Chip Kelly spoke in the 49ers’ media tent Friday afternoon. Here are selected quotes.
Q: Is it safe to say you haven’t decided which quarterback is going to start against the Bills?
KELLY: We haven’t talked anything about who is starting at any position. Really what we did is, you grade the tape yourself and then when we sit down as a staff, it’s just, “What did we do well on this play? What did we do poorly on this play? Why was this play successful? Why was this play not successful? What are the reasons behind it?” We’ll spend a little bit more time this afternoon on what’s our plan moving forward.
Q: Where is Colin Kaepernick as far as strength and weight?
KELLY: I couldn’t tell you exactly his weight today. I think it’s in the 215 range. He was in there a couple days ago. Haven’t checked him the last 48 hours. He’s continuing to work, continuing to get stronger, continuing to get better. He came back from three surgeries, so it’s getting him in the process of getting back to where he was. There is not a weight limit on where he has to be. What he is right now, he’s not the 2013 version of himself where he took his team to the Super Bowl from a physical standpoint.
Q: Is there any reluctance to play Colin because of his contract?
KELLY: No. I mean, I played him in the first game, right? So, that kind of answers that question.
ME: Given the Cardinals like to bring pressure, why not give Blaine Gabbert more max-protection plays so he wouldn’t have to throw to the hot receiver on third-and-long.
KELLY: He didn’t throw to the hot receiver on third-and-long. We were protected on third downs. I think the only time they brought a zero blitz was when we were in the red zone. It was a second-down play, they brought everybody and he threw it hot to the flat. But that was really the hot throw we had in the game. They zero blitzed us again on the third down play, and they ended up getting a holding penalty. But we didn’t have any hot throws other than those.
Q: Why did Blaine Gabbert get sacked seven times?
KELLY: The biggest thing on the offensive line where we didn’t do a good job was in the twist game. I think they did a really good job with the twist game. We had enough people to pick them up. You look at the last one, it was a two-man twist inside. We had three guys on them, so it was three-on-two offensively. Sometimes the quarterback holds the ball a little too long. We’ve got to get it out a little bit quicker. But you would think with a four-man rush or a five-man rush, you should be able to at least get a hat on a hat and not have any free rushers.
Q: Those two overthrows in the first half by Blaine, any way to explain those?
KELLY: He just missed the throws. I don’t know if it was a mechanical thing. Not having watched the tape with him to see what he saw – “Let’s go through this; what was your thought process in terms of where you are?” I think a lot of that happens when we get the players back in.
Q: Has Christian Ponder received any reps in practice outside of with the scout team?
KELLY: No. Right now, we’re limited when we’re out there. It’s either Blaine gets reps or Kap gets reps. To try to get a third quarterback involved when you’re working your first-team offense is kind of difficult because who do you take those reps away from? He has done a really good acclimating himself to what we’re doing. And then he’s done a really, really good job running our scout team. And I think what people see in practice is that’s what he’s been doing. He has done a really good job with that, but he hasn’t gotten reps with the first unit since we’ve started the season.
Q: The past few weeks, has it been the same rep distribution between Gabbert and Kaepernick?
Q: Gabbert’s getting three quarters?
Q: When you were in Philly, you guys started 1-3 and then 3-5. Is there any stuff you can trace that back to, you adjusting to the personnel and vice versa?
KELLY: There’s probably us getting a feel for what they’re capable of doing. Our job is to put them in position to make plays, and obviously if you’re 1-4 you’re not doing that. That’s part of the process. The more we’re around them, the more we get to know them. The more they’re around us, the more they get to know us. And kind of working together. I like where you’re going, because the outcome worked out pretty good.
Q: Up until last night, you had fairly unwavering support for Blaine. The fact that you’re looking into…
KELLY: No, don’t read into anything. You’re going somewhere where you shouldn’t be going. I said our entire offense didn’t play well. It’s got nothing to do with unwavering support for anybody or anything. When our offense isn’t playing well, I’ll be very honest and tell you our offense isn’t playing well.
Q: I think it’s fair to say at the beginning of the season you said, “Blaine Gabbert will be our starter for the next game.” That was certainly implied. Right now it doesn’t seem like you’re saying that.
KELLY: I said last night. Don’t read into anything else. We didn’t play well offensively. We need to evaluate everything we’re doing offensively.
Q: Will Blaine start against Buffalo?
KELLY: I don’t have any answers for anybody. I don’t know who is going to start against Buffalo. Our entire offense didn’t play well, so we need to get something straightened out offensively.
Q: Do you worry about the message to the rest of the team, the rest of the offense, when…
KELLY: No, I don’t worry about any message to our team. I think we’re pretty straight forward. I don’t send messages through the media – I think that’s the one thing they understand. We talk man to man and face to face in our position meeting rooms and our team meeting rooms in terms or where we are. So I don’t worry about any message that’s being sent. The message I always tell those guys is don’t read the newspaper. Hopefully they get that message.
Q: I don’t mean to imply you’re trying to send a message through the media…
KELLY: OK. But you asked me about implied messages, so I was just finishing it for you.
Q: Right. The unintended consequence would be that, “Hey, he’s not naming Blaine Gabbert the start for Buffalo, so therefore…”
KELLY: I’m not naming any starters for Buffalo. Don’t rule anything out is what I’m saying. But I guarantee the headline is I didn’t name this guy the starter. I didn’t name any starters for the Buffalo game. That’s what I’m saying.
ME: So Joe Staley is on notice?
KELLY: Everybody is on notice.