Chip Kelly on gap integrity: “Our players have a great understanding and a great knowledge of where they are.”

SANTA CLARA —

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

 

Have you gotten a sense of RB Carlos Hyde, how he’s progressing with that shoulder?

“He did some things yesterday. Obviously, he’s in a noncontact jersey, so he hasn’t taken any hits or anything like that on his shoulder. I would just say it’s still up, I have no idea. He’ll go through today, which is a padded practice, but he’s still going to be in noncontact. It’s really how much movement, how much range of motion does he have and then the assessment of what the doctors and the trainers say after tomorrow, after Friday and Saturday’s training sessions.”

 

So, was he in a noncontact practice for him, does he still wear pads?

“He should be. I haven’t seen him come out yet though, so we’ll see. No I haven’t talked to [49ers vice president of football operations Jeff Ferguson] Ferg this morning about what the update on him is.”

 

You probably saw the Eagles waived Philadelphia Eagles WR Josh Huff.

“Yeah, [49ers vice president of communications] Bob [Lange] just told me as I walked out. We just got out of meetings.”

 

Is that somebody that would interest you given his background?

“I have no idea. I have no idea what happened. I didn’t follow any of the thing, I know he got arrested two days ago, but I haven’t followed any of it. I don’t have any information on that.”

 

Will you sit down with 49ers general manager Trent Baalke later today and kind of address that–?

“No, because Trent’s not here.”

 

What’s that?

“No, because Trent’s not here. Trent’s at a couple college games right now.”

 

They have phones now.

“What’s that?”

 

They have phones now.

“You asked me if I would sit down, so I answered your question.”

 

Will you talk with him?

“What?

 

Will you discuss it with him?

“I have no idea. I literally just walked out of a meeting and it was the first thing that Bob told me as I walked up here. It was the first thing. He told me it, I walked up here and you asked the first question.”

 

Regarding G Joshua Garnett, obviously he’s a first-round pick and generally you want to see how those guys can play. My question is, was G Andrew Tiller’s, Tiller seemed to be playing OK. Was his demotion performance related or was it more about Garnett?

“It was about Garnett’s play from a training standpoint and moving forward that we felt Josh was the best option at right guard. It wasn’t about, ‘Hey, let’s take a look at this guy.’ This isn’t little league where everybody plays. You have to earn your playing time and I think Josh earned his playing time.”

 

ME: Are you familiar with the term gap integrity?

“Familiar?”

 

ME: Yes.

“Do I hang out with it? I mean, I don’t understand the question.”

 

ME: Have you heard of the term gap integrity?

“Have I heard it? Yeah.”

 

ME: How would you assess the gap integrity on your defensive lines?

“I don’t really know, I’ve never used gap integrity. I’ve heard of it, so I’m familiar with it, but we talk about gap responsibility like who’s responsible for the ‘A’ gap, the ‘B’ gap, the ‘C’ gap and so on every defense somebody is responsible for that gap. If you’re talking about gap responsibly.”

 

ME: How would you assess that?

“Depends on what defense we’re in, you know what I mean? A lot of times we’re in two-gap defense. So, in two-gap defense you’re actually responsible for both gaps. So, if you’re the four technique, so to speak, and you’re playing head up the tackle, you’re responsible for the ‘B’ gap and the ‘C’ gap. And, depending on how the rest of the coverage is deployed, do we want the ball spilled into ‘B’ gap or spilled into the ‘C’ gap. Every defense is different. So, we have some defenses where our tackle is two-gapping, but we want it to be spilled into the ‘C’ gap, because that’s the way we’re fast flowing our linebackers. If we’re going to slow play our linebackers then we want the ball spilled into the ‘B’ gap. There’s different assessments in terms of what you’re looking at, so in terms of our gap responsibility I think our players have a great understanding and a great knowledge of where they are. It just depends on the individual defense that’s called and what their responsibility is.”

 

You’ve been asked this before, but DL Arik Armstead has said he might need shoulder surgery. Have you just talked to him about–?

“I have not, no.”

 

So, when you hear that you don’t say–?

“I hear that from you. When I talk to our trainers they either tell me is he good to go or not good to go. I know he’s dealing with a little bit of a shoulder problem, but it hasn’t been anything that’s limited him from his playing time. So, I haven’t talked about anything long-term with Arik in that instance.”

 

Nor are you planning to?

“Unless you want me to. Do you want me to?”

 

Well, if you want to take my counsel, sure. Satisfy your curiosity.

“I’m not curious because I have a great training staff and doctors and I rely on them to tell me what’s going to go on with our players. But, I’ll ask him.”

 

We’ll touch base with you Sunday after the game.

“What’s that?”

 

We’ll touch base back with you Sunday after the game?

“I may not get it in before Sunday, but let’s say by next, what day’s today, Thursday? By next Thursday. I’ll see if I can pencil that one in.”

 

We’re not going to hold you to it but fine.

“I’m good with that.”

 

When you guys were in Philadelphia, you had various penalty totals at the end of the year. One year, you were in the middle of the league. One year, at the bottom, etcetera. Now, you’ve got the fewest penalties of any team. How do you interpret that? Is that–?

“It’s been an emphasis for us here. I think I understand the hidden yardage that’s involved in the penalty game and it can affect you. When we talk about self-inflicted wounds, a lot of those, sometimes those penalties are that. There are some penalties that you get from being aggressive and you know, your hand gets caught up in the back of the collar. With the new nameplate rule and the new horse collar rule, that’s a horse collar tackle. That’s not what we’re talking about. But, those administrative penalties, the pre-snap penalties, the false starts, the defensive encroachment, there’s seven to 10 penalties that occur before the ball’s snapped, delay of game, that can be really looked at and coached and player executed so that those things don’t affect you. Doesn’t take away your aggressiveness as a football player, but it’s really what we talk about the no-brainer penalties that we really try to harp on because you don’t want those things to hurt you and you need every inch, every yard you can get in this league and I think it’s a real important factor and we talk about it. The biggest thing for us right now, I know where we are from a penalty standpoint because we look at it every week, we emphasize it every week with our players, is the ones on third down are killing us. The ones that extend the drive. So, in that category, I think we’re in the high teens if I’m not mistaken. Everything else we’re either in the top one or two in the league. But, the ones that are on third down that have extended drives where basically we’re getting them off the field or conversely, we’ve got a third-and-two but then we’ve got a false start. Now, we have a third-and-seven. There’s a big difference in this league between third-and-two and third-and-seven but that’s something that our staff has emphasized and that we continue to coach our guys on.”

 

What have you seen from CB Will Redmond in practice? Is he doing everything or is he still kind of being held back?

“I would say he’s probably limited in terms of the reps he’s taking, but he’s involved in everything. There’s not one activity that he can’t do. But, I don’t know if his conditioning–Carlos has pads on in case you guys, just updating you, trying to stay on the same page. But, there is still the blue jersey.”

 

Do you have anything on Armstead since–?

“No. I’ve got a window until Thursday. If we did like sign language while he was coming out, that would have been great, but I haven’t caught him yet.”

 

He could text you, maybe.

“I don’t have my phone.”

 

Back to Redmond.

“Will’s not limited in terms of what he’s doing drill-wise or work-wise. So, he’s involved in seven-on, he’s involved in 11-on and all that. He’s just not taking every rep just because he’s not up to, I would say, extended game playing time speed, you know what I mean? So, he’ll go for a portion of our practice as he’s a scout player for us. But, there’s been a couple of times where, ‘Hey, Will needed a little bit of a blow here just because he’s not ready to go 12 straight plays in a row.’ So, it’s more of a conditioning thing from this point in time.”

 

On Tuesday, offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins talked about how RB DuJuan Harris really played well and he’s earned more time. Can we infer that he’s going to be up now on game days?

“Again, until we know exactly what’s going to go on, I would anticipate he’s going to be play. But, I don’t know if he gets hurt in the next two days or so. So, hopefully if he’s healthy, we’re going to have DuJuan up. Yes.”

 

I heard you on the radio talking about I guess meeting with New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees, it wasn’t planned, during the Super Bowl. Did you know or had you talked with Drew in person before that and what did you–?

“Yeah. We played against them.”

 

What did you take from that conversation?

“We were just two guys talking football. Just general football. What trends do you see in the league? People use this formation a lot. People do this a lot. Have you ever looked at this? It’s just two guys talking football. Not specifics about what we do or what the Saints do or nothing that I said, ‘Hey, that conversation I had with Drew in the beginning of February last year, he’s going to run this, this and this.’ It’s just kind of general football thoughts.”

  1. This is the difference between covering the game and actually being a working part of a team. As fans and as those that cover the game from the outside looking in we just assume that the terms that get thrown about by ourselves is the same language being used by those actually playing and coaching the game. Obviously an NFL defensive coordinator and head coach are familiar with a defensive player having a specific area that they are responsible for but just because they don’t use the same terminology that the fans and journalists use we assume their ignorant to such concepts?

    It’s clear that if they do speak of that particular term they call it gap responsibility but chances are they don’t speak to it in the same way we do which is why he wasn’t familiar with how you were using the term.

    Not that different then every fan in the world wondering if a team is a 4-3 or a 3-4 and most coaches will answer that they’re both or hybrids but the truth is they don’t walk around the field saying “ok lets get in our 3-4 now” or “we’re going to practice our 4-3 line today.” The terms that we use ubiquitously might be uncommon or completely absent on the field.

    Stop wasting time talking to PR who are actually clueless or coaches who are trained to be robotic in their answers and talk to a player. Ask them how they define what you’re calling gap integrity and see if they don’t know what you’re talking about or simply refer to it in a different way. We can’t assume that the terms we use are the terms used by the players on an everyday basis.

      1. Well, clearly not.

        This is exactly what I said was likely the case. Too hard to believe they don’t understand the concept, like you were suggesting yesterday. No need to be snarky about Chip having ‘his own terminology’ for it. I am sure lots of different coaches use different terminology for some things that you and I would consider standard NFL terminology.

        1. Clearly not? Because Chip calls it something else? The rest of the league calls it gap integrity. Chip is an NFL outsider.

          1. Jim O’Neil doesn’t appear ot use it either. And he’s been in the NFL awhile, coaching under some well respected defensive coaches. So perhaps while you believe it is used throughout the NFL, it is in fact starting to very much look like some teams don’t call it that.

              1. I think he knows what it is. He just doesn’t know how to communicate it and teach it to his players.

              2. So you think while working in the NFL as a DB coach he never had an opportunity to come across the term gap integrity if it was used by the DCs he worked for? You are stretching the bounds of belief on this.

              3. O’Neil seemed utterly confused by the question, as if he never had heard the term ‘gap integrity in his life. Even Kelly admitted he had heard it.

              4. I didn’t expect O’Neil to teach this defense anything other than how to play better in the secondary, and Donatell seemed to do a good job of that. You know prior to Donatell’s arrival in Chicago, their pass defense was 30th and he got them to 4th in the league in his first year….

              5. “O’Neil seemed utterly confused by the question, as if he never had heard the term ‘gap integrity in his life.”

                Yes, which is pretty much my point. If it was so widespread and commonly used by the DCs and HCs he’s worked for, it beggars belief to think he’d never have heard it used.

              6. I can tell you for a fact Bill Walsh and George Seifert called it “gap integrity.” So do the Bucs. So does Vic Fangio. And so does Brian Billick, clearly.

              7. Grant I agree with you that O’Neil is not a good choice as a DC. We need to get Fangio or Bradley (if the Jags let him go)

            1. When the linebacker doesn’t maintain his gap integrity is it because he wasn’t/isn’t taught the concept or is it because he made a bad choice on that play? Gap integrity or the concept and whatever it gets referred to by various individuals is something that is taught from H.S. up. If they didn’t know what the concept of gap integrity was they wouldn’t have even played in College football.

              1. Yep.

                Besides, can you imagine if it was only referred to as gap integrity? How would you teach it? “You have integrity for the A gap, you have integrity for the B gap” and so on? Of course not. While teaching it would all be about responsibilities. Gap integrity is only used as a term referring to whether players are maintajning their gap responsibilities. It isn’t hard to see how the term gap integrity could very easily be parsed out of the lexicon with 0 impact on understanding the concept behind it.

          2. Chip being chippy. Personally, I’ve always been a fan of ‘integrity’, just because it sounds cooler than responsibility. Same with ‘pocket presence’, and I prefer pocket manipulation. Something Kizer has in spades…; > )

              1. Could be, but at the very least, O’Neil especially, has shown he is a poor teacher and communicator.

              2. I feel so sorry for the players. They’re wasting a year of their short careers under this staff. Sad.

              3. And therein lies the only part of this that really matters, rocket. No matter what they call it, O’Neil doesn’t teach, communicate or install it well.

              4. “I feel so sorry for the players. They’re wasting a year of their short careers under this staff. Sad.”

                Agree completely. And I feel even sorrier for the players that have been here the past two seasons. So many young players on the team and they’ve spent most if not all of their NFL careers being coached by some of the worst collective coaching staffs in the NFL. Its a good way to ensure young players never reach their potential.

              5. “Not knowing the correct term is symptomatic of the issue.”

                Who says it is the ‘correct term’, or that there can only be one ‘correct term’? You are focusing on the wrong issue here. It really does not matter what they call it.

              6. Walsh, Seifert, Billick, Fangio, Koetter, etc. The vast majority of the NFL coaches dating back decades.

            1. I don’t think it even gets mentioned. I imagine it’s something along the lines of; “Bowman you’ll be taking the A gap when this and this happens.” Bowman, “Ok coach.” That’s your NFL discussion on gap integrity. Does Navarro Bowman need to be reminded of what gap integrity means when he’s told to cover the A gap?

  2. I’ve noticed whenever someone asks Chip if he has talked to X, Y, or Z, he always says no. Does he talk to anyone? I know he is anti social but communication is key.

    1. #80,

      Do you think it would be smart for Kelly to say, “Why, yes, I spoke to Trent about Huff and we’re considering offering him a contract?” No, it would be idiotic. What do you expect them to say?

      The 49ers do plenty of things wrong to criticize, you don’t need to make stuff up.

      1. Point taken Hit.

        I was also referring to when he is asked about talking to the team doctors about Kap and Hyde. And when he says he hasn’t talked to a player after they make a bonehead mistake on STs. My bad for being vague.

  3. Chip’s answer to Grant’s first question was pretty funny.

    “Do I hang out with it? I mean, I don’t understand the question.”

  4. Not being at the press conference or seeing it on TV, I gather from reading Chip’s responses to various questions that he was a bit “testy” today, or to put it in another word, frustrated, or short of patience with some of the questions. Reading his responses from the PR staff obviously is far different from being there in person to observe facial expressions, mannerisms and tone of voice, but the construction of his responses and the verbiage.

    1. Do you blame him with the dumbass questions he’s being asked?

      A child reporter playing childish word games with him. Another one harping on about Armstead’s possible surgery after the season. Yet another asking about signing a player that just got cut for bad behavior.

      I think it would be reasonable on his part to be expecting questions about Sunday’s game and his teams preparation for that.

  5. This is getting pathetic. Chip is trying way too hard to parse words. Going from the Read option to the Zone read. Now gap integrity to gap responsibility.

    Chip is just being way too stubborn trying to thwart the questions by the Cohns. He is singling them out as the enemy, and refuses to deal with them in a respectful and appropriate manner. Chip is being petty and petulant, and does not display the kind of characteristics that I want a leader to exemplify. I am beginning to believe more of the snark from Philly.

    How can Chip improve during his PCs? He should be respectful. The reporters are just doing their job, and they are paid to ask the hard questions. Chip, by leading a 1-6 team, should not act like he is above anybody. He is not superior in knowledge, and refusing to answer a question says a lot more about him than it does the questioner. He should calmly and completely answer the questions. He should admit when he does not have an answer. He should be more concise, and keep the answers short and to the point. C

    Chip should not talk a mile a minute, and give long dissertations. He should not go off on a tangent. He should try to inject a little humor, to make it pleasant for all involved.

    Gap responsibility is closely associated with gap integrity. One is the plan, the other is the execution. Grant, by bringing up Gap integrity, wanted to know why the gap responsibilities devolved into no gap integrity. Chip, by his snarky attitude, spoke volumes, and made one wonder why he did not adequately prepare his team. By ignoring gap integrity, his team allowed 1000 yards in 2 games.

    Just because he did not have a clue, or any good answers, he did not need to display obdurate and belligerent mannerisms.

    Chip should make amends by first apologizing to Grant for his poor attitude and unctuous treatment, then he should submit to an hour long, one on one interview. That would show class. It would show the kind of leadership I think the HC of the 49ers should display.

    1. Also, Chip should make it a point to talk to Fergy before the PCs, so he will not look uninformed and can give salient information.Hiding behind the fact that he did not talk with Fergy beforehand, so he does not know the status of players, is getting tiresome, and plainly demonstrates his lack of preparation. Chip by going into a PC without adequate knowledge just speaks volumes, and none of it is good.

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