Chip Kelly: ‘We’ve Got to Finish Out the Season the Right Way’
The Eagles game Sunday in New York has nothing on the line for the 2015 season. It does however have some impact on the 2016 season, with the loser of the game ending the season in third place in the NFC East with a 6-10 record, which would send them to play in London next season in week seven to play the Rams.
Just like last years season finale, which also was a meaningless game, Chip Kelly indicated today that he will do everything possible to try and pick up a victory instead of evaluating some young guys who haven't played as much this season.
"I'm looking at it as we've got to finish out the season the right way," Kelly told reporters today at the NovaCare Center. "We still have a game to play against the Giants and that's what we're going to prepare to do."
Kelly was asked why he wouldn't take the opportunity on Sunday to take a long look at some of the younger players who haven't played much this season, like former first-round pick Marcus Smith.
"Well, we've had an opportunity to evaluate those guys all the way through and if they were good enough to play, they would be on the field right now," Kelly explained. "So it's not like we are holding guys back from opportunities. I think everybody has an opportunity on a daily basis to show us what they can do and whether or not they merit playing time."
"But it's also not fair to a guy that's playing and saying, ‘Hey, you're not going to play just because I want to take a look at this other guy.’ They have a chance to show us every single day. We were in the same situation last year. If we have a game and it's a competitive game and it counts, we are going to go play, and if you couldn't go play, maybe that says something to you."
Smith has been a major disappointment since being selected 26th overall in last year's draft, totalling just five tackles this season, he had zero tackles a year ago as a rookie. Kelly was asked how much growth he has seen from Smith this season and if he wishes he got more production from the 2014 first round pick.
"Ideally, you want everybody to be able to contribute but you're also not going to just say, ‘Hey, we are going to put this guy in the game and then take out a guy that's really productive, too.’ You get in that, how come this guy doesn't have as many snaps, when you have players like that. It's tough to get Brandon and Connor off the field because of what they do for us."
Kelly said the statuses of defensive tackle Bennie Logan and cornerback Byron Maxwell are also uncertain. Maxwell missed the last game with a shoulder injury while Logan didn't play Sunday because of a calf strain. Neither player practiced at all last week.
"Those are medical decisions and I haven't met with the training staff in terms of where we are from that point," Kelly stated about the duo.
Kelly also addressed the reports that Jason Peters removed himself from Saturday's game.
"We were just told he couldn't go any longer," explained Kelly. "I know he got banged up early in the game, I think it was an elbow. He has been playing hurt all season long. I don't think people realize what he has gone through to get out on the field. But again, when I'm told on the sideline, I never say, ‘Hey, explain to me what went on.’ I know he went out and missed a couple of place early in the first quarter and I was just told he was done and that's why [G/T] Dennis [Kelly] was in."
I wouldn't bank on seeing Peters, Logan or Maxwell play in the game on Sunday.