Q: Coach says you have a chance to be premier defensive tackle in the league. What are your goals and what do you think you can accomplish?
Tommy Kelly: Personally I just try to keep getting better. Whatever I did the year before, I just try to at least get past those numbers. I figure if I just keep playing hard, keep getting to the ball, all that will happen.
Tommy Kelly: Most definitely. To me, the biggest change is probably DA [Dennis Allen] and Coach [defensive coordinator Jason] Tarver. It is just attention to details, the little things. DA [Dennis Allen] harps on that all day long. It helps because you see the mental errors on the field, on the practice field and even in the game, we’re down. The technique, we can fix that. If we cut down on the mental errors and the penalties, people are going to have a hard time dealing with us.
Q: How is that combination working with Richard? It seems like you have really bonded and really have got a good relationship. Is it a nonverbal thing now? What do you learn from him? It seems like you guys are left hand, right hand.
Tommy Kelly: It is always easy when you have a guy that is just as big as you that can take up just as much attention as you so that everything isn’t focused on me. If everything is focused on one guy, they can double team him, they can run the ball away. With Rich on the other side they are pretty much going to run to me more. I appreciate the action, to tell you the truth.
Q: How much do you relive your interception?
Tommy Kelly: I didn’t think I was going to get a pick. I was just happy to get it, and get on the ground as quick as possible.
Q: You don’t come back and say maybe I can get two this year?
Tommy Kelly: Yeah. You always want more. I just don’t like getting hit so if I get a pick, it is all good, but I am getting on the ground as quick as possible.
Q: How do you look at preseason? Coaches are looking for improvements here and there, as a player do you approach each game differently as you build up and go along? Or are you just wanting to get this thing over with and get on to the regular season?
Tommy Kelly: Me? I am the type of guy where I need the reps. I can’t just come out there and be A , so I need to play in game, I need to run stop. I need the games and build up your wind. You can be in conditioning shape, but that isn’t anything like football shape. Getting up off the ground that is going to tire you out, so you need it. Especially after going through what we went through last year with the lockout, my body feels a whole lot better than it did last year because of the contact we had with the OTAs and mini camps. We are more used to it. When we got to training camp last year it was like ugh. It felt like your body was falling apart two weeks in.
Q: Did you ever feel after losing all that time that you were caught up?
Tommy Kelly: No, it was always hurry up more because you don’t want as much contact in the off-season, but you need a little. Going a whole offs-eason without any contact, my shoulders, everything. I had more problems with my body last season than I ever did in my career, but I made it through the year and that is all that matters.
Q: You talked about how Coach Allen and Coach Tarver go over a lot of attention to detail and going over mistakes; is that just on the field? Or does it go into meetings?
Tommy Kelly: It is everywhere. You could be walking and he is going to get mad at you for something. He just harps on it so, like I said, we haven’t had many busts, our tackling was good the first game. This is the first time in nine years that we have looked that good tackling in the first game of the preseason. So whatever they are doing it must be working.
Q: How do you feel about the scheme itself?
Tommy Kelly: I think its player friendly. We aren’t always locked in at one spot. Coach moves us around and tries to give us a whole other look just to try and confuse people a lot. So it can’t do anything but work to our advantage.
Q: You look at this situation with you and Richard - Richard was the number one pick and you were an undrafted guy. Here you are right together again. It is incredible how football evens things out isn’t it?
Tommy Kelly: I don’t think it is even. He has got three Super Bowl rings. But yeah, I love playing with Rich. It really shows you how small our world is. To me, in this league, the only thing that matter about the draft is that it is a note in your bio. Okay he went first round. But it is about what did he do when he got in the league. There are a lot of guys that went first round and only lasted two or three years. Once you get your foot in the door it doesn’t matter how you came in the league. Just get your foot in the door.