This is the transcript of Chip Kelly’s Week 17 Monday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.
How was your holiday?
Did you guys have the day off or–?
“Yeah. They had the day off. Everybody came in early this morning.”
What’s the prognosis on RB Carlos Hyde?
“Carlos has an MCL sprain. So, it’s a non-surgical deal, but he’ll be out for a couple weeks. So, he will be unavailable this week.”
Obviously, you wanted him for the final game of the year, but is it a big relief knowing that he’ll be available for the offseason program and this is not a long-term thing?
“Yeah. The fact that it’s a non-surgical thing is the one thing that’s positive. So, it’s unfortunate that we won’t have him for Seattle, but it was good news for Carlos.”
How has he progressed as far as a receiver out of the backfield? I seem to recall in preseason there was some bad chemistry early on. It seemed to get better as the season went on.
“I don’t know about the bad chemistry, but I think he’s done a really nice job catching the ball coming out of the backfield. Obviously, he caught the first touchdown on Saturday for us, did a nice job on his route and a good job with the run after the catch. So, I think he’s done a good job for us in the pass game this year.”
What happened on that play where he got injured? Was the throw where it should have been? Did he turn up field–?
“Well, I think [QB Colin Kaepernick] Kap was pressured a little bit. It was a naked rollout and we slipped Carlos into the flat real quick and I think there was a defensive end up the field a little quick and Kap was just trying to dump it out there quick. I don’t think it was exactly out in front of him. So, he had to kind of turn back to catch it.”
What are you waiting to see from RB Mike Davis to get him on the active roster?
“Well, we can only carry three running backs on the active. So, it’s really not waiting for anything from Mike. It’s just that [RB] Shaun Draughn’s our third down back and then [RB] DuJuan [Harris] gives us more than Mike in special teams. So, there’s no way for us to keep four guys active on game day at the running back spot without hurting ourselves at other positions. So, it’s just really turns into a numbers game.”
So, it’s not anything that you’re seeing from him or need to see from him?
“No. Again, it’s a numbers game. Just like we only dress two quarterbacks. We dress seven offensive linemen. Whoever ends up being out, that’s all you can do. So, if you were to dress the fourth running back, then you’d be short a wide receiver, you’d be short a tight end, you’d be short a quarterback. You’re not always going to dress a backup quarterback. So, it’s just a numbers game with Mike.”
So, with that in mind, you wouldn’t fill Carlos’ spot–?
“We haven’t talked anything about that yet. So, we have a personnel meeting every day at 1:30 when I meet with [vice president of football operations Jeff Ferguson] Ferg to get the rest of the details. But, I was just answering the question on Mike. Mike hasn’t been up just because we’re only going to carry three running backs on the active roster. Now, I don’t know the rest of the who’s up and who’s down this week. So, I can’t say that we wouldn’t carry an extra guy there. It just depends on–.”
Were there any other injuries?
“Not that I’m aware of right now. Again, we meet at 1:30 every day. Carlos got his MRI yesterday. So, we know about that, we had the extra day. But, we didn’t meet yesterday because it was Christmas.”
Are you planning on having T Joe Staley for Sunday or do you feel that he’s–?
“I don’t know that either. So, I’ll get an update on everybody at 1:30 today.”
From a psyche standpoint, what do you think this win on Saturday meant to the team and to the coaching staff?
“Again, the players, I said, have stuck together with each other all year long and I was happy for them. Happy for them that they got a chance to feel what it was like to win again. Obviously, it’s been a long time since the first time and obviously played the Rams in the first one. But, a lot guys played in this game that didn’t play in that first game. It was really kind of a different feel in terms of who was out there. You had a receiving corps without [WR] Torrey [Smith], without [WR] Quinton Patton, without [TE] Vance McDonald and then without Joe and [C Daniel] Kilgore up front. So, really offensively was a totally different look that we had going on there. So, just happy for those guys, how hard they worked and what they’ve put into it so that they get a chance to actually get a tangible win out of it.”
It seems like you don’t really like to talk about yourself too much, but what does it mean to you? You showed some emotion on the sideline in a way that you haven’t this season.
“Well, we haven’t had a lot to show emotion about. Just again, I was happy for our players and excited that all the work they put in had paid off.”
Did chief executive officer Jed York or the Yorks reach out to you after the game to–?
“Yeah. They’re in the locker room after every game. So, I see Jed and [49ers Co-Chairman] John [York] after every game.”
Have you had any discussions with either one of them about 2017 yet?
Expect that to take place next week then?
“You would think that’s when it would happen, right? We’ve said the same thing every week.”
Do you think you’re coming back next year?
“I’m concerned with Seattle. So, that’s not a discussion, shouldn’t be discussed during the season. So, we’ll discuss it after the season.”
You guys play at the same time as the other game that could affect Seattle’s playoff situation. Is that motivation at all for you guys? Do you use that at all to get your players to play the spoiler type of role?
“No, we don’t talk about that at all. We talk about playing a really good Seattle team. That’s motivation enough lining up across from [Seattle Seahawks DE] Michael Bennett and [Seattle Seahawks CB] Richard Sherman and [Seattle Seahawks S] Kam Chancellor and [Seattle Seahawks QB] Russell Wilson is motivation enough to get you ready. Just turn the tape on and you know how good a football team they are and that’ll get you, if you’re a competitor, that’ll get you excited. Whether you’re a spoiler or not a spoiler isn’t any conversation that we have.”
The way Kap played those last two drives, is that the best he’s played all season?
“No, I think there’s other times that I think he’s played well. I think the Miami game he played really well. I think he threw for almost 300 and ran for, almost had 400 yards of total offense himself in that game. So, I think there’s been other games where he’s played well. But, he did a nice job, had a really good command during those last two drives for us.”
G Zane Beadles had a pep talk with the rest of the offensive line with 10 minutes left in the game. Did you know about that?
“No. They’re always having a conversation on the bench. So, they needed to because they weren’t playing very well before that. So, whatever Zane said I think helped them a little bit.”
So, you saw improvement after that?
“Yeah. There was improvement on the last couple of drives with that group.”
How did T John Theus grade out in this game?
“John was OK. First start, a lot of things went on, [G Joshua] Garnett was in, Garnett went out for a little bit, [OL Alex] Balducci came in for a little bit, but John was OK.”
Does he show you signs of a guy who if he continues to develop could be a factor in this league?
“Yeah, we’ll see. Again, it’s the first time he’s ever played. So, hopefully he can build upon that.”
How did T Trent Brown look transitioning over to left tackle?
“Trent did a nice job over there.”
Is that something down the road in his career where he’s probably going to be a left tackle?
“We have a left tackle right now. So, maybe down the road, I don’t know. That’s way down the road I think.”
You have slowed the pace of the offense since the beginning of the year, correct?
“Yeah, we’re not playing as fast as people’s perception is, yeah.”
I guess my question is why did you make the decision to do that?
“Because you’re trying to make sure we have the right look for the right plays so that we can execute offensively.”
Does that mean in the past you weren’t getting the right look?
“No, I wasn’t thinking that. I’m saying, you asked me why people slow down. It’s we check a lot more now. If you watch Kap he’s making a lot more checks up there. So, there’s a lot more where we’re trying to run plays versus different looks.”
It has nothing to do with trying to keep the defense off the field, your own defense off of the field?
“No. We’re just trying to get the right play versus the right look.”
Some would look and say with the number of three-and-outs you guys have had and how your offense has kind of sputtered at times that to take more time off the play clock is giving your own defense an advantage by being able to rest. But, that’s–?
“They still have to go play a play though. So, I think the number of plays are probably still roughly the same. I mean, I’ve had this conversation with people all the time. People run the same amount of plays against us. It’s still right in that 65-75 average of what number of offensive plays people have against you. I don’t think the timing part is, and it’s always been plays and that’s what you always look at, how many plays are they running and how many plays are you running.”
I’m sorry. I could be dim. But, obviously something changed.
“Because of our personnel trying to get matched up with what the right look is and the right plays in terms of who our guys are, what’s available to us from a menu selection of what we can run for plays against them, do we want to locate where their three-technique is, do we want to locate where their one-technique is, do we want to check plays at the line of scrimmage based upon the defense that they’re facing us, if it’s a man look and the rotation is one way, do we want to sit back and see if the rotation is one way so we can slide the protection in a certain direction? Those are all factors that go into us trying to do what we’re trying to do right now.”
I guess what I mean is previously you felt like those things weren’t getting checked off maybe?
I guess, what inspired the change?
“That has nothing to do with it. Because with this group we want to make sure we’re in the right play versus the right front versus the right coverage.”
With this group. What do you mean?
“The San Francisco 49ers. The team we’re coaching. They come out here and practice every day. That’s what I mean by this group.”
But, you were going faster earlier in the season?
“No, I wouldn’t argue that either. But, I don’t think we’ve played fast all year. From game one to game 15, I don’t think we’ve played fast all year.”
OK. Perhaps that’s where the disconnect is. My initial question was you have slowed the pace down as the season’s gone on. I thought you said yes.
“No, I said I don’t think we’ve played fast all year. That’s what I’ve said.”
You complimented your defense after the game. What changed in the defensive scheme that made it such a–?
“I don’t think anything changed in our defensive scheme. I think our players just executed. It’s a lot of the same calls that we really ran in the first game against them. And I thought they did a good job in the first game against, with that team, it starts with shutting down [Los Angeles Rams RB Todd] Gurley. They did a good job, he’s such a talent running back, of not letting him get started and getting him moving. Then, obviously you’ve got to play the weapons of [Los Angeles Rams WR Tavon] Austin and [Los Angeles Rams WR Kenny] Britt at the wide receiver spot. But, I think it was really a similar game plan to what we did in the first game and I think we executed in both those game plans. And I thought we tackled better. It seems like when we tackle well on the defensive side of the ball we play well and I thought we tackled better in this game obviously than we did in the Atlanta game.”