Kelly: Romo the Key To Dallas’ Offense
Would Chip Kelly rather face Dez Bryant and know what to game plan for, or not face Bryant and have to game plan a little more?
“I’d say the latter,” Kelly told reporters with a grin Wednesday. “[Bryant]’s really good. Put a little bit more on the coaches and a little bit less on covering Dez? I think we’ll be up for that. We can figure out what they set in the game and get a chance to match it. We just know he won’t be playing.”
Kelly talked a lot about how the Dallas offense will look without Bryant, who is out for anywhere between four and eight weeks with a broken foot. He acknowledged that losing a big playmaker like Bryant will obviously affect the Cowboys in that they have one fewer receiver, but pointed out that Tony Romo — “one of the best quarterbacks in the league” right now, according to Kelly — has plenty of other weapons at his disposal.
“Any time you lose a player like that, it’s difficult,” Kelly explained. “But, just the same, it’s not like they don’t have other weapons. They have Jason Witten and Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams, and, the way [Romo]’s playing right now, one of the best quarterbacks in the league, the way he’s running the show.
“You’re going to lose a good player because of Dez and what a dynamic football player he is, but it’s not like there’s a huge discrepancy and they don’t have other people in there. The key to that offense is the quarterback. He’s playing at a really high level right now.”
Here are some more highlights from Kelly’s press conference.
— Kelly was asked why Atlanta had success against the Eagles’ running game, limiting the Birds to 63 yards on the ground Monday.
“I think part of it was we got away from it,” Kelly explained. “We called a ton of passes in the second half, but we were down 20-3. It’s a three-score game at that point and we’re trying to get back into it. We also felt our match-ups inside, whether it be our tight ends or our running backs or our inside receivers, were really good for us to move the football.
“To us, running the ball or throwing the ball, it doesn’t matter. We’re equal-opportunity ball movers. If you want to let us have the opportunity to throw the ball in front of you, and we can get the ball into Darren [Sproles]’s hands — a lot of the times, when [running backs] get the ball out of the backfield, we equate that to a long handoff. You get the ball to the back in the flat, and he turns it up for 10, it’s still the same concept to us.”
— Kelly’s answer, when asked about technique breakdowns in the season opener.
“I think you have technique problems everywhere in game one,” he said. “It’s something you have to constantly work on. I thought we had problems on the perimeter blocking, we had technique problems up front, we had technique problems at every position. And I think every team’s that way. It’s not just, ‘Hey, we covered that in camp, we’re good to go.’ It’s an ongoing process of improving your fundamentals.”
— Kelly said he hasn’t seen any change in DeMarco Murray‘s demeanor this week as the running back prepares to take on his former team.
“I think DeMarco’s a very grounded individual,” Kelly said. “He’s pretty consistent in his approach every day when he’s here; he’s not an up-and-down guy. I think sometimes it just depends on the individual. He’s been fine. We’ll monitor him like we monitor all of our players this week, but I haven’t seen a change in him.”
— In injury news, David Molk has been placed on season-ending injured reserve with a torn biceps. Kelly said Molk suffered the injury on a kick late in the game against Atlanta. The Eagles have signed Julian Vandervelde to the 53-man roster in Molk’s place.
— Every player except for Seyi Ajirotutu, who is still undergoing concussion protocol after suffering a head injury Monday, is expected to participate on Wednesday according to Kelly, including Marcus Smith. He said the team will monitor Smith’s progress as the week continues.
— The Eagles also made a few practice squad moves Wednesday morning, as defensive end Brian Mihalik was waived/injured with a high ankle sprain and tight end Connor Hamlett was signed to the 10-man squad.
— Finally, Field Yates is reporting that the Eagles signed Brandon Bair to a one-year extension with a base of $675,000.