By Joe Santoliquito
Philadelphia, PA (CBS) — Chip Kelly spoke about the continuing maturation of Nick Foles, the coming bye week, the red-zone defense, his coaching staff and the development of the young defensive line at his day-after press conference after the Eagles won their third-straight game, 24-16, beating the Washington Redskins on Sunday.
Fletcher Cox is beginning to flourish. He was disruptive force all over the field on Sunday. His pressure of Robert Griffin III forced the Brandon Boykin interception that sealed the Eagles’ victory on Sunday.
“What you’re seeing out of Fletcher is we’re just watching him grow,” Kelly said. “You forget that he’s still a really, really young player. Everybody on our d-line is a young player. I think he’s getting acclimated. For him, he’s getting a change in systems, a change in coaches, and really starting to grasp and what we’re asking him to do. But I think his performance and what he did on Sunday was outstanding. He’s starting to feel more comfortable in what we’re asking him to do, and our coaches are putting hin in better positions.”
Kelly likes the way the red-zone defense is being played. Kelly likes it simple. He bristled slightly when a reporter broached the term “bend-but-don’t-break” defense.
“I don’t care, you can call whatever you want,” Kelly said. “This game has been about, do you score on offense and do you not let them score on defense. It’s always been that way. We don’t play fantasy football, we play real football. That’s what this game has always been about. The statistical part is you’re chewing on things that you don’t need to be chewing on. You need to stop people from getting the ball in the end zone, and we’re doing a better job at that. We can still do a better job of it, and I think we all know that.”
The bye week at this time in the season is fortitudinous. But the Eagles, to a man, say that they’re very remarkably fresh for this time of the season. Kelly brought in a sports-science system that seems to be working well.
“No, I’m not surprised, and it’s part of the plan and it’s a well-thought-out, researched plan; it’s not, ‘Hey, let’s try this.’ But it’s a two-way street in terms of they have to buy into it, too, and they’ve done an unbelievable job of buying into it,” Kelly said. “We’re not with them 24/7, nor should we be with them 24/7, but we have a bunch of guys that want to be great at what they do. They understand that not only what they do here during the day, but what they not here during the day has a great affect on you in terms of being able to respond physically on Sundays.”
Kelly said what’s made this coaching staff work well together is that there are no egos. It’s a staff that complements each other well. It’s a staff where everyone has made the coach next to them better.
“One of the things that was very important to me [in putting the coaching staff together] was making sure we had the right fit,” Kelly said. “From the right fit, it was from a personality standpoint and I thought it was real important to get a diverse group. It’s important to hear different voices, and now that we have all of these ideas on the table, we have to come to a conclusion of what’s the best one and how we’re going to do it. It’s been a real big plus for us. The biggest thing for us was to get a bunch of guys who really don’t have egos that were intelligent and great communicators. And as a group, collectively, let’s figure out a way to get this thing done. So far, it’s been great.”
Joseph Santoliquito is a contributing sports blogger for CBS Philly.