Chip Kelly: “You don’t get any points for being close.”


This is the transcript of Chip Kelly’s Week 15 Wednesday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.


The injuries to C Daniel Kilgore and TE Vance McDonald, are those season-ending just because there’s only three games left in the season? Where will they be when the offseason program begins, that sort of thing?

“I don’t know that now. I know there’s a break with Vance and I think surgery is scheduled with Kilgore.”


Was it a collarbone?




“I think it’s his scapula. I’m not 100-percent sure on that.”


You said Kilgore, what? Was it a knee?

“No, it’s a hamstring.”


Surgery on a hamstring?



Is it torn?

“I would imagine. I don’t think it’s exploratory.”


I’m not a doctor.

“Thank goodness [laughter].”


You’ve got a lot of, well not a lot, but several veteran leaders but many of them are self admittedly not rah-rah, in your face type guys, like T Joe Staley and S Antoine Bethea. Is that, I don’t know, a missing element of the locker room? Is there any sort of I guess, leadership void in the sense of a guy that’ll stand up and rally the troops or is that overrated?

“I think that’s overrated. I think part of being a good leader is being able to articulate your vision. You don’t have to be a yeller or a screamer to do that. There’s been different types of leaders as you go through and look at the history. Some guys are very vocal. Other guys don’t have to raise their voice at all and everybody listens to them. But, I think part of it is you have to lead by example and I think Joe and Antoine definitely do that in terms of their work ethic, how they practice, how they approach it, how professional they are in terms of what they do. I don’t believe you have to be a real vocal, vocal guy. I think first off you have to lead by example and those two guys do.”


People look at it and obviously if guys are yelling and screaming at 1-12 then there’d be criticism that the 49ers are so dysfunctional. But, I think people are looking for maybe fire or people to say this is not acceptable. Do you see some of that behind the scenes?

“No, because I see our guys compete. I don’t think our guys aren’t competing. Arguably the best coach the game right now is [New England Patriots head coach] Bill Belichick. He’s not a fiery, fire and brimstone guy, but he has a very clear vision, understands exactly what he wants, leads by example and does a great job with it.”


What have you seen from Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan working with Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan in a second season?

“Matt’s one of those quarterbacks that transcends any system. It doesn’t matter, I really don’t think, what system he’s running. Although, the one he’s running right now he’s very, very successful in. I think he fits very well into what Kyle is doing. But, he’s had a couple different coordinators and been successful with whoever was coaching him. That’s just the type of player he is. I think he’s an elite quarterback. He’s thrown for over 4,000 yards, 30 touchdowns this season. He’s done a great job, not only with the drop-back game, but their play-action game. A lot of it comes off of that because they run the ball so well. The nakeds, the play passes off of that. I think he’s done a really, really good job with that. He’s actually run the ball a little bit this year, which is something new but it’s something you have to be aware of especially down near the goal line. But, I think he’s fit really well into what Kyle’s doing. It’s the stretch-run game. It’s the quarterback boots off of it. He’s doing a heck-of-a job with it.”


This team beat the Falcons last year, 17-16. Do you go back to that game and look at what you guys did well against that offense?

“We’ve looked at everything. And there’s so many games this year. They’re a little bit different just because of the receivers. They didn’t have [Atlanta Falcons WR] Mohamed Sanu. They didn’t have [Atlanta Falcons WR] Taylor Gabriel last year. So, they’re not as similar as they were a year ago. I think they fit some new pieces in especially in Sanu and Gabriel that are really big weapons for them and then [Atlanta Falcons TE] Austin Hooper, the tight end, is new.”


Do you expect to play those two receivers, Sanu and Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones?

“I don’t know. We’ll see as the week goes by. You guys probably get that information before we do. We are going to prepare to play against them because it doesn’t help you to prepare not to play against them. That’s what you see on tape except for the last game or so. But, that’s what you’re going to see. And obviously that matchup with Julio, we faced him last year and had a very difficult time with him. I think he’s a premier guy in the league right now when he’s healthy just because he’s so big, so physical and can run and get in and out of cuts like a smaller receiver but his size is really a tough mismatch. He had the one game earlier in the year, I don’t know if it was 300-yards or something. I mean, he’s done it against everybody, so it’s certainly a tough matchup if he is going to go.”


How does Sanu, what is his addition to that equation? How does he help Jones out?

“Well, I think he’s another size guy. I mean, when you see Mohamed and you’re matched up there you’re like, ‘Wow.’ He’s another big, tall, physical guy, 6-3-plus, can catch the ball in traffic very well. He’s a really precise route runner. They deploy him in a lot of different ways so you can tell he’s really sharp in terms of how they’re using him and what they’re using him as and then you add the speed element that they added with the Gabriel kid. He’s a smaller, quicker receiver, 5-8, 165, but very explosive, very fast. You get those two real big guys and him, they can create some mismatches for you.”


How would you assess the season DB Jimmie Ward’s had, first time playing cornerback?

“I think Jimmie’s played really well for us. He’s been very versatile for us in terms of where he’s played. Not only has he played inside corner, but he’s played outside corner. He’s matched up with some really good receivers. He’s a highly competitive guy. I think he brings some physicality from the corner spot. We’ve brought him on blitzes. We brought him on a blitz the other day and you saw him show up in the blitz game when he’s playing the nickel spot. So, I think his transition from safety to outside corner and nickel, I think he’s done a really good job with it this year.”


Film study seems to be a big part of his repertoire. Have you noticed that from him, just him staying later, just doing more?

“Yeah, I mean that’s just the type of guy Jimmie is. I think everything Jimmie does is very important to him and I think he exemplifies what you’re looking for in a player in terms of the dedication and the time that you have to put in to be special in this league and I think he really wants to be special and knows that to get to those goals that he wants to achieve he has to put in the time and that’s certainly something that he does all the time here.”


Yesterday in the locker room, QB Colin Kaepernick and LB Aaron Lynch both said that this team is close, very close to being one of the better ones in the NFC and you guys just have to finish better. Would you agree with them?

“Yeah, I agree we have to finish better. I think that’s the issue that we’ve had. When you look at the Miami game, we have the ball down at the goal line and we’ve got to be able to punch it in late in the game. Obviously, the last game we played against the Jets, that went into overtime. I think we had close games going into the fourth quarter in a lot of games and I think that’s one of the things we have to as a group learn to do is that we have to learn how to finish.”


Would you agree that you’re close or very close?

“I don’t use those terms. I just look at our record. You don’t get any points for being close.”


What did you see from OL Alex Balducci in the six months that you’ve been using him as an offensive lineman?

“I think he’s really working very hard at the transition. He obviously has the athletic ability, was a defensive lineman in college. He’s a guy that you’ve seen him grow incrementally from the time we got him in April right after the draft through training camp, was a guy that we said we really want to try and continue to develop. It was important for us to keep him around. So, we had the opportunity to do that. I think you see him get better and better. He’s playing multiple positions. He’s playing center, he’s playing guard, which all your backups have to do just because of the versatility that we ask them to do because you don’t have just one guy. So, if we’re going with the twos and [C] Marcus [Martin] is playing center in that group with the twos when Kilgore was up, then Balducci would get reps at guard and then we just kind of flipped and flopped them around. So, we’ve seen improvement from him. I think getting him up to the active was kind of a byproduct of just losing Danny. We’re down a couple guys. We’re going to have to dress seven on game day. We’ve got eight or nine right now, but not sure what [T] Joe’s [Staley] situation is and not sure exactly what will happen with the new guy we just brought in and Alex. But, I think he’s got a pretty good knowledge of what we’re trying to accomplish and I think the one thing about him is you continue to see him improve on a daily basis.”


Is it written in stone right now that he would be the backup on Sunday or is that–?

“Stone? No. Sand.”


Never in stone.

“Never in stone.”


Last week, we saw LB NaVorro Bowman walking without a boot or noticeable limp. I don’t have a vast medical background, but it seems encouraging as far as his rehab. Have you gotten any sort of report–?

“I think you’re 100-percent right.”


About what?

“That you don’t have a vast medical background and that it is encouraging that he is moving around the way he is. From reports, he’s doing a really good job in rehab. It’s good to see him around here. He can now travel with us. He’s been on the sideline with us. I think he’s helped just kind of getting another set of eyes here. But, it’s good to see him up moving around. Those guys say he’s attacking rehab and are excited about the direction that he’s headed in. That’s about all I have for you on that.”


So, he’ll be with you in Atlanta?

“I think so. I don’t know. We haven’t talked about if he’s going to travel with us, but he was with us on the sideline in the Jets game.”

This article has 89 Comments

  1. Speaking words of wisdom, Chip Kelly. Maybe the football gods show us mercy and Balducci reminds us of Newberry. Crossing the Center position off the multitude of needs chart….

            1. That was the mindset of getting rid of guys like Haley and Aldon and TO (although he was out anyways) and look how it worked out for SF. You take the headache for a talent of their level, and Floyd is a legit talent. And his headache is a lot less than a lot of other guys out there.

              Niners should do what they can to get him like the Raiders did Aldon. Aldon had less legs to stand on so Raiders had a lot more power, but SF should try to sign him to a multi year deal that’s team friendly but also is high in guaranteed money early to make it more tempting than going to Seattle or Detroit or wherever.

              1. Lawrence Phillips, another headache, helped end Steve Young’s career, by whiffing on a block that allowed a blind side hit on SY and almost killed him, because he was a concussed player who got an additional concussion.

              2. Way to summon your hyperbolic super powers.

                Phillips was complete and total scum, having been arrested multiple times for things like multiple assaults and domestic violence, driving into people, felony assault with a deadly weapon, and eventually MURDER of his cellmate.

                Floyd has an issue with drinking and driving…and DUI rules in some states are stricter than others. Not trying to defend putting others lives in jeopardy for driving after drinking, but we all have done it and if you say you haven’t you are a liar.

              3. Floyd was found in his car passed out with the engine running. By some miracle, he did not kill anyone.

                They are both headaches and should be avoided like they are radioactive.

                No, I may have had a drink, but have never driven drunk, and my driving record proves it.

          1. I had Floyd on my radar for a FA signing, but not anymore.

            Now, I guess Cordarrelle Patterson may be a good target. Under achiever who might blossom in a new environment.

            The big ticket WRs will avoid the Niners like the plague unless Baalke is gone.

    1. Depends on where his head and heart are. That’s the 2nd DUI. I thought he was worth taking a flyer on prior, given we have no one as physically gifted at the position. Not so sure now….

    2. eMJay

      Get him a one year conditional contract and a 2-year dosage of antibuse
      But would we want him…? He’s good and not hurt ?

    3. I doubt his agent will advise him to sign a deal with anybody right now other than for the rest of this season. He will need to rehab his image for the next couple of months to try and score a long term contract.

      1. He’s better than anyone SF has, but I wouldn’t sign him. He won’t get a long term deal. He’ll sign a one year plus option deal with built in protections for whatever team does sign him in the off-season.

    4. Agree on signing Floyd. A disappointment as a WR on a team with a passing QB like Palmer could be a star on our sorry ass team.

  2. Razor

    With what I’ve seen from Martin, anything we get from Balducci would be a plus. Although he hasn’t played Oline since High school, he HAS played it….’would love to see him get a shot these last few games …pretty fiery guy…G/C ain’t for sissys….

  3. ‘I think you are 100% right…..That you do not have a vast medical Background.’

    No, Chip that is why they ask you. However, you seem to have less knowledge than they do, and schedule your medical meeting after the PC so you do not have to answer questions.

    I would like to see the organization to be open and truthful. They should show some professionalism by being informed.

    What I get from these PCs is that the coaches, who should be intimately knowledgeable about every single player’s health, are purposefully kept in the dark so they do not have to answer questions.

    I would kindly suggest that Ferg divulges all the medical reports at 8 AM, so the coaches have all the salient information, and do not have to sound smarmy about being clueless.

    1. Seb

      Why don’t you quit trying to be confrontational ? ‘Chip’ doesn’t HAVE to answer any of these questions….remember JH ? How many coherent answers do you recall from his PC’s ? I would have taken his answer as tongue-in-cheek…He’s conversing with journalists, not Physicians. You don’t want silly answers…don’t ask silly questions.

      1. With a 1-12 record, this act is wearing thin. Funny, by decree, the other teams have access to all the medical documents, so they are just hiding the truth to the fans.

        1. They are also have hiding the truth from other teams. It’s standard practice in the NFL to disclose as little as possible. Players will be listed as well questionable when everyone in the org. Knows they will be out. This forces other teams to prepare for them.
          Also specifics on injuries are not given because those injuries will be targeted by some players. Thus Harbaugh’s “they’re working through something” comments.

  4. ‘I just look at our record’.

    Yup, it is 1-12. Not too good. Maybe the coaches are playing players out of position, and not playing the right players.

    I really wanted to see some adjustments, but going away from Hyde in the second half is one that I certainly did not want to see.

    Glad they lined up Hyde deep and let him run downhill with a head of steam to choose the weakness to attack, but running into the teeth of the defense is problematic.

    Harris got 2 touches the game before and they lost. Harris got zero touches last game and they lost. Bellore makes a stop, then gives up a big play. Bethea looks old and toothless, instead of quick and feared. Hodges was a pleasant surprise. 6 sacks showed that the pass rush does have potential.Glad they brought up Balducci. Wonder if they will move Garnett to his natural position at LG. Still want to see Cromartie.

    Seahawks grabbed Kelvin Taylor. Niners should return the favor by poaching Kenny Lawler from their PS. Bet he could divulge good intel.

  5. Caught 30 for 30 on Saturday night. Reminded me of what a great game “Catholics vs Convicts” was. So much talent in that game on both sides of the field.

    1. Those games set precedent as to why Notre Dame should have won the 93 National Championship and not Florida State, whom they beat straight up. 1989, ND was ranked #1 and undefeated, beaten by a 1 loss Miami team. Both teams end the year with 1 loss, ND at 12-1 and Miami and 11-1 but Miami had the win head to head. Miami eventually won the title after beating Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.

      93 ND was ranked 2nd and undefeated, FSU was ranked 1st and undefeated. ND beat FSU soundly, unfortunately lost the next week, both finished the year with 1 loss yet FSU was awarded the title. ND went to beat A&M in the Cotton Bowl (remember when that game mattered?) and FSU beat Nebraska.

      I will never acknowledge FSU as champs that year.

      1. I’d forgotten how much fun that game was. The old ND Stadium was so great. Only problem with that game is the wrong team won. ?

          1. I was 3 lol, but I’ve seen it since.

            They ruined ND stadium with the sport turf stuff. The fans were right on top of the field too.

            I’m sure you’ve been there a time or two. Definitely have it on my bucket list.

  6. Kelly claiming injury ignorance, big deal we find out mid-week. Kaep with moronic “We need to execute better, make plays in the second half” as an explanation for 2nd half” …. that was thin 6 games ago. Seriously.

  7. Can media just once ask Kaep…”you say need to execute better. Is it possible you simply are not capable of executing better in a sustained in-half, in-game, in-season way?”. Force him to say we can do this, We CAN do better, not we NEED to do better. Please, any media willing to try?

    1. You’re expecting Kaput to do something only leaders can do… Admit they’ve been playing like crap and they’ll put in the time and effort to make it right. Think Kaput would rather take a knee and I won’t be surprised to see him out of the league next year devoting his time to his social anti-oppression efforts… All from that $3.2m luxury NY condo he bought with those oppressed benjamins.

    1. Floyd would be a welcome addition for our future (unknown) long-term starter at QB although Jed probably isn’t down with the idea of signing him since it doesn’t fit his “lose with class” style….

      Speaking of Jed, John York just said his son being removed from football decisions was never even discussed so we’re probably stuck with the boy idiot. Nice to know that rumor was important enough for the Yorks to break their silence yet the worst team in franchise history wasn’t… Protect the family at all costs!!!!

      1. York will continue to reap what he sowed, and by extension, so will we. It’s like being convicted of a crime you didn’t commit….

    1. Like I said the other day, they won’t even fire an assistant to prove a point!! Why would you when you’re Jed York and think you know better than everyone else including your uncle, Eddie D… Worst team in the league yet perfectly acceptable to the Yorks because they’re making $$$$$$$$$ while thinking the team will magically get better next year all by itself.

  8. Per Maiocco today:

    “A source said York has yet to make up his mind on Baalke’s future.”

    I pray for the Faithful he comes to right decision… Like Mike Nolan, it appears Jed wants to take the easy road and ‘stay the course’ :/

  9. San Francisco 49ers
    December 14, 2016 2:46 PM

    ‘Keep attacking’: Falcons air assault in sharp contrast to 49ers’

    my bookmarks

    bookmark for later

    49ers with Matt Barrows

    49ers next opponent:

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    SANTA CLARA — The Atlanta Falcons ended the 2015 season with the NFL’s most prolific wide receiver, Julio Jones, then got busy augmenting their already potent passing attack.

    They signed wide receiver Mohamed Sanu to a five-year deal in free agency, drafted Stanford tight end Austin Hooper in the third round and then picked up speedy wideout Taylor Gabriel off off waivers.

    The result: quarterback Matt Ryan is on pace for the biggest passing season of his nine-year career and the Falcons have the No. 3 offense in the league.

    Read more here:

  10. Why I’ve Changed My Mind and Think the 49ers Will Fire Chip Kelly

    December 12, 2016 at 8:47 AM • 21 comments

    By Al Sacco

    Let me start off by saying that I fully supported the idea of the San Francisco 49ers giving HC Chip Kelly another season to prove his worth.

    While there are some teams the 49ers just can’t be expected to compete against, there are also some who are in dire straights just like the boys in red and gold. The thing is, San Francisco can’t beat those teams either. In the past two weeks, Kelly has seen his squad go up in flames against a Chicago Bears team that’s currently playing with mostly backups (and backups to backups) and the New York Jets who have basically quit. Each loss was it’s own special brand of brutal, as the Niners were destroyed by the undermanned Bears 26-6, and blew a 14-0 lead against the “couldn’t care less” Jets to lose 23-17 in overtime.

    Both of these losses took a familiar tone too, and it’s one that’s been present all year long.

  11. thepepperlanders
    1 day ago

    49er fans haven’t figured out that the York’s put profit over winning. Jedster is the incompetent figurehead while Mommy and Daddy give him the allowance to play with.


    1 day ago

    The Rams have fired Fisher, before the season ends and shortly after extending his contract. Certainly it’s up there on the weirdness scale to sack the guy you just gave a new contract, but it still pales in comparison to the niners dysfunction.

    Say lil Jed had fired Chip after that come-from-ahead loss to NYJ; no one outside the bay area would’ve been particularly surprised since the team is literally setting records for badness and rumors have been flying around for a while. But since the York Piggybank is still paying for the last bad coaching decision by the York-Baalke regime, followers (I hesitate to say “fans” at this point) of the whole sorry mess mostly figure Chip is staying until he wants to leave or until the Tomsulery tab is paid off.

    1. GOLDBLOODED_187 @GOLDBLOODED_187from Twitter
      12 Dec

      @BASportsGuy @hlandaverdez not a more punchable face (Jed), well maybe Trump’s but it’s close

    2. “49er fans haven’t figured out that the York’s put profit over winning.”

      Maybe those cutoff from the internet and outside world but I think most are smarter than that (not that the Yorks realize this). We’re all sheep to them…

    3. TomD..

      You are right, in that it does not speak well of us that we pay attention to this York product. Clearly, any fool can see that, for the Yorks, the product is not the thing-profits are-profits, first and foremost.
      It really, literally is a form of insanity……..we watch the same “show” with the same York/Baalke script, same decision makers–and we expect something different? We are all chumps that people like the Yorks have been getting rich off of for centuries.

  12. Draft musings – The Browns finish vs Bills, Chargers, Steelers. Its very unlikely they’ll win any games.

    Its early. I haven’t studied players yet. There seems to be a big drop in value from Myles Garret to the next player. Not much value difference from picks 2 to 3 (yet). I won’t be draft-order bummed if the 49ers win one of their final three games. May as well show something.

    1. Browns have two in 1st round. They’re already making noise about Garrett, which could be suspicious. They are rumored to be putting together an off-season pitch for Garrolo. They need to go OL to protect whoever is QB. They could drop back a few and grab the Bama OT.
      (Here we go!)

        1. The article on QBs I posted indicates a team would have to give up a first round pick for Garappolo.

          1. I believe that is what razor is suggesting. The Browns have two 1st round picks.

            I’ve been saying it would probably cost a first round pick for a while and you scoffed at the idea previously. What has changed?

            1. I still scoff at the idea Scooter. That is too high of a pick for someone who only has a couple of starts underneath his belt.

      1. Good observations. The Browns have been praising Garrett. They could be in love with his skills (why not) and/or doing all they can to jack up potential trade prices. They seem to be an analytics driven ball club.

        1. If the Browns take Garrett, I think the next elite pass rushing specialist is Tim Williams. That’s probably who I’d target if I could trade down a few spots. If no trade partner, it’s either Allen or Kizer for mine. I see where Mahomes suffered a Grade 2 AC sprain to his throwing shoulder, along with just having surgery on his left wrist. If he declares, (staying isn’t going to benefit him in that offense, similar to Goff/Faulk’s situation)he’d be a risky play to plan the teams future around….

          1. Urgh, I just can’t get excited about Williams. I think he is the guy that benefits most from having excellent players around him. He’s fast and quick off the ball, so no doubt he will cause OTs some trouble in the pros, but I don’t think he’ll end up a great pro player. Kind of like Bruce Irvin.

            I also disagree on Mahomes. I think he can benefit from another year in college. He is still developing as a pocket passer. Like Prescott, he would benefit from spending a year focusing on improving his pocket movement and processing. People didn’t give Prescott enough credit for the progress he made in this regard his senior season.

            Falk is different – he’s already a good pocket passer and not likely to progress much more in that regard at Washington State. He’d be better off getting out of that offense and start learning how to play in the pros.

            1. Scooter, you can teach technique, how to use your hands, get off blocks and learn different moves. The kid has explosion and corner turn. You CAN’T teach get off and how to time snap. Two elite traits of the trade Williams has that is undeniable. He’s a disruptor, and disruption equals production. Don’t know about you, but that gets me plenty of excited. He’d play the same role as Smith did his rookie year, only with Uncle Buck….

              1. He’s very quick off the ball, no question. I wonder how well he’ll handle the extra 10 – 15 lbs teams will ask him to carry though.

                For mine he is a one trick pony like Bruce Irvin. And I expect he will have a career similar to Irvin’s. Good, but not great. Better off as the ‘other guy’. Just like he was at Alabama.

              2. For mine he is a one trick pony like Bruce Irvin.

                Not mine. I think he’ll have a career similar to Dwight Freeney.

                I wonder how well he’ll handle the extra 10 – 15 lbs teams will ask him to carry though.

                He squatted 555 pounds during the spring, the best on the team among non-linemen and better than most of Alabama’s linemen. His 325-pound power clean was fourth-best on the team among non-linemen. He can bench press at least 405 pounds. He also had a 9’5″ broad jump, which is a solid number used to determine lower body strength and explosiveness. Didn’t you like Floyd last year? Williams is better….

              3. Always beware of the part time players that put up big stats on a talent loaded team.

                Scooter, good advice. However, I would say you also need to beware of discounting elite pass rushing traits just because he happens to be on a talented team. As I said, he would play a role similar to Smith in his rookie year, which was essentially part time on a talent loaded defense….

        1. The Rams defense is better than the 49ers, 34 seems a little on the light side. I think 53 may be a little high. I’ll say 48 – 16 Falcons….

  13. Niners still on track for a 1-15 record

    Sun, Dec 18



    2:05 PM

    Sat, Dec 24



    2:25 PM

    Sun, Jan 1



    2:25 PM

  14. Interesting. Draft boards have 3 WRs in the top 14, 4 CBs Rated in the top 21, and 3 RBs in the top 24 and 3 safeties in the top 30

    Kizer is ranked from the 9th to the 41st.

  15. Ronnie Lott has been busy! Besides his investor group bidding on an Oakland stadium, he’s co-founding the Golden Heart Fund. Niner vets are finding ways to support former Niners from any era with later life issues. They had some kind of presser today with some current and former players. Keena Turner, Harris Barton, Brent Jones, Steve Bono were faces I recognized in a report by Joe Fonzi.
    In this season of our discontent, a little something positive is a relief.

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