49ers training camp report, Day 6: Chip Kelly adds wrinkle to offense

SANTA CLARA – Here’s who stood out to me during the 49ers’ sixth training-camp practice which lasted roughly an hour.


1. HC Chip Kelly. Began installing plays which feature the quarterback under center. Worked on these plays during individual drills, team drills and teach periods. Primarily ran inside zone plays, draws and play-action rollout passes from these formations. Colin Kaepernick completed a deep pass to Bruce Ellington on a play-action rollout to the right.

2. WR Quinton Patton. The best wide receiver on the field the past two days. Beat Keith Reaser with a post route for a long catch on the first play of 7 on 7s. Seems like a lock to start at split end Week 1.

3. WR DiAndre Campbell. Made a team-high four catches, including a short catch while running a curl route against Tramaine Brock. Three of the passes Campbell caught were thrown by Kaepernick. Those two have chemistry.

4. TE Vance McDonald. Made two catches, including a deep catch while running a post route against Brock. Both passes McDonald caught were thrown by Blaine Gabbert. Those two have chemistry.

5. QB Jeff Driskel. Completed 4 of 5 passes. Has completed 28 of 41 (68.3 percent) the past four practices.

6. QB Blaine Gabbert. Completed 6 of 9 passes (with one drop), including the deep pass to McDonald.

7. QB Colin Kaepernick. Completed 7 of 9 passes, including the deep pass to Ellington, as well as one to tight end Blake Bell. Bell beat nickel back Will Redmond with a post route.


1. WR DeAndre Smelter. Slow. Seems unable to get open deep or make contested catches downfield. Ran a go route against Rashard Robinson, who looked like he was jogging, and still couldn’t get in position to even touch the long pass from Gabbert. Robinson pinned Smelter against the sideline and ran him out of bounds. Smelter also dropped a short pass while running a shallow cross a few minutes later. He was wide open.

2. QB Thad Lewis. Clearly on the team for his mind, not his arm. Completed just 1 of 4 passes.

This article has 113 Comments

  1. Hi Grant,

    I cannot seem to recall seeing any plays from the Eagles when Chip Kelly was there. If so do you think they will call running plays from under center so teams have to respect the play action? Will be interesting what % of plays are ran from under center next year.

  2. Play action is where Kaepernick makes his money, and if Dr. Jekyll’s alter ego goes unchecked…they could put up monster numbers!

    1. Not sure if you saw my reply on the last thread, but I agree about Kaep’s potential under Chip. He might just become deadly again.

      Btw, 68.3% ain’t bad! Just sayin.

      1. I will quote that great sports philosopher A. Iverson: “We’re talking about practice!”*

        *In case anyone wonders this applies to all QBs equally though I’m glad to see them doing better than last year. May it translate into game time.

  3. Interesting comments WRT Smelter…Matt Maiocco was saying he’s been looking good, & he had a nice burst after receiving the ball…and you’re saying he’s slow. Which is it?

  4. – “Robinson pinned Smelter against the sideline and ran him out of bounds.” Could that be a “good” for Robinson? For a guy so skinny, he seems to be very physical.

    – Nice to hear Jeff Driskel is emerging as the clear #3. He might be too good to risk hiding on the PS.

    – I’m not against some under center plays. Might as well take advantage of the new-ish beef on the O-line. Not sure if stats back it up, but CK seems to do well with play action.

    1. Definitely good for Robinson. I downgraded Smelter because he didn’t fight for the ball just one day after not fighting for a deep pass that was intercepted. He’s supposed to be a physical receiver. He seems soft and slow.

      1. Soft and slow? A bad combination for a possession receiver. Give him a brain change with Burbridge?

        Also weird he’s dropping passes. His hands are huge, like baseball gloves.

      2. Baalke couldn’t time Smelter, but he estimated his ran about a 4.50 forty. His estimate was way off, or Smelter’s still having knee issues. Maybe he’s relatively faster in pads.

        1. He doesn’t have that gear to separate vertically. Robinson looked like he was jogging while running with Smelter down the sideline.

          1. I hope they use his size advantage underneath like a Brent Jones, and his blocking skills to accentuate the Zone Read.

          2. Robinson has twice been clocked sub-4.3 since high school. He’s extremely fast. He probably jogs against most of these WRs.

    2. 49ers.com is reporting that Driskel was a kick returner in today’s practice. He has worked as a punt protector in previous practices.

  5. Grant, was today’s shells and shorts planned or a response to recent injuries or fatigue?

        1. Tough to evaluate them. I asked Jim O’Neil today if he can evaluate the run defense in these practices. He said, “No, not really.”

  6. Grant with some of the best secondaries in the NFL in our division and on this schedule for you think there is any chance this passing does anything with these receivers?

    They are making our. Defensive backfield take it easy on them today but we won’t be so lucky when the season starts.

  7. Well, Watt is out and Brock has not lit it up, so the Texans are not at 100%. Still, in every play, there is an offensive good play or defensive good play. Better to develop offensive timing, Sync and chemistry if the defense has dominated.

  8. I know Tartt is just coming back. But has there been talk about finding ways to get him on the field? i.e the hybrid LB role like Arizona uses?

  9. Glad to see the list of the Not so Good small and Lewis is probably only a camp arm. Also three QB’s on the good side of life that’s a plus.

  10. When Quinton Patton is the best receiver for two days, someone should be fired. These updates make me think this is what it must be like to be a Jets fan, a Jaguars fan, or even a Cleveland fan. There are two QBs who aren’t starting caliber, a bunch of no name WR surrounding one established and highly paid receiver, and the position coaches would struggle to coach a D1 team.
    I still think the team wins 11 in 2016. They are just going to do it with lots of NFL help and good teams having bad injuries.

    1. So continues the vitriol against Patton. He’s nowhere near as bad a WR as some people want to make out. He’s a pretty good backup WR to have. He just hasn’t been the quality starting WR some fans have decided he needs to become in order to be worth keeping. Not sure why. Always thought it was pretty laughable how many people were saying the UDFAs would beat him out. I guess it could still happen, but so far none of the UDFAs appear to have done much, which is no real surprise.

      And being the best WR over a 2-day stretch of camp means nothing other than he’s looked good for 2 days. At times in any team’s TC the best looking receiver may be anyone, even guys that don’t end up on an NFL roster. And who knows, it may even be a sign he’s elevating his game?

      1. In my opinion, Patton’s best attribute is his running ability after the catch. Reminds me of a running back. The straw that broke my camels back, was when he made a catch and then sat down on the player with a pose. He needs to quit the bone headed mistakes and channel his emotions into his play on the field….

          1. That is a rather foolish comparison Grant. Patton is entering his fourth season as an NFL WR while Smelter is technically a rookie. Comparing the two is like putting Jared Goff up against the accomplishments of Peyton Manning.

        1. Yep, I agree. Patton is undisciplined, and can make the critical error at the wrong time. Do not know if the Niners can afford such a liability.

          1. Yeah, they’d be better off with lesser talent just to make sure a few silly penalties aren’t committed.

            1. Yeah, they’d be better off with lesser talent just to make sure a few silly penalties aren’t committed.

              Having lesser talent or a player who makes bone headed mistakes usually have the same result: they kill drives.

              1. Maybe more disciplined players will lead to a more disciplined team.

                Granted, Patton can make plays like blocking a punt for a TD, but he also wiped out a long gain and killed a drive with a personal foul that may have cost them the game.

              1. Exactly. This team can’t afford to be getting rid of players for less talented ones.

              2. But if they are equally talented, the more disciplined player should be retained.

                I just see the talent level being close, not wide apart.

        2. I know I am in the minority, but I feel his enthusiasm is also a positive. Yes, he gives away some boneheaded penalties, and he needs to cut those out of his game. But my understanding is he is something of an effervescent character which can provide a lift to those around him. Having guys like Patton in a locker room can be a very good thing.

          1. I’m with you on this Scooter. Not sure if Patton is a great talent and if one of the young players can supplant him then great, but I do think he has great energy and his enthusiasm is infectious. If he could be more consistent I think people would leave him alone.

        3. 04/25/2013 – DANE BRUGLER’S FINAL 2013 DRAFT BOARD: 42. WR Quinton Patton, Louisiana Tech (6-0, 204, 5SR)…Although he doesn’t look like much physically, Patton has the foot quickness to create after the catch and always seems to be playing fast but under control. – Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com

      2. Agreed on Patton’s potential. I think he is pretty good with speed and unique catching ability. He is a passionate player and makes some crazy good catches when given the chance. He just may be a break out player this year. He has an opportunity and I think he knows he needs to seize the day. Watch out.

    2. I was thinking at least 8-8 and a possiblity of winning 10 games if we start fast and split the first four games. I like this team. I like Kelly.

      I believe we will surprise the rams and shehawks this year. Our D under JH could be the Shehawks and Cards but our Offense could not score.

      1. I have the 49ers starting slow. 1-3 after 4 games wining only in week one against the Rams.

        Then the next 4 could be wins against Buffalo, TB, and NO and a loss to Cards. That’s 0-2 in the division if you are listening.
        Finish off the last 7 and there is a possibility of going 3-4 if you see good or 0-7 if you see bad, and top 5 pick.
        I say the 49ers go 7-9. Chip changes his ways and we have a top 10 defense and getting better.
        Year 1 rebuild of 3 in da books!

        1. I’d be happy with that. If it were a solid 7 wins, that would mean definite improvement over last year under a new system. But I can’t think anything about them now until they play a spate of real games. Granted there’s reason to be optimistic about all phases of the defense and the oline, but I learned last year that optimism is no forecaster of success. And then there’s the passing game. If one of these QBs doesn’t improve dramatically, the team will never be better than average until they are replaced with someone really good.

          1. I take the last sentence back. If their defense became great, then the team could reach playoff-caliber, but that’s a pipe dream in itself.

            1. Good to see you back, George.
              Agree, baby steps on expectations.
              1st OTS and MiniCamp reports, then TC reports. Preseason games. Then weeks 1-5 as a reality check. The coaches probably feel the same.

              1. Thanks, Brotha. Glad to be able to post today. These days my time is limited, otherwise I might post more.

              2. Oh friend. I’ve faced a challenge or two, that’s what I hear. Best wishes and look forward to your skewers going forward.
                Who loves you, baby?
                A whole buncha us bruh.

  11. WRT Smelter, remember Brandon Marshall ran around 4.75 coming out of college. He may lack that Overdrive gear but could still be effective. To Grant’s point though, if his deep speed doesn’t scare anyone, he’d better be able to win some jump balls.

    1. It also needs to be taken under consideration that Smelter only has two years of football experience under his belt, so he is behind the eight ball.

  12. Hall of Fame ceremony starting now. In the discussions I noted a lot of what is being said about Harrison sounds similar to our own Jerry Rice. Great conditioning, so strong in 4Q. Precise routes that all looked the same coming off the line. Fierce mental focus. Set the tone on the practice field. Lead by example. Fully committed.
    PM stated that Harrison never once tapped out of a game in his long career.

  13. Now I understand its only practice but I’m beginning to feel a little more positive about this years team. I was feeling pretty positive about both the O and D line coming into the season but had serious questions about the skill positions especially QB. Now after reading Grant, Miaocco and Barrows camp reports I’m beginning to feel a little more positive about the WR’s, DB’s and QB’s. It also sounds like Kelly is trying to make adjustments to both his system and style. So maybe they will win more than 3 or 4, I still believe that 7 or 8 wins would be very very difficult but hope springs eternal.

    1. Maybe, Coach. Everything is relative, though. Every position group that is being graded is being graded against the opposing group – but they are all 49ers. I still don’t have much feel for how this team will stack up against other NFL teams. We probably won’t learn much in preseason either.

    2. Coach, with AD coming back to solidify the right side, and the emergence of the Twin Towers, the Niners may be on the road to recovery.

      If Kaep continues his redemption, and a healthy Hyde, the Niner offense will be scary good. I am so optimistic, I think that with the regression of the other teams, the Niners can come storming back.

  14. 49ers had some late team meetings today. Looks like they might have a bunch of pro bowlers.

  15. I haven’t seen Bryce Treggs mentioned. Is he still in camp? If so, what’s the word on him?

  16. Loved Mr. D’ HOF acceptance speech. Great story about being blocked by a police on a horse from seeing the “Catch.”

    Great seeing the NFL HOF’rs give Eddie D, a standing ovation on his comment that today’s owners should be more family minded.

    Also, was Jed anywhere in the audience or was this event not important enough to clear any schedules?

    1. Amazing. TJE’s no shrimp. I call Buckner, Dial, Armstead and TJE the “4 bat downs.”

      1. Baalke gets a thumbs up for drafting height at the Dline unit. R.Wilson in Sea town is not gonna like D Buck and Big Arik at 6’7 twice a year!

          1. To me, Chip was the one who insisted on Buckner. Otherwise, Baalke might have traded back to acquire more picks.

            Buckner, being from Oregon, and recruited by Chip, seems logically to be called a pick by Chip. I even think the Garnett pick was another Chip choice.

            Obviously, after those 2 picks, it was pure Baalke, since they chose an ACL player and a player with red flags.

            1. Seb,

              Yes, of course, anything good is by someone else, anything bad is by Baalke. Got it. And, no, I don’t love what Baalke has done overall, but he’s nowhere nearly as bad most think.

              1. Yep, you’ve nailed it there ex. Baalke is responsible for all the bad draft picks, but had nothing to do with tbe good ones. True story.

      2. If they don’t bat the ball down they will change the trajectory of the pass. Forcing the QB to put more air under the ball could result in more interceptions. I am really excited to see this defense perform. Hopefully O’Neil is putting these players into the position to excel.

  17. Lenny Jones picked up off waivers by the RayDuhs. Another short commute for the local guy. Good luck dude.

    1. Aw-www … too bad.. Brotha ..
      I was kinda hoping the Niners could
      bring him back and ..
      stash him on the PS

  18. Sitting down with a cup of Joe, I wish to surmise about any new wrinkles in the offense.

    I hope Chip shows every style of play so the other teams will have to game plan against all the myriad options. I hope they run some power formations, and not just Zone Read. The Niners should run the I, have Hyde 5 yards back so he can build up a head of steam and hit the hole, or maybe bounce it out where ever the defense is weak. I hope they use BM in a traditional fullback role. Fly sweeps, counters, misdirection, quick slants and screen passes should be incorporated into the game plan.

    I hope they run the Pistol at times, because that would be playing to Kaep’s strengths.

    Niners should shape the defense and stop them from stacking the box by spreading them out with 4 wide, and attack the edges. Once the defense adjusts, they should gash them up the middle.

    Niners should not let the defense shape them. When TM said that their goal was to contain Kaep and keep him in the pocket, the Niners should respond by rolling Kaep out to the left, because TM said that they game planned to stop the roll outs to the right.

    Niners should take advantage of the defense’s speed by starting to run right, let the defense flow to stop that side, then cut back to the left. Then do it the other way.

    Niners should show reverse by putting a man in motion, read the defense’s reaction, then attack where the defense does not expect them to attack. Maybe they should run the reverse, make the defense adjust, then fake a reverse.

    Chip finally has 2 mobile veteran QBs, so he should utilize both. Add in multiple laterals, and the defense will become discombobulated, and the Niners will put them on their heels because there are too many options to cover. If the Niners manage to make some big plays, it will frustrate the defense and make them tentative.

    Chip said it would be a competition, so that may extend into the regular season if both QBs are close, and there is no clear cut winner. Both Kaep and Gabbert should advocate that they will decide who starts with a coin flip, and that QB will start until the team has to punt or there is a turnover. As long as the QB leads the Niners to a score, he gets to play. This way, Chip will be rewarding success. Eventually, either they trade off, or one QB starts to dominate. It is a good thing to have both QBs be familiar with running the offense, instead of one sitting, and building no chemistry on the field with the playmakers. If the starting QB gets injured, then the backup will have to go in with no reps. Granted, it is rarely done this way, but Chip needs to think outside the box, and become more innovative.

    I hope Chip thinks 2 moves ahead. He should invite the blitz, then target the area the blitzer left. Chip should study last year’s Steeler and Cards games, and see how they did that to the Niners.

    With Chip Kelly leading the Niners, I hope they get back to their West Coast Offensive roots, with Chip throwing in some wrinkles from his Oregon Playbook.

      1. Seb,

        Nice concise breakdown of the offense. Interesting read. At least, right up until I fell asleep at the start of the eighth chapter, er, I mean, paragraph.

  19. Peripheral topic:
    I read Trent Richardson’s comments yesterday about how part of his career problems were due to his own lack of focus due to distractions from his posse, Who helped him burn through all his assets. It got me to thinking about the expectations friends and family have of their share of an athlete’s big bucks. “$10,000 here, $10,000 there….”
    Why those expectations? ‘I know you, you’re rich, so you can pay my bills.’ What?
    In my twenties I shared a house at the beach with a couple of roommates. Life was good. One guy had a job, something with computers. He got recruited up to Silicon Valley and went from a Beach Hippie to a 6 figure salary in two weeks. Good for him, he’s long since retired.
    OK, but we his roomies never thought he owes us anything. We threw him the going away party and wouldn’t let him contribute. His GF, now wife, told him she hoped they made friends like us in Santa Clara. We never asked him to pay our rent. What is up with that?

    1. BT – I agree in general. I’m always shaking my head at the excuse making, lousy money management, and bad decision making, with players blowing millions. Funny and tragic at the same time.

      I think there was a ESPN 30-for-30 on this. There are lots of conditions that siphon money from rookie players. Not excusing, but to diagnose a bit…

      Nature Hates a Vacuum – Imagine a players entire family tree living at or near poverty level. Many have lots of brothers and sisters. Mom gets a house. Dad a new car (that depreciates as soon as its driven off the lot).

      Rookie Hazing – Vets go out to an expensive dinner, ordering bottle after bottle of expensive champagne. The bill is in the thousands. Make’s TK’s French Laundry bill look like a bargain. But some of these rookies are mid-late rounders. They just can’t afford it.

      Professional Friends – These are pros. They literally make a living befriending young athletes, draining their bank accounts in the process.

      Inflated Contracts – Football is notorious for wildly inflating player contracts. Remember when CK’s contract was first reported? “Guaranteed” is just a nickname.

      Speed of Life – Tomsula didn’t work out as an HC, but as a position coach and mentor to young athletes he knows his stuff. Its not just the speed of football, but the speed of life that often blows these guys out of the water. And the NFL sucks ate mentoring rookies. Remember the “fall guy” orientation Borland talked about?

      Stupidity – To contradict my above statement just a wee bit, I’m sure every one of those players that blew money were warned not to run out and buy expensive junk, but did anyway.

      1. I agree that the backgrounds are a factor. Spread around a little cheer, but where does it end? One guy’s contract does not mean his friends don’t have to work to support themselves.

      2. BT good story and you must have had a hell of a good time in those days living on the beach.

        I think what happens with a lot of these guys is they come from nothing and don’t know how to handle that kind of money. Family and friends coming out of the woodwork looking for handouts doesn’t help either. That’s why the agents for these kids need to set them up with financial advisors and/or put aside money for them.

        I’m guessing everyone remembers the Tyron Smith story. Great example of a kid standing up to the pressures and eventually realizing he needed to the cut the cord.

    2. Though a fictional series, “Ballers” on HBO is a great funny/sad take on the personal/financial lives of pro athletes.

    3. BT,

      Nice story, with a great moral: Better hit up your friends that make it while you can, before they move away to Santa Clara where you can’t get at them.

      That was your point, right?

      I hope you’re not still beating yourself up over that mistake.

      1. That’s why I left the east coast as a kid; not a good enough scammer or poker player to thrive in Beantown, NewYoik, Jersey or Philly! ; >)
        (there was also that hing about California girls…..)

        1. Yeah, BT, I have no access to the idea that gravy training off of a friend or family member who makes it is the way to go. Pretty gross.

          As for the girls here in Cali…I can see why you moved!

  20. Here’s a fun quote about how Driskel might impact fans during the QB competition from ninernation.

    “We’ll likely get a chance to see how Driskel looks against third and fourth string defensive players. I would not be surprised if he does some good things that gets folks irrationally excited about him.”

    1. Oh.. I dunno.. Wilson ..

      I was kinda excited about Lenny Jones … and..
      now he’s a Ray-Duh !

  21. sebnynah
    August 7, 2016 at 9:00 am

    I hope Chip thinks 2 moves ahead: The Niners should run the I, have Hyde 5 yards back so he can build up a head of steam and hit the hole,

    TomD: Seb, last time the 49ers ran the I-Smash 5X in a row, Jeremiah Trotter, the 265 LB Eagle MLB, stated: ” I knew what was coming, so buckled my chin strap and made the tackle…..

    Trotters tackle resulted in a Frank Gore Broken wrist!!!!

    Back to the drawing board WILEY E. COYOTE, SUPERGENUS, BELOW VIDEO


  22. To: Seb, Razor, and Rocket and KAP FANS.
    From: Matt Barrows

    “Quick, get out your decoder rings. The coach was asked what he looks for in a starting QB:

    Are they hanging on to their read; are they quick to move on if progressions 1-2 are covered;
    How quickly do they get to 3? It’s a timing based offense so these are thngs I look for.”

    The criteria seems to favor Blaine Gabbert…Matt Barrow


    1. Coach Harbaugh Verified account 

      Congrats to one of the all time greats in NFL history, Eddie DeBartolo. He understood what’s important, The team & the people on it! #HOF

  23. Hey Grant, I appreciate the good work you are doing reporting on training camp again this year.

    I’m curious if, in your opinion, there has been any separation in the battle between our stable of backup running backs? Perhaps it’s not important to determine who the “2nd string” RB is, as Harris and Draughn will likely both earn defined roles, but coming into camp, I envisioned the 49ers carrying 4 RB’s, with the depth chart as follows:


    GASKINS – Practice Squad
    DAVIS – Released

  24. Wouldn’t be a big football event w/o former 49er head coach, Jim Harbaugh, tweeting. On Sun. he offered up his congrats. On Sunday, DeBartolo’s focus was on family and treating every employee as such. He (Eddie) said the NFL could use much more of that these days.

    Given how Harbaugh departed the 49ers its not hard to imagine that their was a little shade in his tweet.

    Top 49er Hits (Reshuffled since last Ratings)

    1. Ripping off The Girls Scouts of America During Super Bowl week

    2. Ripping off Tim Kawakami by Jed not paying for his and his own wife’s bill.

    3. Reprimanding Coach H for taking the team off Levi Stadium Field’s initial practice for safety reasons, because Jed was embarrassed that the whose who from Silicon Valley we’re shown up by—How dare you–Gasp—A mere football coach not in their Billionaire Club.

    4. A possible law suit against 49er beat writer, Tim Kawakami for reporting the York’s/49er
    annual profits.

    5. Jim Harbaugh, on Sunday tweeting Congrats. to Eddie DeBartolo’s HOF induction’s family-style speech intimating that Jed the F/O are anything but family.

      1. I would like to add a runner up that bears watching:

        If the 49ers season starts badly, their has been reports of the York’s having to Sue their own PSL owners for breach of contract when they refuse to attend loser ownership games.

  25. One practice will not decide the 49ers’ quarterback competition. But Blaine Gabbert had a decidedly better outing during Sunday’s session, which was a long, fully padded practice that followed a light session on Saturday.

    Gabbert was 9-11 during the team periods, leading the 49ers on an eight-play drive in his final set of snaps. That drive culminated in a touchdown throw to Jerome Simpson along the sideline. Gabbert was 11-12 in seven-on-seven drills. Most of those throws were short,

    Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/sports/nfl/san-francisco-49ers/article94256092.html#storylink=cpy

  26. Hall of Fame game cancelled.
    Mike Silver said it best: “Are you ready for some football? No!”
    Poor field conditions causes cancellation.

    I always felt that this game was a recipe for disaster for the players anyway because they are being asked to play after one week of training camp.

    1. AES,

      I agree the game is a waste of time, but the teams involved open camp earlier than everybody else.

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