACH KELLY: I think it's different.

Q. A couple of the defensive players spoke about disrupting Giants QB Eli Manning early in the down, and it would be important to mess up their timing. Can you kind of explain?

COACH KELLY: I think that's ‑‑ you hope you do that to every quarterback to try to disrupt the timing. I think when you let any team's receivers run clean down the field and the quarterback set his feet to throw the ball, then obviously you're going to be in for a long day. So anytime you can disrupt the timing between the quarterback and the receiver, get the quarterback to move off his launch point, slow the receivers down from getting to where they want to get to, I think it helps you from a whole pass defense, obviously.

Q. Brad Smith was your emergency quarterback, now who is it?

COACH KELLY: [TE] James Casey. He was our emergency quarterback last year until Brad came in.

Q. You often refer to practices as 'training sessions', and I'm just wondering what is behind that?

COACH KELLY: Because that's what we're doing. I think we go out there to train. That's our mentality. That's always been the mentality. That's what I've always called it everywhere I've been. The military trains, boxers train. I agree with Allen Iverson, so I think he's 100 percent right. So we don't want to go out there and practice, because I don't know what practice is good for. Training is what we're all about.

Q. TE Trey Burton has been practicing on kick returns and did a little bit of it in college. How do you like him in that?

COACH KELLY: He has not been practicing on kick returns.

Q. Oh, okay.

COACH KELLY: He's in the back line with the tight ends, if that's what you mean. He hasn't. It'd be [WR Josh] Huff, [CB] Nolan Carroll [II] and [RB] Darren Sproles would be the next guys in.

Q. How much more base defense have you been seeing this year when you're in your three‑wide receiver sets than you saw last year?

COACH KELLY: I don't have the specific numbers for you. More in the Redskins game than everybody else. Everybody else -- the Rams kind of matched, the Colts kind of matched a little bit. The Redskins was probably the one outlier in that situation, where they wanted to stay in base a little bit more. That was the one game that was a little bit different than what they were coming into the game.

Q. Brad Smith's loss on special teams, how big is that?

COACH KELLY: It is big. He's a huge contributor for us on that team. But I think, fortunately, with Josh Huff back and getting Huff a little bit more acclimated back in there, his role will expand a little bit more from a special teams standpoint. Got his feet wet last week a little bit, but will now kind of pick up the slack in some those areas.

Q. Will he return kicks if RB Chris Polk can't play?

COACH KELLY: Yeah, I just said that Josh is our kick returner. We've got Josh, Nolan Carroll, and Darren kind of in that order.

Q. When you evaluate quarterbacks are wins and losses metrics that you believe are valid?

COACH KELLY: I think wins and losses are a valid metric for anybody that plays. I'd evaluate anybody that way. I think that's always something for anybody, no matter who you are. If there is a guy that always seems to be on a winning team, I think there are positives to that in anybody when you evaluate.

Q. When you have a bunch of injuries at one position -- you lost LB Travis Long, LB Najee Goode, LB Mychal Kendricks, LB Jake Knott from the practice squad, LB DeMeco Ryans is banged up and LB Emmanuel Acho you lost for a few snaps -- how much of a challenge is when you just have to keep trying to piece together players at one spot like that?

COACH KELLY: I think Travis we moved in there just because we wanted to see what he could do. Really the guys we lost, we lost Najee, and he's the one that's out for an extended period of time and obviously he's on IR and not coming back. But that's what this league is all about. I don't think there is anybody in the league that's not facing an injury bug somewhere in terms of what their position is. That's just what you have to do. You have to hope you have enough depth and you try to teach your guys that aren't the starters that they have to prepare like they're starters because they're literally a play away. That's not a cliché. They literally are a play away from having to go in and play an extended amount of time and you hope they're prepared. [LB] Casey [Matthews] and Acho have done a good job when they've been thrown into it with Mychal going down. You're limited in terms of the size of your roster, and you're not going to carry 12 inside linebackers because you're worried about injuries there, because you may get short changed somewhere else. That is kind of the nature of the beast in this league. Your back‑ups better prepare like they are starters, and you hope that they did, so that when they get their opportunity to play, you still have a chance to be successful.

Q. How would you assess WR Jordan Matthews five games into his career?

COACH KELLY: I think he's done a really good job. Being a rookie coming into the league, it's obviously a lot different. It's the one position, I think, being a receiver is a lot different than it is in college because of the coverages you face. I don't think you see the coverages in college that you face in the National Football League. I think his adjustment -- he's a really sharp kid. I think he's picked things up from a mental standpoint. There hasn't been any time where you've been like, 'What is he doing here?' He doesn't make many mental busts. I think you can see the game kind of slowing down for him as we've progressed here from the opening game in Jacksonville. Then all of a sudden I thought he played really well in our second game. He's starting to move into getting a little bit better feel, little better rhythm, as he gains experience playing.

Q. Last year you had packages for S Earl Wolff where you would rotate him and he played a lot more than he is now. Why doesn't he see as much time as last year?

COACH KELLY: We didn't have any packages. I just think at that time we were unstable at the safety position. Pat [former Eagles S Patrick Chung] got hurt early, so we had to try to figure out who our next safety in the game was at that point in time. So I think it had a lot to do with the injuries at that position more than anything else.

Q. In roster building, have you found that the veterans and more experienced players are more helpful on special teams?

COACH KELLY: No, because you could argue it both ways. I think Trey Burton has been a huge plus for us on special teams, but I also think when you have guys that have experience, it's more the type of mentality that they all have. I think [S] Chris Maragos and [S] Malcolm Jenkins, guys that have played a lot of [special] teams, have done a great job of helping Trey. James Casey has done a great job of helping Trey. But I wouldn't discount what he's done as a rookie. I wouldn't discount what [K] Cody Parkey has done as a rookie. Then you get wily veterans like [P] Donnie Jones and [LS] Jon Dorenbos who are with Cody every day kind of explaining how we want to get things done. Obviously, anybody that has more experience is going to be a better player, but it doesn't mean that if you are a rookie that you can't contribute. It's more about your mindset of being a contributor on special teams.

Q. Some roster spots on other teams are used for more development players sometimes. Those spots here are for core special teams guys. Guys like Maragos and Casey. Is that intentional?

COACH KELLY: No, I think we're building our team -- and I said it yesterday -- to try to win right now. So that's what this deal is all about.

Q. What has G/T Todd Herremans shown you since he got here as far as consistency and being solid?

COACH KELLY: Again, you go back to the experience factor and just a guy that's a true professional and understands exactly what to do. I think he may tell you, too, he had his best offseason this year just in his approach. I think he knows he's getting a little older in age, and has to really attack it in the offseason, and he really did. I think it has showed so far. He's been a real mainstay for us on the right side. He had to bump out and play tackle in the San Francisco game. I think just his approach and how he's here. He was a guy that was here every day in the offseason starting probably a week or two after the season ended. You'd see him in this building every single day working at it. It's just kind of his approach and that mindset that I wanted here when I got here. We had a lot of core, veteran guys that had that same belief when I got here and it made the transition very easy for us.

Q. From a coaching standpoint, do you think it's harder to hide deficiencies on the line of scrimmage than it is elsewhere on the field?

COACH KELLY: No, I mean, in this league, if you're deficient you're going to get exploited by anybody. I don't think there is one that's easier to hide than the other, to be honest with you. If you're deficient at the corner spot, people will find that out and go find those guys. I think if you're deficient in any spot, no matter where it is, I think the coaching at this level is so good, that they'll find out where the weak links are and try to exploit it.

Q. When you're down a couple of linemen -- I know you've previously mentioned you're feeling on the importance of big people above everything else when trying to win ballgames in the NFL -- what kind of problem can that cause for you across the board if you're down a couple of those guys?

COACH KELLY: It doesn't matter what position you are if you're down a couple guys. If you're deficient a couple guys at inside linebacker, you're going to get exploited. If you're deficient in the secondary, you're going to get exploited. But, everybody has it. It's one of the things that everybody in this league [has] and people don't really talk about it, and you shouldn't talk about it, because everybody's banged up. There is not one team we've played where it's been like, 'Hey, they're 100 percent healthy, and we're not 100 percent healthy. This is a disadvantage.' It's kind of what goes on around the league and you just have to be able to weather that storm.

Q. LB Brandon Graham admitted that he had a really tough transition coming out of college to the NFL. Can you talk about his growth in the last year, especially from a mental standpoint?

COACH KELLY: It's Brandon's second year in the system, a lot more experience, his ability to play both positions. He can play where [LB] Trent [Cole] is. He can also play where [LB] Connor [Barwin] is. I think that's really helped him. As I said the other day, and I'll say it again, his play on special teams has really elevated. He's been a real force for us on kickoff cover. I think a lot of times [he's] demanding double teams because of his ability to get down the field. Then if you're going to put one guy on him, he's such a physical, explosive guy, a lot of times he's just blowing that guy up. So he's starting to get more double teams and freeing guys up in that situation. So I've just seen his overall game, whether it's been on defense or special teams, really take a big jump this year, and I'm excited for him. I think as we continue to grow, we'll continue to find different ways to use Brandon.

Q. How about mentally?

COACH KELLY: I think he's always been there mentally. I think he just had to go to a new system. He was probably in the same boat with a lot of guys last year, in terms of learning a whole new system. I think he did everything he could last year, and now that it's his second year into it, he's a lot more comfortable in terms of what we're doing.

Q. Last year, the Giants, in that first game, had the nose run what they're calling a 'Nut Stunt.' Have you seen teams do that?

COACH KELLY: Yeah, I think everybody in the league runs it and moves their nose guard around. That's not a specific thing to the Giants. I mean, we do it. Everybody does it. You start the nose on one side and loop him over to the other side. They didn't do it every play. They just did it once or twice.

Q. Do you think you guys adapted to it in that second game against the Giants?

COACH KELLY: No, they did it in the second game and had some success doing it too. Sometimes we were successful, sometimes they were successful. That's not an uncommon thing. There are a lot of teams that move their D‑line, and run defensive line stunts and run game stunts in terms of trying to shut your run down. I think we get it every week. I know we saw it in the first game against Jacksonville; they did a lot of movement on the defensive line. Same thing.

Q. When the running backs jump in place and bounce up and down before the snap, what's that accomplish? What is the purpose of that?

COACH KELLY: When they do what?

Q. Bounce up and down?

COACH KELLY: They're just going in motion. They can't stop, because if they stop they have to hold the play for a second. They're just going in motion. That's why I was confused. We're not jumping in place.

Q. It looks like sometimes they're just lined up next to the quarterback, not even in motion. They're just standing there?

COACH KELLY: But if you watched them before the play, they were somewhere else and they moved over there. If they stop, you have to hold the play for a count because it's a shift. So whenever they're moving they need to stay in motion and if not we have to hold the ball before we can snap the ball. It's no different than a receiver that comes down to the end on the wing and kind of chops his feet. That is just the rules of the league. You can't do anything from that standpoint.

Q. In training sessions, what specifically do you look for from Foles on a day‑to‑day basis?

COACH KELLY: Consistency. You know, really just charting what we do from what plays we need [and asking], 'Were we successful with this and where weren't we successful with that? Let's get in the meeting room and find out what his thought process was. We ran this play against this coverage and he made this decision. What did he see? Did he see it the way we're seeing it? Are we on the same page?' Overall, it's no different than any other position. You're analyzing everybody that way. It could be an offensive guard that fan blocks [and you ask], 'Why are you fan blocking versus this look because there is not a guy outside of the defensive end. We've got to keep it in the box and make a box call.' Same things we analyze at every position.