Chip: Starters Will Play Sunday Regardless

Chip Kelly sideline talks to referee
If the Cowboys beat the Redskins Sunday afternoon, the night time tilt between the Eagles and Bears becomes meaningless in terms of determining a division winner. In that scenario, the NFC East would be decided in Week 17 when the Eagles and Cowboys square off in Dallas.

Would Chip Kelly rest his starters against Chicago if it plays out that way?

“No,” he said. “We’ve got to play. We’re not in a situation where we’ve gotta rest anybody. We’ve got to play, we’ve got to get back on the winning track and we’ve got to be ready to play winning football. Our philosophy has always been, it’s on the line every single time you play, it’s not what goes on outside of there. We need to get better as a football team, everybody needs to play.”

The other thing to keep in mind is seeding. The Eagles are still fighting for the No. 3 seed (both they and the NFC North leading Bears stand at 8-6), so there is meaning to this week’s game from that perspective.

Will Kelly be monitoring the Dallas-Washington game?

“No, I’m going to live in a vacuum,” he said. “We’ll know the score. We all have phones and televisions and all that other stuff. But I mean am I going to be glued to the set? No. It is what it is. Whatever happens in that game still doesn’t affect us in terms of, we still have to go out and play the Chicago Bears. I don’t think we’re going to have  a victory party and say, ‘Heck, we’ve got to get over to the stadium, we have a game right now.’ We’ve gotta go play.”

The Eagles’ overall situation was improved thanks to a late comeback by Green Bay against the Cowboys early Sunday evening. That was all transpiring as the Eagles were in the air on their way back to Philadelphia. The result of that game brought little comfort to the head coach.

“Some guys have got some updates and they told us the score but I know I didn’t feel very good,” said Kelly.  “I don’t really care what goes on with Dallas, to be honest with you. We lost to the Vikings and that’s not a very good feeling. My whole philosophy is I’m worried about what we can control and we don’t control what other people do. What we control is how we play and we didn’t play well enough yesterday.”

Some other highlights from Kelly’s day-after press conference:

— Kelly addressed the reports tying him to the vacant head-coaching position at Texas.

“I’m the coach of the Philadelphia Eagles and we’re going to prepare for the Bears, we’re going to prepare for the Cowboys after that, hopefully we have an opportunity to go to the playoffs, and I plan on being here for awhile.

“It’s just speculation. I haven’t spoken to anybody nor will I speak to anybody.”

Do you now consider yourself a pro coach, and in this realm for good?

“I’ve consider myself a pro coach eight times this year, and six times I haven’t,” he joked.

— Kelly further explained his decision to avoid kicking to explosive return man Cordarrelle Patterson. Alex Henery, he said, wasn’t getting the ball out of the end zone during warm-ups.

“We monitored it and we watched some pregame warm-up and kicked some at [halftime] and he’s five, six yards deep in the end zone so those are coming out.”

Kelly has not determined yet whether they will approach Devin Hester in a similar way. If they do try to avoid him, they’ll probably do more “mortar kicks” [kicked high in the air] than squib kicks, which Kelly noted were not very successful against Minnesota.

— Kelly said he’ll speak with both DeSean Jackson and receivers coach Bob Bicknell about Sunday’s sideline spat but didn’t think it was that big of a deal.

— As for LeSean McCoy only getting eight carries, Kelly mentioned that Minnesota was playing a single-high safety and had an extra man in the box for much of the game, leading to man-on-man opportunities in the pass game that he thought he could exploit. Defenses bringing extra men into the box to defend McCoy, though, is really nothing new.