By Joseph Santoliquito

Philadelphia, PA (CBS)—Chip Kelly spoke about preparing during the short week for the New Orleans Saints, how the Eagles improved from the midway point to become NFC East champions, Donnie Jones’ punting prowess and the character of the team during his day-after press conference at the NovaCare Complex on Monday.

Halfway into the season, Eagles were sitting at 3-5 and appeared dead in the water.

Kelly saw this team pull together even tighter.

“I think they stuck together as a group and the only thing we talk about is we’re mentally and physically tough, we don’t make excuses and we work hard,” explained Kelly about the turnaround. “They stuck to that. When you’re 3-5, and you have a plan, there’s times when you’re 3-5 and you start to question the plan. These guys didn’t question the plan. I think we made mistakes, we all made mistakes, but we owned our mistakes.

“When you own up to your mistakes, then you can correct them. If make excuses, you’re never going to fix it. These guys owned up to it and did that. Each week I saw us improve because of that, and because of their mentality. They stuck together as a group, and knew that the only group that was going to get us out of that situation was them. When you start pointing fingers and doing all of those other things, it makes it extremely difficult. But they never did that.”

Jones should have been considered for the Pro Bowl. Jones’ booming 56-yard punt from the Eagles’ 19-yard line in the final two minutes pushed the Cowboys back to their 32.

“I think [Jones] is really underrated,” Kelly said. “The thing about this team is that it is a team. That victory yesterday emphasized that. Offense, defense, special teams, and that punt was huge for us. I think Donnie all year long has been outstanding and I don’t understand why he doesn’t get enough credit. It was the second-most impressive punt I saw during the day, because I actually saw him hit the video board during pre-game warm-ups.”

Joseph Santoliquito is a contributing sports blogger for CBS Philly.

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