Chip: Not the Time For Evaluations
Chip Kelly and the media faced a conflict of interest as they engaged in their back in forth Monday, a day after the Eagles were officially eliminated from postseason contention.
With one game remaining on the docket, Kelly had little interest in getting into big-picture, end-of-season evaluations, while the press had no use for particulars about Sunday’s finale in New York. That was part of the dynamic at play during an interesting and at times testy 15-plus minutes on the edge of the NovaCare practice field.
As far as the newsy items go: Nick Foles will sit out against the Giants, his fractured collarbone still not fully healed. Mark Sanchez will get the start at quarterback. Kelly said the coaching staff had yet to sit down and discuss whether Bradley Fletcher would remain the starting left corner this week.
Asked about using this last game as an opportunity to evaluate some of his younger players, Kelly made it quite clear where he stands on that issue.
“Let’s get that straight: we’re going [to New York] to win the football game,” he said. “Our job is to go up and play the New York Giants and we’re going to do everything we can to beat the New York Giants.”
The upside of not playing some of your younger guys?
“The upside is we’re going to go win a football game. That’s what this whole organization is all about. It’s not about trying to see what the future is. I would not be fair in any of my beliefs and I would not be fair to any football player right now if I said to some guy, ‘Hey, I know you’re a better player but I’m going to play a younger guy now.’ That’s not what we’re all about. If you want to go do that, go somewhere else. That’s not us. If we get a chance to go put the ball on the ground, we’re going to play football. That’s what we’re going to do.”
When it was suggested that this type of situation had been handled differently by the organization in the past, Kelly replied: “I wasn’t here before. In the two years I’ve been here, we’re going to go play football. And that’s the message from the owner to me. That’s what we’re going to do. If it wasn’t like that, I wouldn’t be here.”
A couple other highlights from the gathering:
— Kelly was asked if he feels the team made a mistake moving on from DeSean Jackson. “No, we feel confident in what we did. He played real well against us and you give him credit, he’s a good football player, but no I don’t.”
— Fletcher was pulled in favor of Nolan Carroll late against Washington. Why the decision to stick with him over Carroll or Brandon Boykin over the last few weeks?
“I think Bradley has played well during the year,” said Kelly. “He got beat a couple times by Dez Bryant but on Thanksgiving he didn’t get beat by Dez Bryant. He actually played well in that game. You’ve got to look at it through the whole time. I think there’s been times where he’s played really good football for us.”
A reporter asked Kelly if he’d be confident in leaving Fletcher alone on Odell Beckham Jr. if he does decide to start him.
“We haven’t talked about any of that,” said Kelly.
“I was just looking ahead to the next game,” the reporter responded, referencing the fact that Kelly didn’t want to get into any end-of-season type talk.
“Was that like a wiseass comment?” Kelly shot back. Like I said, a little testy.
— There was some big-picture talk. Kelly was asked if he feels this team is still pointed in the right direction despite falling short of the playoffs this year.
“I like our attitude. I like our mindset. I like what the players are like in that locker room in terms of what we’ve got to get accomplished. Obviously we don’t like the situation we’re in right now in terms of losing three games, but I think there is a core group of guys in there that really love playing football and will continue to battle and play,” he said.
“Sometimes the ball bounces your way. You always kind of forget about the close ones you win and don’t think about how close they were, but when you lose those ones we’ve lost like the one on Saturday you continue to go back and harp on all those things that didn’t help you win that football game, and rightly so. But I like the attitude and the direction those guys are heading in.”