This is the transcript of Chip Kelly’s Monday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.
Do you have any updates on any of the guys who went down yesterday?
“Yeah, nothing specific in terms of times. The only two guys that we’re concerned with missing any time is [LB] Aaron Lynch has a high ankle sprain and then [CB] Rashard [Robinson] has an MCL sprain. But, there hasn’t been a timetable put on those guys yet, so we won’t know. Obviously, we aren’t playing this week and we’ll see how the rehab goes and all that in terms of their availability for the Saints game, but those are the only two right now that are a concern going past this week.”
There was a report after the game that T Joe Staley is on the trade market. Can you say one-way or the other whether that’s–?
“Yeah, that’s news to me. No one’s ever talked, had any discussions with me about Joe being traded. We need Joe here.”
Over the weekend, The Oregonian had an article speculating that if there were an opening at Oregon that you might go back to it. Would you? A head coaching gig?
“No. I’m the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. So, not looking at anything else.”
Past this season, you would stay here?
“Yeah, I’m here.”
Have you heard from any schools?
What are your plans for the Bye week? What do you guys do as a staff to try to get things going?
“We’ve got a lot of self-scout that we have set aside. We’ve already talked about it, had it planned in the summer time of what our schedule would be. So, we’ll be in here all week kind of looking at what we’ve done in the first seven games, what have our opponents done to us in the first seven games relative to what we thought going into the game based on the break downs. Did they change? If they were 60-percent pressure going into our game and they were only 30-percent pressure in our game, trying to delve into how people are defending us. How are we, people are attacking us from an offensive standpoint in terms of attacking our defense and what their tendencies were going into the game and then what actually transpired in the game. So, we’ve got a lot of film work and a lot of studying to do here during this week.”
Is that Monday through Friday?
“Yeah, Monday through Friday.”
ME: I know you try to stay even-keeled, but do you have private moments of anguish over this losing streak?
“No one’s happy, so I don’t know if the word’s anguish, but I mean obviously you try to keep it consistent in terms of your approach to everything that you do. I don’t think being consistent and being even-keeled means that it doesn’t bother you or that you’re not frustrated in terms of what’s gone on. So, yeah I have those feelings if that’s what you mean by anguish.”
ME: You’re on the cutting edge of nutrition and sleep. Have you considered bringing in sports psychologists to work with your players and you and the staff on dealing with the losing streak that’s going to hang over things through the Bye week?
“No. I mean, we have people that are available to us, that our players use on a regular basis through our player engagement program for a myriad of reasons, whether it be personal or sports related. We have that available to our players in terms of if they need to talk to somebody outside of the football staff or outside of even player engagement. I think some of the things that they’ve done in our player engagement with the outreach with former players that have been through this before, sometimes that’s very helpful to them. But, that’s all done through player engagement through [vice president of football affairs] Keena Turner and [director of player engagement] Parys Haralson and that group.”
Aside from a few drops in each of the last couple of games, what are your thoughts on QB Colin Kaepernick’s accuracy?
“It’s been up and down. I think some of it is our protection issues, are we able to get to our spot, get to the proper drop and then get the ball off at the proper time. Again, and I know I’ve said this before, but it’s not one set thing where it’s if Colin is a little bit more accurate we’re OK. I think it’s a combination of the routes we’re running, the protection that we’re giving him and then giving him the time that he has to throw it. I thought he’s been OK so far. We can be a little bit better so the run after the catch is a little bit better. I’d have to talk about each of the specific throws to say, ‘Hey, where were we on that one or where were we on that one.”
Is it fair to say that you’ve been impressed enough with his running ability that he’s your guy going forward coming back from this Bye?
“Yeah, we’ll go through everything, but I don’t envision making any changes at the quarterback spot.”
Based on what you said about Staley, it sounds like you would be opposed to him being traded.
“I’m not in charge of the overall roster. I’ll give my weigh in and weigh in on where everybody is. Just my point to that thing is we’ve never had a conversation about that and we talk about everything on a daily basis. But, that’s never come up. And I understand how it comes up because we’re 1-6 and Joe is a veteran player, but it doesn’t matter where you are that’s going to be speculation no matter what team you are and where you are, who are your older players. It’s kind of the nature of the sport we play.”
Is this something that you needed to address with Joe today after the report–?
“No, I did not talk to Joe specifically about it. I don’t make it a habit of talking to our guys about erroneous reports. So, from what I understand, I don’t know any information on that.”
It seems like you got a nice boost from RB DuJuan Harris at times in the game. Is he somebody that you’d like to keep up on the active roster?
“Yeah, he did a really good job yesterday. There’s probably about two runs he wants back, but I think overall for his first extended playing time, I think everybody on the offensive side of the staff as we met today and talked about it were impressed with him. I also think [special teams coordinator] Derius [Swinton II] felt good with him on special teams, so I think he’s playing himself into a role in our offense.”
Do you have enough talented players on your roster to compete in this league?
“Yeah, we do. We do.”
Then why has the coaching staff not brought out that talent and win more games?
“That’s on us. I agree 100-percent in terms of what you’re saying. But, our job is to put our players in position to make plays and we’re not doing a good enough job of that right now.”
To stay with that topic, I noticed in the game yesterday they really ran against you well and a lot of running plays their offensive linemen were pushing DL Arik Armstead and DL DeForest Buckner just out of the way and creating big gaps. Is there anything you can do in the future to improve those two guys or help them or do something different?
“Yeah, there’s a lot of different things you can do. Some of those things when you occur and if you’re watching the game from the side and you’re watching, are they getting double-teamed? If they are getting double-teamed are we doing a good enough job of filling the gaps to peel the double team off of them to make sure that it’s a single block on those guys? So, there’s a lot of fits that we can get from our linebackers or from the secondary that we can do to help those guys in those situations.”
Why give the team the week off? I don’t know what the rules are, but I don’t think you need to give them a full week off.
“That’s what we’ve always done wherever I’ve been in the league. I think we’ve played seven games. They’ve been at it since July 31st. They haven’t had more than one day off in a row. So, I think at this point in time that’s what our whole MO has always been. We’re going to bring them in on Monday. We’re going to watch the game. We’re going to put the game to bed. They’ll meet with our strength and conditioning coaches. They have their lifting programs in terms of what they can do and what they have to do. And I think at this point in time we need to heal up. We’ve got two guys as I talked about in Aaron and Rashard that we’re not sure about long-term. But, there are some other guys that have played through a lot of issues so far and have continued to play and stay in games, but I think it’s a good break for them to do what they need to do and that’s the way I’ve always done it and our teams have been fresh coming out of the Bye week.”
Why didn’t LB Tank Carradine play yesterday on defense?
“Just the rotation that those guys had going. I think they felt really comfortable with what [LB] Eli [Harold], Aaron’s reps were up a little bit coming back. I think he’s got a little bit more wind in him in terms of where we are. We felt [LB Ahmad Brooks] Brooksy was playing really well. So, they tried to keep Aaron in the game as much as they can. So, it was just a rotation. And [outside linebackers coach Jason Tarver] Tarv’s in charge of those guys on game day in terms of the rotation that we’ve got going at the outside linebacker spot.”
So, it wasn’t a disciplinary thing?
You didn’t mention Arik Armstead in the injuries. Is he fine?
“Yeah, from when I talked to [vice president of football operations Jeff Ferguson] Ferg, I just, literally we were over there and the two guys that we talked about were Aaron Lynch and Rashard. But, there was nothing long-term in term of specifics of people past this week.”
He mentioned I think before the first game that it was something that might have to get fixed after the season. Has there been any talk about cutting him more–?
“No. You’re the only one who’s asked that question to me before and that’s the extent of it. But, I’ve never gotten anything from our training staff about that.”
What about DL Glenn Dorsey?
“Dors just couldn’t go. Later in the week, he felt like his leg was bothering him a little bit, tried to see what he could do on Sunday morning and couldn’t go. And I think Dors also knows as a professional, we can’t have a guy up, when you only have 46 guys up on game day, that can only go for a couple plays in the first quarter. Then, we’re depleted a little bit from a line standpoint. So, felt like he couldn’t give everything he had to give at that point in time. So, really his call with Ferg in terms of that he couldn’t go and couldn’t give us everything he could yesterday. So, we’re hoping this time off will give him an opportunity when we come back for the Saints game.”
Is this the expected kind of stop and start that you would get from somebody who’s coming back from an ACL?
“Again, everything ACL I’ve ever dealt with in my career, and I’m not a doctor or anything, has all been different. So, I don’t think you can put, ‘Hey, this ACL’s like that.’ [Minnesota Vikings RB] Adrian Peterson came back after whatever and started and played really well with it. Other guys it’s taken a little bit longer. But, there’s more than when you look at each individual player, it could be more than that, that they have meniscus with it, was there a bone bruise in it. I don’t know the exact specifics of that. So, what I’ve learned with ACLs is you take them all as an individual and you just can’t say, ‘Hey, this is the concrete. It’s this. So, it becomes this amount of time.’”
With such a young defensive line, do you miss his veteran presence, somebody’s who’s been there?
“I think you do. I know he’s the leader of that group. It is a young group, but I think that they voted him the leader at that position. So, I feel like he adds some leadership from that and if him not being out there to provide that for them, it would help the young guys. But again, the one thing with Dors is he’s going to tell you what he can do and what he can’t do and he’s not going to fake it.”
I know you’ve been asked through the years a fair amount about the no huddle offense and its possible effects on fatiguing the defense. This year, you guys rank 31st in the NFL in plays per drive. I don’t think you were near that any time in Philadelphia. Do you have to reconsider the pace or the tempo?
“Yeah, I don’t think, again we had the conversation last week, we’re not playing with pace and tempo right now.”
But, you’re playing with more pace than most teams. What are the benefits of the no huddle if–?
“I guess I disagree with that point. I don’t think we’re playing fast right now. So, if someone said, ‘How are you playing offensively?’ I don’t think we’re playing fast offensively. I think we’re just not going back, we’re saving seven yards of run time for our offensive line because they don’t have to run back in the huddle, get a play called and then do it. We’re just calling it at the line of scrimmage. So, I think it’s a lot of what Denver used to do when [former NFL QB] Peyton [Manning] was there. But, we’re not, there’s a lot of times that we’re under 15 seconds when we’re snapping the ball and getting the play off. So, that part of it is, we’re not playing fast and we’re not calling tempo-type plays in those situations. We’re just calling plays.”
You said you slowed it down this year, correct?
Is that a reflection of the offense not staying on the field?
The offense isn’t staying on the field.
“Yeah, because we’re not converting on third down. So, I don’t think that’s because we slowed it down. I don’t think–.”
I’m not saying that there’s a correlation there. I’m asking, have you slowed the pace down because you’re not staying on the field?
“No. I think that’s what fits with this group of guys we have on the offensive side of the ball.”
After looking at the tape, did you see anything improvement-wise from Colin from just his first start to his second, specific things maybe that you picked up on?
“Yeah. I think there was some improvement there. I think the amount of third downs we gained just with him in there, I think he did a good job. Early in the game, they tried to play a lot of man coverage and I think part of Colin’s ability to escape on third down kind of took them out of some man coverage situations because of you have to defend the quarterback. When everybody has their back turned to the quarterback, they can’t see when he takes off and goes. But, I saw an improvement from the Bills game to this game. We hope he can continue to grow and build upon that. That’s part of what we have to do with him as a player is see if we can get incrementally better as the weeks go on. But, I think there was improvement from the Bills game to this game.”
When you have a guy that didn’t play for as long as he did and went this long between starts, is there an adjustment period for him in terms of just being able to read defenses again or what he’s looking at? Do you expect that, especially–?
“I think so. I think with anybody, when you get up to playing full speed in the National Football League, I think the speed of the game, when you talk to any rookie coming into the league, what’s the first thing? It’s the speed of the game and just trying to capture the speed of the game back. Colin has a lot to recall because he’s got extensive playing experience in this league. But, it’s still not something that it’s like that. You’ve got to get back into it. And it’s not replicated in practice. Again, we’ve talked about it here before. The quarterback’s not live in practice. So, he’s a lot more comfortable in the pocket in practice just because those guys aren’t going to hit him. They’re going to stay away. You hear everybody talk about stay away from the quarterback. We don’t want anybody hitting the quarterback in a practice situation, obviously, just like everybody else in the league. So, there is a change from the speed of the game as you get into games and I think the more experience he gets, understanding who his receivers are, understanding who’s protecting him, understanding where he can escape in protection, the little teeny things that, it’s not going to be something that you just pick up like that and jump back on the bike and just start riding again. It’s something that the experience is, hopefully you’re better from the experiences that you’re getting of taking those valuable snaps that he’s getting right now.”
On the second fumble, was that his responsibility to recognize that?
“No. We had a protection issue. Should have checked inside and then gone outside. The inside guys didn’t come. We should have fanned out and picked him up in protection.”