The New England Patriots take on the Philadelphia Eagles in a preseason game at Gillette Stadium on Friday, August 15, 2014.
EAGLES HEAD COACH CHIP KELLY**
Q: Were you pleased with Nick Foles' performance this week?
CK: Yeah, I thought he bounced back. Unfortunately the first play of the game, we fumbled and couldn't get them off the field, so it took a while to get back into rhythm. I thought when he got back out there, I was pleased with how he performed and how he moved those guys down the field a little bit. It's better obviously than the Chicago game in terms of his and that whole first group's performance. Overall, I'm just really disappointed in the turnovers and the penalties. We need to clean that up if we're going to win any football games.
Q: What did you see with the issues on defense, particularly on third down?
CK: We need to generate a better pass rush. I think our defensive line needs to do a better job in terms of what their rush contains are. We had the one play with [Ryan] Mallett where Marcus [Smith] does a nice job, makes him flush up in the pocket, but we got nobody on that side containing the quarterback, and you let the quarterback scramble in for a touchdown. We used a lot of different combinations. There are a lot of things … We tried to get some guys in with the ones because you want to see them work around, and we had a lot of different rotations going on just to see if we could get some guys evaluated on film. We do need to generate a better pass rush, especially against someone the caliber of Tom [Brady].
Q: You said you're frustrated with the penalties. Are you grading it on a curve of how they're calling it?
CK: No, there is no curve. Those are the rules, and we've got to play by them. And whoever ends up being the most disciplined team in this league is going to win, but the rule is not going to change. And that's what I told those guys in the locker room. I think we had 10, and they had 11, and it seems like it's like that overall, but I don't think on tomorrow or Sunday, Roger [Goodell] is going to say, 'Hey we're going to change it.' We've got to learn to not get our hands in people's faces, and we've got to understand that after five yards it's illegal contact. And if you can't play within the rules, you can't play in this league.
Q: The officials say that they think it will be cleaned up by the regular season. Are you confident that is going to be the case?
CK: If you can't play within the rules, you can't play in this league. That's just the bottom line. You're just handing people first downs. We better figure it out, and as I said earlier, whichever team ends up being the most disciplined team from that standpoint is going to have a big advantage in this league. It's a challenge to everybody. We all have to figure it out. That's the deal.
Q: Do you have to adjust the way you're teaching?
CK: No, because we don't teach that. We don't teach people to grab receivers after five yards downfield, and if that becomes your go-to move and that's what you've got to do, you can't play. You've got to figure that out. And we never teach anybody to strike anybody in the face. We need to get your bad in your targets, and we've got to understand that that's going to be called, and if that's going to be called, then you've got to fix it. You don't have to agree with the speed limit, but if the cop's out there with a speed gun, you better take your foot off the gas or he's going to pull you over. It's the bottom line. Rules are rules, and you've got to follow them.
Q: Do you see similarities between Zach Ertz and Jordan Matthews in that both bounced back from having drops early in their rookie seasons?
CK: That's a big reach for me. I'm happy with Jordan's performance today. He was a little overexcited playing in his first NFL football game against Chicago. The Jordan that we've seen in practice is the Jordan that you saw today. I think he had nine targets, nine catches, did a good job with the run after the catch. The same thing that we've seen when we've been in our training sessions at the NovaCare [complex] is what we finally saw tonight. He's just such an emotional guy and plays at such a high level that I think he was just ramped up a little bit too much in the Chicago game, so I'm glad with what we saw tonight.
Q: What about Mark Sanchez's play?
CK: His only incompletion was the interception, and I think he probably wants it back, too. That was the one bad ball. Matt [Barkley] had one, but it bounced off of us. I think Mark, in his performance in the Chicago game and in his performance again tonight, he's made us feel really comfortable in the quarterback position. I think he's getting stronger. He's really comfortable in what we're doing. He's got a really good feel for playing quarterback, so we've been really happy with him so far.
Q: Why is your third-down defense still an issue?
CK: We're not getting to the quarterback. We've got to do a better job of creating pressure on the quarterback.
Q: It looked like there were a lot of plays with Curtis Marsh where he was there but couldn't make the play. Is it an awareness thing?
CK: He obviously didn't have a very good night, but he had been playing well. You guys had seen it in camp. I think he has really upped his game from a year ago. Tonight, he gave up a couple touchdowns and had a couple penalties called against him, but we'll see, we'll watch film with him and go back and keep coaching him. But he's a competitor. We'll see how he responds and bounces back in the Steelers game.
Q: As a whole, how productive was the week here in Foxborough?
CK: It was very productive. I think any time two teams that kind of think alike, what we wanted to get accomplished on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and what Bill [Belichick] wanted to get accomplished – I think both of us are really happy with the whole week. I think how our teams get along, it's physical at the point of attack. The offensive and defensive lines had a lot of really, really good work this week. And then when you get a chance with our pass defense in seven-on-seven and 11-on-11 against Tom [Brady] and his receivers, obviously a lot of teaching can go on there. There is still a ton of film that we need to watch with our guys so we can go over and point out things. It was really good for us to go against their defense and see a little bit of a different scheme. It's going to help us a little bit. We saw a lot of 3-4 in practice this week, and we'll see a lot of 3-4 against the Steelers. We thought the week was really, really successful, and we enjoyed doing it.
Q: Vinny Curry got some reps with the first team. Is there any way to get him more playing time?
CK: He had it tonight, so we'll evaluate that. That was a big thing for us. We wanted to get Vinny in with the ones and see how productive he could be. We'll go back as a staff and look at the tape and see how productive he is.
Q: How much concern is there that Nick Foles isn't going to get a lot of preseason game time with Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin?
CK: That's the way it is. When guys get injured, then you've just got to play with who you've got. We anticipate both those guys being out there on Sunday, from what I understand. I know Riley definitely on Sunday, and [Jeremy Maclin] said he felt good tonight, so we'll see how it goes. But we're never going to complain about injuries or say, 'Hey, I wish this happened or that happened.' Guys get injured in this game. You've got to learn how to play. If they're not up, then the guy behind him has got to be ready to go.
Q: Are all those hamstring injuries a concern for you?
CK: What do you mean "all those"?
Q: I think there are eight players with hamstring injuries.
CK: I think that number is high. I don't think there are eight.
Q: Unless the injuries are to a wrong part of the body that we know of…
CK: I just don't know if there are eight. I'll check on that, but that seems high to me.
Q: What are your positives and negatives after tonight?
CK: I think the negatives obviously are the turnovers and the penalties. You've got to clean that up. You're not going to win a lot of football games if you turn it over four times and have double-digit penalties. That's obviously something we need to work on. We got a punt block today, so obviously there were some positives on special teams from that standpoint. I thought we ran the ball better, especially with the second group. We got some of the young guys in there, and we had a couple guys out, but Henry Josey got a chance to get in and play and was productive. So I think some of the guys in that situation [played well]. I thought quarterback play was better. There was one bad ball that Mark [Sanchez] had and I know wants back, but you really can't fault Matt Barkley on the interception he had. He put it right where it needs to be, and it bounced off our guy and it goes up in the air and they intercept it. So I thought our quarterback play was pretty good.
Q: Is Alex Henery's missed field goal indicative of what you've seen in training camp?
CK: No, I think he's been really good in training camp, so we'll take a look at where it was. But what was it – a 47-yarder? You've got to make 47-yarders in this league.
Q: You had Travis Long and Marcus Smith in early and then Brandon Graham later. What was that about?
CK: Just a rotation; just trying to take a look at guys and see what they can do. I know Brandon was in early on special teams. It's just trying to take a look at different guys and see how they can perform. It's no different from Vinny [Curry] getting a lot of snaps with the ones. We're just trying to get an indication. Sometimes you look at guys and they're productive, but who are they productive against? It's the same thing, Curtis [Marsh] got a lot more reps today, especially with Cary [Williams] going out, so it was just a situation where we got a chance to evaluate a guy. Sometimes it's tough because it's not apples-to-apples; it's apples-to-oranges because he did a really good job, but he was in with the twos and the threes. What's he going to be like when he's in with the ones? So we've got to try to get him in when he's in with the ones.
Q: Are you confident that Alex Henery is the answer at the kicker position?
CK: Yeah, I'm confident in Alex, but again, we've got to convert in games, too. I've been real excited with him in practice, and I think he's worked on some things with Coach [Dave] Fipp in terms of placing the ball on kickoffs better and hitting things as we've gone through training camp, but we also have to do it in the game.
Q: Is Josh Huff's shoulder injury serious?
CK: I don't know that. I just know he was out for the game, so I don't know exactly what the status is of him. I know [Brandon] Boykin had a cramp. I think he was the other guy that was down in the game, but I don't know about Josh. I was just told he was out, so I haven't gotten anything back. I haven't met with [head athletic trainer] Chris [Peduzzi] since then.
Q: How would you characterize B.J. Cunningham's camp so far?
CK: I think he's been solid. There are a bunch of guys there. I think he's just been solid. He hasn't been a standout where he's flashed, and we're saying we've got to do this, this, this and this, but I think he's a steady, solid guy. He's obviously fighting for the back end of that wide receiver spot in there, so a lot of that has to come in with [special] teams in terms of how he fits in from a team standpoint. But I think B.J. has been solid so far.
EAGLES QUARTERBACK NICK FOLES
NF: It was definitely an interesting game. The Patriots had the ball for quite a bit in the first quarter. Cary [Williams] made a play with the pick-six that kept the defense on the field, but I was just excited to get back out there.
Q: Nick, you said last week that you were kind of sick to your stomach after throwing those two interceptions. But you also said it was the preseason, so did you come in here thinking you needed to have a much better effort?
NF: Definitely. I wanted to come in here and I just wanted to play a clean game and just be efficient. Just go through my reads, we had a week of preparation, and just focus on seeing the defense. Go through it, stay in rhythm, and move in the pocket and stay alive, if I need to. You know, get the ball to the guys.
Q: Do you focus that the next one [game] has got to be better?
NF: I mean, you know, human nature is that if you have a bad game, you want to have a good one the next game. You don't want to have a bad game again. But you know, going into the Bears game, I felt good. I made a couple mistakes that I really focused on this week. And it was good getting back to practice and we were fortunate to where we practiced against the Patriots. So I was able to go against a different defense all week with my guys and I felt good out there. And I think a big thing in this game is, we can't turn over the ball and we can't shoot ourselves in the foot. You know, that really hurts us.
Q: You got some snaps with Jordan Matthews tonight. What is your chemistry level?
NF: I felt really comfortable with Jordan. I think we have a great group of guys. We've been a little shorthanded, you know, with a couple of the guys out there. But, I feel like the guys that are playing have really stepped up and done a great job of stepping into their role. A lot of them are newer to the offense, they are still getting a grasp of it, but Jordan played very well tonight and the young guys did as well.
Q: How important is it to get Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin out there for what is probably your last preseason action?
NF: You know, we've got to make sure they are healthy first. You know, I'll be excited when they are back because they are two tremendous receivers that I know I will be excited to get them back out on the field. But I want to make sure their health is there. And to make sure that they are healthy enough to go out there before they go out there because you don't want to re-aggravate an injury because then you are out for longer. They just have to take care of business this week and hopefully they will be out there to play the Steelers.
Q: How frustrating are the penalties because so much of what you like to do offensively is based on quick tempo, rhythm, and the penalties seem to stall that desire and that objective?
NF: Yeah, I mean, we've just got to play cleaner. You know, the refs are really keying in on a couple things this season and they are calling it. And they are not going to shy away from it. It's not like we can talk them out of a call. They make their call and they are going to go about it. I don't think a ref has ever changed his call. So we need to play smarter, play cleaner and it does stall drives. You know, you get things moving and then all of a sudden there is a penalty and it does take away a little bit of the rhythm of the offense. But it's something that we are going to learn and we are going to get back to work this week and focus on our techniques. And get better at it.
Q: You played with Rob Gronkowski in college, right? In Arizona?
NF: Yeah, we played at the same time.
Q: I know that he and Zach Ertz are different animals, built differently, but do you see any similarities? Anything in their games or what they do to defenses?
NF: Yeah, I think they are big guys and they can run really well. They are big targets. You have big range when you throw to them. They aren't guys that you have to hit them in the chest every time. They have great hands, they have great hand-eye coordination to where they can go down low or up high and really make a big play. So, they are both outstanding players.
Q: Can you see being the leading receiver on this team?
NF: I think Zach is doing a great job right now. You know, we are going to keep going, we are going to keep getting better and who knows, I just want him to go out there and play like Zach Ertz. Like he did tonight, like how he has been doing. He is a tremendous player and he works every day to get better. He's a great teammate, so we will see what happens. We will see how the cards unfold.
Q: Can you speak to Brent's Celek toughness and how that kind of translates to the rest of the team?
NF: Brent is one of the toughest dudes I've ever been around and he's known for making catches like that, where he just catches it and puts his head down and gets blasted. But you know he'll lay some licks. I think when you have a guy, a leader like Brent Celek, go out there, catch a ball like that and keep going, take the hit and get right up, it says a lot to the younger guys about the toughness it takes to be a leader in this league. And Brent's done a great job at that. He gets back up and, you know, he's fun to watch.
Q: Were you expecting a big game from Jordon Matthews?
NF: Yeah, he continues to work every day. He's a young guy, he's a rookie this year and I remember what it was like as a rookie. You have a lot of emotions going and ups and downs and he's really done a good job so if he has a rough day, he bounces back and keeps working. He doesn't let himself get down and that's going to be one of his greatest attributes through his career. He continues to grind, he continues to work. Tonight he had over 100 yards receiving.
Zach Ertz, Tight End
(On his second season)
"I feel way more comfortable out there this year than I was last year. The past is behind us and we have a lot of things to improve on. We had four turnovers and a ton of penalties, which is unacceptable for our standards. That's something we'll have to work on in the future."
(On some of the things needed to be worked on)
"Just being efficient. We can't have negative plays on first down and we can't have penalties. Those things stop drives fast. Nick Foles went 8-for-10 tonight and we still put up one touchdown when he was in. That's not acceptable in our minds. We want to become the best offense in the league. That's our goal right now and we're not going to settle for anything less."
Henry Josey, Running Back
(On the game and running backs LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles)
"It was good and I felt great. We have been practicing like this all week like that just to get prepared for this game. I have two great guys in front of me that have been pushing me all week. LeSean [McCoy] and Darren Sproles are two great leaders who really got me ready for this week and they make sure you have fun. You need to keep having fun because that is what makes the game seem easier. "
(On his come back and the touchdown)
"It was a blessing. I love it and I thank God for it every day. It was something that wasn't supposed to be possible for me, that I would get back out there. I am just happy to be able to do it again. I am just thankful and I keep being thankful. I am thankful for all the people that helped me get to where I am and I know how blessed I am. The score, I don't actually know how I got in there. There were three guys in front of me and I was just trying to make sure that I set up the one guy that was in front of me. I ended up sneaking up under the guy and I was able to get to the other sideline. It was just crazy how it happened."
Jordan Matthews, Wide Receiver
(On the importance of bouncing back after last week)
"I just tried to go out there and make plays. I just tried to slow the game down in my head, and make it feel more like practice. I felt like I was able to go ahead and do some good things. There's still a lot of room for improvement."
(On getting rid of the jitters after the first game)
"I don't like to use that word jitters. For me to say that jitters were the reason that I didn't play too well last game, I feel is an excuse. I don't want to make excuses."
(On making plays after the catch)
"It is definitely a huge part of my game, now the next step is continuing to make plays."
Jason Peters, Left Tackle
(On the preseason and the game)
"A lot gets accomplished. We try to get out all the cobwebs and get the mistakes out before the regular season starts. We got a lot of good work in against the Patriots this week and had a good game, but we had a bunch of turnovers. You can have turnovers in the regular season but not as much."
(On the penalties)
"They are emphasizing a bunch of stuff this year and we have to play off of that. The calls aren't going to stop. We have to adjust our play."
DeMeco Ryans, Linebacker
(On where he thinks the team is after two preseason games)
"We are still making some mistakes and stuff. We still have some things to get better at, but that's what preseason is for. We have two outings to get those things better. I think we are headed in the right direction; we're just playing a little sloppy on both sides of the ball. We understand the emphasis of the rules and we have to change the way we play. We can't have that going into the season. When you have that many penalties, you are not going to win many ball games. As a team, offensively and defensively, we have to play smarter."
(On problems with stopping third down conversions)
"That's something we have to have. If you expect to be a good defense, you expect to win ball games, you have to get off the field on third downs. We have to win those and that's something we have to address still."
Mark Sanchez, Quarterback
(On his interception and the offense)
"When you have a bad play like that, you just have to shake it off and come right back and get the next completion. You can only worry about completing the next ball. We have been rolling and it is fun. It is fun to be a part of and I enjoy this system."
(On his past injuries and success in this offense)
"I played through some injuries in the past, but that is a part of the game. In this game you are never 100 percent. I think this last injury was the straw that broke the camel's back. I think my second year I hurt my shoulder…I am 100 percent now and I feel great. I am probably as good as I have ever been. I feel good about this offense and these guys are making plays on the edge. The offensive line is giving me a ton of time and all those things, there is a ton of factors. It is not just one thing. We were rolling and I think were rolling the whole game except for the one that got away from me. That kind of stuff happens and you try and eliminate that."
Darren Sproles, Running Back
(On the penalties)
"We have to do better because they are going to call it. It is serious and we are going to have to work at it."
Alejandro Villanueva, Defensive End
(On getting his first sack)
"I've been dreaming about doing a really cool celebration, but I just blanked out. My family was here in the stands and the first thing I thought about was them and all the support they've given me the last few months."
(On what it felt like to get the sack after all the hard work)
"When you get something like this after such a long road, you think about your teammates and coaches who have helped you get here."
Cary Williams, Cornerback
(On his interception)
"I was just trying to play [Tom] Brady. I saw he was coming up from a three step drop and trying to get it to the tight end. The tight end wasn't looking and I played it. It took all 11 guys to get to the end zone. Those guys, my teammates, they helped me out with extra blocks down the field."
(On his talk with Bill Belichick after the game)
"It was just mutual respect between two guys. Coach Belichick respected me and I respected him. I respect the organization and I told him I was sorry for the words that I said. That was just pure emotion and sometimes you say things that you don't really think about. That was a situation where, playing these guys in the playoffs, you kind of develop a hate for them and you try to use anything to get your mind going and get going. In that situation, I could have chosen my words a little bit wiser. But it is mutual respect and we were able to come together and tell him I was sorry. I have nothing but the utmost respect for the organization and him as a GM and head coach. He just said there were no hard feelings and he appreciated the comments I made this week. It was just two guys respecting each other and understanding there is some history there. It is not necessarily bad blood but the spirit of competition. I said some things that I wish I could take back."