Chip Kelly: “I’m not naming any starters for Buffalo. Don’t rule anything out.”


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.

  1. Chips’ silence says it all. Instead of saying Gabbert played well like last week, he says “I’m not naming any starters.”

    l said before the game that it would be the last stop for the Blaine Train. Kap or Ponder will start. Not that it will help much.

  2. Can’t someone just ask “if you’re such an offensive mastermind, why the $&@# does Torrey Smith only touch the ball once per game?!”

    1. Smith doesn’t get open. He only does well in a situation where he has an elite receiver as the number one. The number one gets double coverage and Smith makes more catches. Nothing will change until the 49ers acquire a legitimate highly productive receiver ahead of Smith.

  3. Those who tout Ponder do not realize that he flamed out in Minnesota. He was even out of the league just a couple months ago.

  4. Chip is getting better. I saw more innovation on offense. In fact, they put a man in motion for a couple plays. He also went bold, and went for it on 4th down.

    Glad he did not get pinned down about naming a starter. Grant elicited the best quote at the end. With a 4 game losing streak, nobody should be guaranteed a starting job.

  5. Can you imagine Kelly sitting in Dorks office with Trent to his right , telling Kelly to say to the media that Kap isn’t playing cause his weight is not where it should be …. priceless

  6. Niners should promote Dujuan Harris and let him return kick offs. He could also be a good change of pace back for Hyde. They should play Garnett. They should play Skov. They should play Reaser.

    And of course, they should let Kaep play.

  7. Kelly will hold off starting Kaep, because if Kaep flames, what’s the next move? Gabbert is unreliable, inconsistently accurate. Kaep is the same story. Kaep is just not Gabbert, that’s what he has going for him. Kelly will hold off as long as he can because when Kaep does what we know Kaep will do, Kelly is now looking at ….Ponder? Kelly can’t really recycle Gabbert at that point. It’s a rotten situation for Kelly. But $5M a year makes it livable….

        1. You should really watch the video of the PC. He was making a joke. His laughter as he said it is lost in the transcript.

          1. Scooter,
            Any coach that begins to read blogs or listen to the voices of the fans is not fit to coach.
            There are two breeds of people in sports – those, like players and coaches who are on the inside and those like us who are on the outside.

            I know it wasn’t you, but for anyone to even remotely suggest that Chip reads and is interested in what we say on this blog is asinine and borders on comedic.

            The only headcoach that I think would show interest in reading a fan blog is Rex Ryan but having said that, doing so might be a stretch even for Sexy Rexy.

            1. Oh I know AES. Its the Seb that firmly believes coaches are reading what he writes on the blogs. Hopefully if he watches Kelly’s PC he will see how laughable Kelly himself found the idea.

              1. Yep, that is the whole problem. They think they know everything, and do not need any help. Hence, the 4 game losing streak.

                I agree, 99.9% of the blogs are drivel and a waste of time, but for those tiny tidbits of wisdom, they would profit from learning from them.

                However, it sure seems like a team with a 4 game losing streak should be doing everything in their power to find out ways to improve. I do not think that the coaches should waste time scrolling through the blogs, but some one in the organization, especially in the PR department, should glean some posts that may help them.

                The very fact he made fun of the blogs just tells me that he is lying again, just like him saying that he does not think Kaep is ready, while he uses a QB who is wildly inaccurate and throws picks.

                It is interesting to note that he went from saying that he does not want to waste up to 15 seconds every play, to saying that they are not running a hurry up offense. How did he come to that epiphany without debate?

                Its OK, you may say that they never read the posts, but Jed himself admitted that he reads them, and gets the message, loud and clear.

              2. Another reason why I think Chip is lying, is because he says that he and the coaches decides who to play, yet Kaep has to restructure his contract before they will let him start. That sure sounds to me like the FO is dictating who they play.

  8. Of all the disappointments so far this year, I’d have to say our D-Line and run
    Defense have been the worst. The Linebacker injuries to Bow and Ray-Ray also are huge.

    O-Line was looking much improved until this last game. Lack of playmakers and so little
    room for error / poor execution does not work well with a flawed team .

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