Chip Kelly: ‘We Have the Right Players’

The head coach expressed confidence in his personnel despite a slow start.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports.

After losing to the Redskins, 23-20, yesterday, Chip Kelly spoke to the media today as the Eagles sit at 1-3. He explained why he’s confident in his personnel, whether he’ll make changes at kicker or offensive line and more.

 Although the Eagles have won just one game with a quarter of the season complete, Kelly thinks he has the players necessary to be successful.

“We know we have the right players here. It’s a play here or a play there. We lost a game by a two and we lost a game by three and we lost another game by 10. We’ve lost three games by 15 points. You hit two kicks and we’re sitting here 3-1 and everyone’s happy.”

 Kelly explained why he thinks execution is the issue, not the personnel or his scheme.

“Because I’ve seen us move the ball. I saw us move the ball in three out of four drives in the second half against [Washington]; I saw us move the ball in the second half of Atlanta; I saw us move the ball against the Jets so I have confidence in this group. We just have to do it on a more consistent basis.”

He added that the most concerning part of the lack of execution is that many players are making mistakes, not just one.

“Yeah, it does. And it’s guys that we know are good football players. It’s not the same guy, so it’s a different guy each time or it’s not one specific thing. There’s plays to be made there, we’re just not making the plays right now.”

— One unit that hasn’t executed as much as they need to is the offensive line. Although Kelly said at the start of the press conference that he was happy with his personnel, he seemed to walk back from that stance a bit.

“At this point in time, you have to. There’s not a bunch of o-linemen on the street. Everybody is on their different teams at this point in time so you hope [Jason Peters] is healthy this week and he can go. If not, we got to go with what we got.”

— One controversial offseason move was letting Pro Bowl left guard Evan Mathis go, which Kelly still sticks by.

“It’s not a lesson learned. We weren’t going to renegotiate his contract. We were told by his agent if we didn’t renegotiate it, we weren’t getting him back.”

— Because the offensive line hasn’t executed well, DeMarco Murray hasn’t been productive and he has had few carries. After yesterday’s game, Murray said he needs more touches, which Kelly mentioned that he’s okay with his running back saying.

“I want all of our guys at the running back, wide receiver spot to want the football. I don’t think you want someone that says, ‘I don’t want the ball more.’ It’s what you’re looking for. But again, it’s a team-deal on the offensive side of the ball that everybody needs the ball more. We need more than 51 snaps in a game for us to be successful on the offensive side of the ball. When we only have 51 snaps, no one’s going to get the ball as much as they should get the ball.

“We all should be getting more touches on the offensive side of the ball, but when you only have 51 snaps on offense, there aren’t a lot of touches. So if we can stay on the field and snap it for 68, 70 plays, we’re going to have a lot more balance in our run and pass game because we’re on the field longer.”

— In addition to the offensive line, new kicker Caleb Sturgis also struggled. However, Kelly said they won’t cut him and that they also worked out Nick Novak last week, who signed with the Texans.

“We’re going to stay with Caleb. Looked at what’s available out there and don’t feel — I think the state of kicking in the league right now is not very good.”

— One disadvantage the Eagles faced yesterday was that, because their offense didn’t consistently move the ball, the defense was constantly on the field. However, Kelly denied slowing down his tempo to rest the defense would help.

“I don’t think that’s the burden on our defense. The deal all the time is, we need to execute offensively. If we execute offensively, it’s not an issue. Our defense needs to make stops when they have the opportunity to make stops and our offense needs to make plays.”

— One positive development for the Eagles was Sam Bradford’s deep passes. According to Kelly, his offense made no changes and those plays were available because of how Washington defended Philadelphia.

“Sam’s taking what the defense gives us. In the those situations, the defense gave us an opportunity to throw the ball over the top and when they did that, we took advantage of it. So it’s the first time we’ve had the chance to do that.”

— Kelly concluded his press conference by mentioning that Marcus Smith was inactive because Najee Goode and Brad Jones contribute more on special teams. He also said he’s not sure why his team has been inconsistent.

“I wish I knew that answer, then we could go out and fix it tomorrow and get ready to go play the Saints. It’s such a game of confidence. Who’s going to maybe give us that spark to bring the whole group along with them? That’s kind of what we’re looking for right now.”