Kelly: No starters Thursday, more notes

August, 26, 2013
8/26/13
12:45
PM ET
In a pre-practice meeting with reporters Monday, Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly said he will not play his starters against the New York Jets Thursday night. That was the headline, but Kelly offered a few tidbits about the state of his team after the first big roster cut.

• Kelly opted for caution over one last chance to work his starters in the preseason.

"We're going to keep the ones out," Kelly said. "We'll try to get the guys who are trying to (avoid) that cutdown from 75 to 53 the predominant amount of work. We've got some big decisions to make on Friday. ... You also have to think, our first three (regular-season) games happen in 11 days. We've got to play a Monday and then a Sunday and then a Thursday. There's got to be that balancing act. It's a very, very long season."

The final cut to 53 must be made by 6 p.m. ET on Saturday.

There was one exception, Kelly said. Because of injuries in the secondary, one or two of the projected starters may have to play Thursday. Cornerbacks Curtis Marsh and Brandon Hughes are both out with broken bones in their hands. Nate Allen, who has started all three preseason games, is likely to play.

"We can't go through with just four guys," Kelly said. "Pat (Chung) may not go, but the other guys will go."

At quarterback, Nick Foles will start. Rookie Matt Barkley will get most of the rest of the work.

• Kelly got a little testy when asked what the Jaguars did to confound his offense early in Saturday night's 31-24 win.

"I don't understand the question about taking away the things we did," Kelly said. "We had 450 yards of offense. There wasn't anything particular scheme-wise that we haven't seen before."

The Eagles had 452 yards of total offense, but 154 of those yards came with Foles directing the offense against the Jaguars' reserves in the fourth quarter. In the first half, against Jacksonville's first team, Michael Vick completed 13 of 21 passes for 164 yards. He threw one touchdown and one interception and was sacked twice. His passer rating was 82.2. More than anything, the offense just looked inconsistent, starting with the line.

"There wasn't any, the protection was set the wrong way and free runners were coming in," Kelly said. "We did get beat in some one-on-one matchups. That's just a matter of some of those guys were out for a little bit of time. Just little technical things. The deal with being really good is making sure you take care of those things."

• Kelly was struck more by Bryce Brown's positives -- the speed to the corner, the shiftiness -- than with the obvious negatives. The running back gained 92 yards on 11 carries, an 8.4-yard average. But he fumbled the ball through the end zone, turning a likely touchdown into a turnover. Considering Brown's fumbling problem as a rookie last year, that was a little worrisome. Not to Kelly.

"I know it's been an issue in the past," Kelly said. "On that particular play, their defensive back put their hat on the football. He did have the football tight against his body. It was swinging a little bit early in the run. We talk about ball security all the time, we do ball security drills."

• Kelly said he decided to release veteran safety Kenny Phillips, for two reasons: "Just our depth at the safety spot," Kelly said. "We do have a lot of guys there. Probably maybe giving (Phillips) an opportunity to see if he can catch on somewhere."

Because of a quadriceps injury, Phillips didn't get to play Saturday night. He also didn't do much work on special teams, which Kelly said was an important area for his safeties.

Phil Sheridan

ESPN Philadelphia Eagles reporter

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