Chip Kelly: ‘Sam’s Our Quarterback’

The Eagles picked up their first NFC East win of the season last night, moving to first place in the division.

Sam Bradford and Chip Kelly. (USA Today Sports)

Sam Bradford and Chip Kelly. (USA Today Sports)

Although his quarterback is second in the NFL in interceptions, Chip Kelly stood behind Sam Bradford today after last night’s win.

“Sam’s our quarterback,” Kelly said. “We’ve got full confidence in Sam.”

Bradford completed 24 of his 38 passes for 280 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. Kelly explained one reason the Eagles liked Bradford when they traded for him was his ability to protect the football, but Bradford is on pace to shatter his career-high mark on interceptions in a season (15).

The head coach said receivers sometimes ran the wrong routes and there were other miscommunications, but that he needs to do a better job of preparing his quarterback for games.

“Obviously a lot of situations we do in the training — like everybody — are controlled situations and when it comes to the game it’s uncontrolled situations,” he said. “So we need to simulate it as best we can, but you also can’t go live, full-go and have a rush come after him and try to hit him in practice just because you’re not going to lose your quarterback in practice. That’s the one difficulty with any coach when you’re trying to simulate things in a practice situation that are applicable to the games.”

Kelly also touched on his dominant defense, the rushing attack and a plethora of other topics in his afternoon press conference. Here are some highlights.

Before last night’s game, Eli Manning had only been sacked four times. However, the Eagles generated a great pass rush and brought him down three times.

“It’s two-fold because coverage leads to it. We knew in the quick passing game that we had to get up tighter in coverage and that makes him hold the ball a little bit longer. So I thought our guys did a really good job from a coverage standpoint — aside from really that first drive, we were just off a little bit on that first drive. But they did a better job in coverage which leads him to holding onto the ball a little bit longer.

“And I thought our d-line — especially the front four — got to him. It wasn’t a real big blitz game for us, just because the ball’s out so quick and you don’t want to leave too many voids in behind. So we had to play well in coverage and the coverage then allows the rush to get home.”

Although he capped the Giants’ first drive with a touchdown, Odell Beckham Jr. was relatively quiet and caught zero passes in the second half.

“[Defensive coordinator] Billy [Davis] and [defensive backs coach] Cory [Undlin] and those guys did a really good job of scheming it. We tried to get him doubled as much as possible, and there was a lot of double coverage going on on Odell.”

Kelly also praised the growth of his secondary, particularly his safeties.

“They’re growing as a group. Early when you got a group together, they’re just worried about their job, and then, ‘I got this, and that’s all I do.’ Now it’s kind of looking at the overall picture and where do they fit in to the overall concept of what’s going on back there. I think there’s a better understanding.

“We’ve got two really intelligent safeties that get everybody lined up in Malcolm [Jenkins] and Walter [Thurmond] and that really helps. And then a guy I don’t think gets enough credit is E.J. Biggers, who’s done a really nice job for us. He’s a real, real smart football player. It allows Billy to do some different things call-wise because E.J. can handle it call-wise.”

Despite injuries to Kiko Alonso and Mychal Kendricks, the linebackers have played well too.

“[Linebackers coach] Rick’s [Minter] done a really nice job with the entire group. A lot of it just use to fall on DeMeco’s [Ryans] shoulders and everybody just always kind of looked to him. I think everybody’s taking a little bit more onus and a little bit more on their plate in terms of being able to make the calls and get everybody lined up just because DeMeco’s not going to be in there every snap.”

On the offensive side of the ball, the line has opened up better holes for the running backs to take advantage of.

“Our offensive line is executing. We haven’t changed any schemes; we’re doing the same things we’ve always done. But I think our offensive line is starting to come together and gel and they’re executing and really getting good push at the point of attack.”

DeMarco Murray had his best game of the season with 22 carries for 109 yards and a touchdown. Kelly was asked whether Murray is most effective when he gets his shoulders square to the line of scrimmage.

“You can probably say that about every running back. That’s what football is. You don’t want to play side-to-side; you want to play downhill.”

— After picking up their first NFC East win of the season, the Eagles will play an undefeated Carolina Panthers team Sunday night.

“We’ve looked at them extensively. That’s the one thing when you have an extra day — we were in all day yesterday watching Carolina like we normally do on a Monday, but you still have to play the Giants. They’re the same team, but they’re executing. Cam’s [Newton] playing at a really high level right now; Jonathan Stewart has been healthy.”