SANTA CLARA — This is the transcript of Chip Kelly’s Week-14 Thursday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.
How have you seen the attitudes, the work habits of the players? Have they been effected at all by the losing streak you’re on?
“The one thing about this group is I think they come to work every day. There’s a lot of guys who are getting opportunities obviously because in certain spots like inside linebacker where you’re down some players, I think those guys, the [LB] Nick Bellore’s, the [LB] Mike Wilhoite’s, the [LB] Gerald Hodges’ kind of typify the rest of them. They all come to work each day. They’re all trying to be part of the solution. You guys observe practice. You watch how they kind of run around. So, we’ve been, as a coaching staff, pleased with how they come in here every day.”
How’s LB Aaron Lynch coming along in his recovery after six, seven weeks?
“We think he’s made progress. I think one of the things that will be interesting is can he go two days in a row. Wednesday and Thursday are obviously the big work days for everybody in the National Football League. So, he made it through yesterday. What will his response physically be to the workload that he placed on it yesterday? So, we’ll see and hopefully if we can get him through, we’d love to be able to get him up and get him ready to go on Sunday. But, we’re pleased with how he handled Tuesday and Wednesday. We’ll see how the next couple days go with him.”
You’ve had like 12 opportunities to fill the 53-man roster. Has LB Marcus Rush’s name ever come up in your discussions when you’re thinking about who should go into that final spot?
“We’ve always talked about everybody that’s available to us. But, a lot of it really comes into, the biggest thing for us when we get to, you’re talking the bottom of the roster, is a special teams spot. So, [S] Marcus Ball came up really to take [LB] Shayne Skov’s spot as a special teams player and did a really nice job for us in his first game. So, it’s kind of when you get to the bottom part of the roster is that’s what you’re really looking at. We didn’t put Aaron down. If we had put Aaron down for the year then you’d want to be bringing in another outside linebacker. But, we didn’t bring in another outside linebacker because we were always hoping that we were going to get Aaron back. So, if we were to be out an outside linebacker, then that’s really what we would be looking at. So, yeah.”
Is putting Aaron down something that you’re thinking about?
“No. We haven’t had that discussion yet.”
A lot of people look at the lack of pass rush that you guys have had from the outside guys and they see what Marcus did in the preseason and maybe that’s kind of his niche. Is that not something worth considering to try to amp up that pass rush a little?
“No. We haven’t talked about that.”
As far as Aaron Lynch, he talked about losing 30 pounds during his suspension which obviously would suggest he was 30 pounds overweight. There were some questions about him coming out of college. Is he still learning how to be a pro?
“I wasn’t around Aaron before. So, the only exposure I had to Aaron started last April and when we’ve had him I think he’s been great. I don’t think it was 30 pounds because I think he was in the 290s and he’s in the 280s now. I’m not great at math, but I don’t think it was that much.”
He told us he lost 30 pounds.
“Yeah. Well, maybe he’s not good at math either. I don’t know. I mean, 30’s a lot of weight. That’s like going from 290 to 260. I think he’s in the 280 range now, 275-280 range. So, we’ll kind of see where he is. I know we always have a lot of discussions about weight. So, I’ll try and get an accurate number. [Sacramento Bee reporter] Matt [Barrows], I’ll try to get an accurate number for you. [QB Colin Kaepernick] Kap said he was 219 the other day.”
Alright. Do you feel like he was in good condition during training camp?
“For a guy that was going to sit for four games, I thought he was in, I mean he passed our conditioning test with no problem. I think he’s trying to figure out how much weight he can carry. But, the one thing that’s amazing about Aaron in terms of his athletic ability, I don’t think there were any issues. As a matter of fact, he was one of the leaders in our conditioning test, kind of running around. That’s really the gauge you have. So, to answer your question, do I think he was in good shape in camp? I do think he was in good shape in camp.”
I’ve got kind of a broad question for you that probably deserves a setup. Yesterday, we talked to New York Jets WR Brandon Marshall and he was talking about the 2014 game, he says he really doesn’t remember too much of it because he was on pain killers at the time. Last week, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr made some comments about the use of cannabis and he said, ‘I don’t think there’s any question. Marijuana’s better for your body than Vicodin yet athletes everywhere are prescribed Vicodin like it’s Vitamin C.’ Do you have any stance? We know what the NFL stance is right now, but do you have any stance about the use of cannabis as opposed to some of these prescription drugs that are used to mask pain?
“I don’t know what’s prescribed to our players in terms of the specifics, whether it’s Vicodin or Percocet or whatever those other drugs are. So, I couldn’t, I’m really good at talking about things I know. I don’t know anything about that. So, I can’t weigh in one way or the other on what’s better or what’s not better. So, I just don’t have that information for you.”
Do you think it’s something worth looking into? Not from you, but from a league standpoint that we kind of reevaluate the drug policies?
“That’s way above my pay grade. So, that’s probably a question for them. Do they look at that stuff now? I don’t know. I know in the league meetings and when I go in and what we discuss, usually it’s rule changes and things like that. But, coaches aren’t privy to the conversations that go on. Maybe [49ers Co-Chairman Dr. John York] Dr. York would be someone, I know he’s on one of the committees about that, would be a better one. I don’t what direction or where that’s headed or what’s right or what’s wrong. So, I’m probably not the right guy to ask that question to.”
I don’t think this is going to come into play this week or the rest of the season, but is the snow angel foul, do you have a clear understanding on when–?
“No, I don’t. I know it happened in another game and it wasn’t an issue. There’s nothing in the rulebook if it’s X-amount of time. From what was the article I read, it’s up to the referee’s discretion.”
It didn’t seem like it was an overelaborate or that that celebration was taking too long. What was your take on what was happening in the end zone?
“I was just trying to think about what play we were going to run if the ball was out at the four. So, I did not spend a lot of time looking at the snow angel work that our guys were doing in the end zone, to be honest with you. But, again, when it comes to officials, all I’ve always will say is they made the call, they made the call. They’re not going to change the call five days later. That’s one of the things that I’ve learned in this league. You can call the league office and say, ‘Hey, how about this?’ And then they’ll usually say, ‘Hey, we were wrong.’ It doesn’t change anything and it really doesn’t make you feel better either. Actually sometimes it probably pisses you off even more because you wish they got it right to begin with. And they’re humans and that’s how they do it. I think the officials in this league do an outstanding job. Do they miss some calls? They miss some calls. It is what it is. You just don’t sweat it. You go on. Really, it’s just like what we were doing in that situation, trying to find out if he was out and it was going to replay, that he was out of bound, what were we going to run? Then, obviously, it was making our first decision where we were calling a play from the four-yard line. Now, we got a penalty. We’ve got to call a play from the 19-yard line. So, that’s really kind of our thought process. From Marijuana to snow angels. Nice gap there.”
Your corners don’t have an interception this year. I don’t know if that’s just a statistical oddity. You’ve got a decent amount of pass breakups.
“Yeah. Obviously, you’d like to have a pass breakup, a PBU turn into an interception. But, it just kind of happens I think sometimes. I’ve been in places where, ‘Hey, we don’t have an interception,’ and then they come in bunches. So, hopefully, they come in bunches this week. But, sometimes that’s just part of the nature. I think by in large that group has done a good job in coverage. We’ve have some guys in and out. [DB] Jimmie [Ward] missed a few games when he went down in the Seattle game and then [CB] Rashard [Robinson] missed a game or two in there. But, I think the group as a whole has done a good job.”
Did you look at New York Jets QB Bryce Petty much when he was coming out?
“Yeah. We studied Bryce coming out. I was in Philly at the time, but we spent time with him. Obviously, had a very prolific career at Baylor in [former Baylor University head coach] coach [Art] Briles’ system. I think he’s got a body type and physical skillset and all that to be a quarterback in the NFL and he’s done a nice job while he’s in there. There’s just not a lot of tape on him in the NFL so far because he hasn’t had many attempts.”
WR Torrey Smith had a lot of nice things to say about you yesterday and he indicated that you’re not going anywhere. Have you gotten any assurance that you’re coming back next year? Have you been told–?
“No, I have a contract, but I don’t, I mean I meet with ownership. It’s not like we don’t talk. I met with [49ers Chief Executive Officer] Jed [York] today. I hadn’t seen Jed since I got back. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the York family for how much they helped me in the last five to six days. They were unbelievable. But, and I’ve never had anywhere else I’ve been, never had a conversation in-season about things going on. Obviously at the end of every year, you’ll sit down and evaluate everything, but I haven’t had anything nor would I expect to have anybody come to me during the season to talk about what’s going to go on in the following year. Our sole focus once we get going in-season is always week-to-week. So, whatever week you’re on. This week it’s the Jets and that’s really what, and the football discussions I had with Jed today was just about injuries. You know, who was out, what are we doing, here we had this situation, what’s your thought processes in terms of the Jets and things like that. Just the normal conversations that we do have on a weekly basis. But, nothing from that standpoint.”
What did the York family do for you?
“In terms of me being able to get back and forth. They had a plane ready for me when we landed in Chicago on Friday Night and I got an opportunity to fly to New Hampshire and be with my mom and then to be able to fly back for the game and then be able to fly back for the funeral and then be able to fly all the way back here and then to be able to fly Jill from here to Chicago to meet me so that we could go together. They were godsends, to be honest with you.”
That’s all private planes?
“It was all them. yeah.”
Torrey spoke for the locker room saying everyone really likes playing for you. Has that manifested itself? Do you feel that from the players that they like playing for you–?
“I think we have a good bond. I think there’s a lot of like-minded individuals here. This group likes to work. They’ve got a great work ethic in terms of how they come and I know we had the question earlier about their approach. They’re not an up and down group. They’re not, kind of go like that just because of the outside circumstances. They understand to control what they can control and they follow that. So, I really enjoy coaching this group. It’s a really good group of men. So, it’s fun.”