Chip Kelly: “All I learned is that they stand around better than we stand around.”


This is the transcript of Chip Kelly’s introductory press conference, courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers P.R. department.


CEO Jed York opening comments:

“Good morning everybody. Thank you for being here today. Thank you to our fans who are tuning in from home or a car or office, wherever you might be. The last time I was in front of you, we talked about how important this offseason is. We’ve been working tirelessly to get the 49ers back to championship form. The first big step is hiring the right head coach and I couldn’t be more excited than to hire Chip Kelly as the new head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. I want to thank [San Francisco 49ers general manager] Trent Baalke for leading a great search, bringing a lot of great candidates in front of us. I want to thank all of the candidates that interviewed for the job, thank them for sharing their thoughts and visions. Wish them all the best in their future endeavors. But, it was very clear to Trent and I that Chip’s vision was above the rest. It was the best fit for the 49ers. He’s going to be able to take us to where we want to go. I’m excited to see these two guys work in partnership and build the 49ers back where we need to be. Without further ado, I’m going to turn it over to our general manager, Trent Baalke, to introduce our new head coach.”


General Manager Trent Baalke opening comments:

“Thanks Jed. I appreciate everybody taking the time to join us today. First off, I’d like to echo a comment Jed made earlier with respect to the other candidates; it was a very talented group, I learned a lot through the process and really want to take the time to thank those individuals and wish them the best as they move forward with their careers. But at the end of the day, this was a fairly easy decision. It was evident early on in our conversations with Chip that he shared a very similar vision to us with respect to the direction of this football team. He’s a well-rounded, highly innovative coach with a proven track record of success at every level, at every level of competition including the NFL, identified as a strong leader of men and somebody that I really consider a true football guy. He’s driven, he’s passionate and the one thing that really came forward is his respect for the game, both past and present. I was really impressed by that through the process. All of that, along with some other things, made him the right fit at this time or anytime, to lead this program into the future. With that said, I’d like to welcome Chip up, the new head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.”

Head Coach Chip Kelly opening comments:

“Thank you gentlemen. I appreciate that. It’s really humbling to stand here as the 19th head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, to me the preeminent organization in the National Football League. There’s always been a statement I always thought about is that, ‘We can see farther today because of the shoulders that we stand on of the people that came before us.’ When you look at the rich history and tradition of this organization, it’s second to none. When you walk in down Bill Walsh Way, one of the, if not the greatest to ever coach this game and then go in the lobby and see the five Super Bowl trophies, you understand what this organization is all about. I got a chance to visit with Jed and Trent in this process and that’s what struck me the most. I had a great experience when I was in Philadelphia. Again, I want to just thank [Philadelphia Eagles chairman and CEO] Jeffrey Lurie for giving me the opportunity to coach there. I left an organization that had great people and meant a real lot to mean and were very supportive of me and I loved the players that I coached there. But, when you have an opportunity to do it again it’s can you be aligned with the people that are running the organization? And when I met Jed, I was just struck. I had never met him before and I looked at his track record and I understood he’s about winning. If you really look at the past five years, Jed and his family built the best stadium in the National Football League, they’ve been to a Super Bowl and they are now hosting a Super Bowl. I think Jed is smart. I think he’s aggressive. I just can’t thank you enough for entrusting me to be the head coach of this organization. Then when you talk about Trent, Trent is a football guy and I’d like to think that I’m a football guy. He’s a grinder. He loves the game. He loves everything about the game. I love everything about the game and I can’t tell you what a blast it’s been in the last two weeks, just talking football, talking vision, talking, ‘How do you see this, how do you see that?’ To be able to collaboratively work with someone like that in terms of building this team and getting us to the point where we can get a sixth trophy to put in that case out in front of 4949 is something that we’re going to strive for, we’re going to work towards together. The game of football is the quintessential team sport. It takes a collaboration on so many different levels for a team to be successful. It’s not just the 11 guys on the field, it’s an entire organization. And in the short time that I’ve been here, I’ve just been struck by the synergy that goes through this building in terms of how everybody is on a quest to win the Super Bowl and not just in a long-term facet, but on a daily basis. Again, very humbled and very honored to be here and excited to get to know everybody that’s associated with them and especially the Faithful. I’m really excited about that. The fan base here, we had an opportunity to play here last year, and just was struck about the great fan base they have here in San Francisco and can’t wait to get started.”


Can you talk about a little bit, obviously quarterbacks are a big part of the San Francisco 49ers history and just in your time, what have you been able to evaluate in terms of QB Colin Kaepernick and what is he going to need to do to flourish again?

CK: “I think specifically when it comes to quarterbacks, or any other position here, it’s an ongoing process and evaluation. I’ve had a chance to meet Kap, he stopped by the facility the other day. Part of the CBA rule is you’re not allowed to discuss football with anybody until April 4th, so it was just a hey, how are you, get to know you. I’ve talked to him a couple times on the phone. I also met [QB] Blaine [Gabbert]. I talked to Blaine on the phone. Blaine stopped by to say hello. I think the process itself, we have a lot of time. We’re not going to be back out with any of the players here. [T] Joe Staley, I talked to this morning. [RB] Carlos Hyde stopped by. [LB] NaVorro [Bowman] was here the other day. An opportunity to talk to all the guys on the team just to introduce ourselves, introduce the coaching staff we have. It’s a process that we’ll go through between now and April 4th in terms of how we are putting this team together.”


Getting back to Colin Kaepernick, there have been reports that you were at least interested in trading for Colin at some point last year. Can you talk about that and just assess Colin Kaepernick? What have you seen from him coaching against him, perhaps looking at him a year ago?

CK: “I don’t know where that report came from, but we were very happy with Sam in Philly. In terms of Kap, I just know playing against him, he was very difficult for us to play against two years ago out here on this field. We didn’t play San Francisco last year, so I haven’t done a ton of tape study in terms of how he’s played. We’re in that process right now. The main thing for me right now is putting a staff together and then we will evaluate everybody on the roster.”

Before I ask my real first question, a week delay between hiring and press conference, why was that?

CK: “I’ve been known to run a really slow offense and I wanted to just kind of set the tone for how things are going to be here in San Francisco. Actually, I was offered the job last Thursday afternoon, I had no clothes. I just had a pair of sweats. Trent had visited me with Jed when I was in New Hampshire. They asked me to come back out and I asked them kind of, ‘What’s the deal?’ And, he said, ‘Just jump on a plane.’ So, I did. I really didn’t have any change of clothes and then also, the most important part for me was last Saturday was my dad’s 87th birthday, so I really wanted to get back home to see him. And Jed and Trent were great with that and I came back out on Sunday and we’ve been hitting the ground running ever since.”


So, you were out of a job for about two weeks. Did that time give you anything or a chance to kind of evaluate where things went wrong? How do you expect for things to be different here than maybe some of the missteps you made in Philadelphia?

CK: “Yeah, it did. I think I was in the process of, if you’re a coach, after every game you self-scout. After every season, you self-scout. What we did well, what we did poorly, how can we improve as a team? And, I was in the process of that. Really, I don’t think it was a self-scout to me probably, because I got fired I looked at it more of an autopsy. So, I’m in the middle of the autopsy right now. I’m still looking at it. So, I sent some toxicology reports out and we’re going to see when they come back. I’ll give you a full answer in terms of what went on.”


As I’m sure you’re aware, a lot of players when they left the Eagles were critical of you, indicated they didn’t have a great relationship with you. Jeffrey Lurie indicated, at least strongly implied that you had lacked a certain emotional intelligence. I’m sure that’s not news to you. Are these criticisms fair? Do they come as a surprise to you and when you talk about what you learned from your experience, is this something that you can apply to your second head coaching job in the NFL?

CK: “I think you always can apply what you learn from your experiences. But, you know, one of the things that struck me when I left Philadelphia was the text messages and calls I had from the players that we had there. It really meant a lot to me. And I’m not one that looks at what’s reported, what’s not reported. I’m a pretty black and white guy and when I talk about the relationships that I had with the players there and the many of them that reached out to me when this went down, I feel very, very comfortable in terms of my relationship with my players there.”


This is for General Manager Trent Baalke. Did you know or care about the emotional intelligence issue? Is this something you discussed with Chip? Is that something that you think is important for a Head Coach?

TB: “I’d have to look up the definition of that first. But, we talked about a lot of things. There’s perception and then there’s reality. And the one thing that I’ve learned, especially over the five years I’ve been in this position is that there’s a big separation between the two. The good thing, [senior personnel executive] Tom Gamble has had a chance to work with both of us. Obviously, everybody here knows my relationship with Tom. And I think Chip’s gone on record many times and spoken about his relationship with Tom. That’s a nice bridge when you have a guy that you trust and he’s able to basically give you the lay of the land with respect to the relationship that he had in the building in Philly and obviously knew me and how I operate and had no doubt that we’d have good synergy. It was evident early on, like I said, that when I sat in his living room, actually his dog Henry was sitting on my lap for about two hours of it. But, you know, we share a very similar vision. There’s always going to be times when that vision isn’t identical, but for the most part, we feel very good about the direction we’re taking and feel very good about working with each other. I know I do and, I don’t want to speak for Chip, but I’m sure he does as well.”


Two questions. What kind of dog?

CK: “Golden.”


Golden Retriever?

CK: “Yes.”


TB: “Sheds.”


CK: “Sheds a lot.”


My other question is I know you know former 49ers and current University of Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh well, both from your time in the Pac-12 and other things. How much have you learned about what went on with Harbaugh because you guys have very similar patterns in your career and are you comfortable that that, I mean, he won a lot here and yet he was deemed expendable. Are you confident that you can make this situation work?

CK: “I was confident in meeting with Trent and Jed about what the vision and focus of this organization was. I’ve got great respect for Jim. I competed against him when he was at Stanford. I competed against him when he was in the National Football League. I’m a big Jim Harbaugh fan and I know he’s having great success at Michigan. But, I think one thing all coaches know is we rent. We rent our locker spaces. We’re not going to be places for an extended period of time. You just have to do the best job you possibly can. If you go into a situation worrying about ‘Am I not going to be there next year or the year after?’ You’re probably not going to be. What you need to worry about is what’s going on today. I’m excited to be here. I’m excited to work with Trent. I’m excited to work with Jed. I’m excited to work with Tommy Gamble. I’m excited to work with [president] Paraag [Marathe] in terms of putting the best football team we can on the field.”


Do you see your team next season having a winning record and perhaps making the playoffs?

CK: “Well, that’s the goal. I don’t think anybody goes into the season saying, ‘Let’s get six.’ The goal is every single week to put your players in the position where they have the opportunity to be successful and then let them go play. But, I’m not a prediction guy. I’m not going to stand here and say ‘I guarantee this’ or ‘I guarantee that.’ There’s always long-term goals in terms of what you want to get accomplished, but I really think your focus has to be on the short-term goals and that’s improving on a daily basis.”


Can you just tell us where you are as far as putting together your staff and maybe what staff members were held over from last season and position coaches? 

CK: “Yeah. The only one right now that I could tell you is here is [running backs coach] Tom Rathman. You know, I think the history and tradition, and speaking with Tom, and then also understanding that I think Tom’s the best running back coach in the National Football League. It was very important for me to keep Tom here. I’m interviewing members of the staff right now along with some other guys. We’re hopeful within the next week we’ll have this wrapped up and then we’ll have announcements whenever anyone signs a contract. When they do, we’ll announce it as quick as we can and give you an opportunity to talk to those guys. We’re really right in the middle of it. We’ve had some interviews going on this morning, we’ve got a little bit of a break here, and then they’ll continue in the afternoon.”


What’s your take on the relationship, you know, with personnel decisions with Trent and making those, your say in those decisions? He said there were some mistakes made over the last year and it’s time to move forward.

CK: “I think everybody makes mistakes. No one has a perfect day, no one has a perfect season. To me, it’s just the lines of communication and are they collaborative in terms of where you are? You know, I wanted to be in a situation where I can just coach. I want to just coach football and I’m excited about being with someone like Trent and Tom and the rest of the guys in the personnel department that when I look at this roster and I look at, again, three years ago this team was in the Super Bowl. And they have some outstanding players, they have an eye for talent, they do a great job. You look at where they are in relationship to the salary cap, you look at where they are in terms of having 21 draft picks over the next two years, 12 in this class. They’re prepared for the future and it’s an exciting time to be part of that.”


Are you still as fully committed to the hurry-up, the up-tempo offense? And if so, what do you say to those who would say that based on last year’s, last season’s record with Philly that maybe the league is somewhat caught up with that?

CK: “I think we’re receptive to anything that’s going to help us win football games. And I know the difficulty that what we do offensively gives to defenses. We’ll look at anything. There’s always tweaks that you do, and we ran it differently in year two than we did in year one. We ran it differently in year three than we did in year two, and when we get a new staff together here, it’ll be a collaborative effort. I think our offense will look somewhat like we did in Philadelphia, but we’ve got different personnel to plug into places and we have different players, different coaches coming in from different organizations to add to what they can. At the end of the day, it’s how do we do it better than we’ve ever done before and I’m excited about that aspect of continuing to grow on the offensive side of the ball.”


It’s been written a lot that you like to read management-type books. I was kind of wondering how you would describe yourself as a manager and also, what kind of a guy are you?

CK: “That’s a loaded question. Well, I would say I’m a football guy first and foremost. I have kind of a quest and a thirst for just trying to improve. And I think you can. One of the things that attracted me is to coming to this part of the country, it’s probably the most fertile, creative ground around here when you look at the companies in Silicon Valley and the whole Bay Area itself, I’m excited to be a part of it. I mean, you walk to work this morning and you smell the air around here, you get smarter. So, hopefully that will teach us to get a couple more W’s.”


And about your management style?

CK: “I think I’m hands on. I think I lead with my feet not my seat. I think it’s important to be around. I also don’t micromanage when it comes to our coaches. I believe you hire the best coaches and give them the opportunity to go out and coach. You provide the framework for them of how things are going to work in terms of the training schedules and what we’re going to do, but then, I’m not going to be in individual position meeting rooms. I think that’s why we hired those coaches, to coach those positions and to train those guys in terms of getting them prepared for us to go play games. I’m not a micromanager by any stretch of the imagination.”


ME: Do you believe the read-option can be an integral part of an NFL offense?

CK: “Just so we can get going football-wise, the read-option has never been run in here. It’s a zone-read, first off. And I think when you have the right personnel you can. I know [Seattle Seahawks QB] Russell Wilson and [Carolina Panthers QB] Cam Newton are killing people with it right now. So, I think it’s applicable to who you have from a personnel standpoint.”


Your sports science programs seem to reduce injuries pretty effectively in Philadelphia but there are reports that a lot of players perceived it as intrusive, like checking up on their partying habits or whatever. Are you planning to continue with that? Like the daily urine tests, which I understand were for hydration, but there’s reports that some players thought, you know, 90-percent of workplace urine tests are for drugs or alcohol. And there are reports that some players felt that they were being checked up on. Are you planning to continue that and would you consider making it voluntary to try to win their trust?

CK: “Well, I think first off it’s not a test. It’s just to tell you are you hydrated enough to go out on the practice field so that you don’t pull a muscle. So, I think you’re just trying to put the players in a position so that they don’t get injured. I also think the narrative of the sports science thing probably got blown out of proportion. We’re just trying to prepare our players so they can be the best they can on game day. One of the things that really attracted me to this organization is they’ve been doing a lot of things that we’ve done in Philadelphia for a long time. It’s just they don’t get the notoriety that we get. For some reason, we got more notoriety than anybody.”


You mentioned earlier that you couldn’t communicate about football matters face-to-face with Colin Kaepernick. If you could, what would you tell him?

CK: “I would tell him I can’t because there are rules that we are governed by. So, we’re going have plenty of time with all of the players to talk football from April 4th on. So, it doesn’t help to say, ‘I’m going to put a message out.’ And if I tried to put a message out right now, we’d probably get in trouble for that. So, I’m going to not get in trouble and I’m going to wait until the 4th to talk football with Colin.”


Is there anything that you would want your players to know about what kind of coach they’re getting in you?

CK: “Yeah, and that’s why I’m talking to all of them personally.”

This was an offense that ranked in the bottom of the league in both yardage and scoring for most of the season. I’m wondering how close or far away personnel-wise is this team from embodying the vision that you want it to have?

CK: “Until you see them on the field, you really don’t know. You’ll get an understanding when you look at film, but I’ve always, you need to see guys live. You need to see guys running around and then there’s always someone that you kind of saw them on film and you’re not really sure about and then you see them in person and you’re like, ‘Wow. This kid’s really special. There’s something to him.’ So, I would reserve all things and judgment on anybody until we get out on the field. Again, there’s a ton of time between now and we’ll look at every game, we’ll look at everything we have on our players and have a feeling of where we are. We’re really excited to get out on the field and the offseason programing and get rolling with them.”


You’ve used the phrase ‘football guy’ a couple times already to describe yourself. I’m just wondering what that means. I’ve heard you described as extremely intelligent, but sometimes anti-social and borderline crazy about the game. You seem sociable today.

CK: “Thank you.”


But, I’m interested what exactly does that mean, a football guy and do you have to be borderline crazy obsessed to do this? What’s your philosophy or how do you feel about that?

CK: “I don’t know where the borderline crazy and that part comes in, but I have a passion for the game of football and I have great respect for this game. It’s a special game. It takes a special person to play it and to coach it and to be a part of it. Just how the game itself was setup with 22 players and the amount of work you have to put in just to be successful one day. In that preparation, it’s unlike any other game that’s out there. I’ve always just had a passion for the game of football. I’ve just been fortunate in my career in that there’s been so many people that I consider football guy’s that have kind of taken me under their wing, that I’ve had an opportunity to learn from and I have great respect for them also. So, one of the unique things is when I was let go in Philadelphia to be at home and get a call from [New England Patriots head coach] Bill Belichick or from [former NFL head coach] Tony Dungy or from [former NFL head coach] John Gruden or from [former NFL head coach] Bill Parcells or from [former NFL executive] Bill Polian. It just, it made me feel good that there are people in this game that truly care about where the game is going and what this league is all about and what direction it’s heading in and telling me, ‘I hope you stay in the National Football League.’ So, that meant a lot to me and I thank those guys and I want to publicly thank them for the support. People like [University of Alabama head coach] Nick Saban. I was home in New Hampshire and Nick asked me if I would come down just to watch football. And I had nothing to do with them playing Clemson or I didn’t give them any insight into playing Clemson. But, you hear things about Nick Saban being those words that you said, but I’ll tell you what, the classy maneuver on the Tuesday before their National Championship game to invite me down to Alabama to just spend some time with him and him to take 45 minutes out of his day during that week to talk to me about his experience in the National Football League and what it’s like to coach at Alabama and just share some thoughts. I think we all kind of gravitate towards each other and I think one of the things we do is we all love the game, have a passion for the game and we want to see it played and done the right way.”


A critique of you in Philadelphia was that your offense was so fast paced that it put a lot of burden on the defense. Is there any merit to that? How do you respond to that criticism?

CK: “Well, I think everybody wants to just paint whatever it is with one brush. I think you have to look at really the intricacies of it. We get into the time of possession question and we’ve been in games where it was identical play snaps for us and our opponent. It was identical yardage for us and our opponent. It was identical first downs for us and our opponent. We won the game by seven, but they had the ball for 10 more minutes than we did. So, all I learned is that they stand around better than we stand around. It’s still plays run. I’ve also never met a defense player that says, ‘Coach, I want you to possess the ball for the entire game so I don’t have to play.’ I want guys that on the defensive side of the football of the San Francisco 49ers can’t wait to get on the field and embrace the opportunity to get out there and play. And when you have a bunch of guys like that, it doesn’t matter. There are going to be weeks when we’re going to win games seven-to-six and there are going to be weeks when we win games 57-56. It takes a full team. This league is built on parody. 55-percent of the games are decided by seven points of less. 24-percent of the games are decided by three points or less. So, you better be good in all three phases of the game if you expect to be successful in this league.”


I know you say you don’t read the media and all that, but this is a position that’s prestigious, the San Francisco 49ers coach is something. What did you learn in Philly to help you be ready for this and all the pressure and being out front and being the face of a franchise like this?

CK: “Well, I guess the correlation of being a leader and being the face of something, I don’t know how reading media makes you better or worse at that. I guess my point on that is that I’m not governed by the fear of what other people say. I have conviction in terms of how things are supposed to be done, the collaboration that has to go on within the organization for you to be successful. And if there’s going to be a critic of that because they don’t agree with it or they don’t understand it, then I can’t change. I can’t take a pulse of what everybody feels like and say, ‘Hey, let’s do it this way because the public perception is it should go that way.’ I think you have to have a belief in what you’re doing, have a conviction in terms of what you’re doing and then go do it and see if it’s good enough against the other 31 teams in this league.”


Circling back on Sacramento Bee reporter Matt Barrows’ question on defense. The stat was that I think your defense had to play three extra games based on snap counts because of the speed of your offense. So, is it just an inescapable part of how you run your offense and if so, is that just what the 49ers are going to have to get used to?

CK: “No. I think it’s a byproduct of a lot of things, but one of the things is we have to be better in situational defense. We have to be able to, on third down, to get them off the field. Sometimes there’s not a correlation between you give up a third-and-17, it’s because the offense ran plays too fast. It’s third-and-17, we’ve got to get them off the field. So, part of it is taking some ownership in all three phases of the game and you have to be good in all three phases of the game to be successful in this league.”


Last year, I was reporting outside the county jail on something completely unrelated and about four or five people approached me and said, “Which Niner is it this time?” Your tolerance, sir, on off the field troubles by some of your players?

CK: “I believe it’s a privilege to play in the National Football League and that with that privilege goes responsibility and no matter who you are, whether you’re an employee, a coach or a player, you should cherish the honor to play in this league and understand that your actions off the field will affect you on the field. There are laws in this country for a reason and we need to adhere by those laws.”


I wanted to ask you a little bit about how you might handle us in terms of ability to watch practice? Also, will your assistants be available to us at times? I wanted to get your feeling on those things.

CK: “Yeah, we allow or I would allow it as long as it’s good with the rest of the people in the organization to watch practice during individual drills as we’re getting going and then as we get into the team stuff, that’s kind of protocol I think in the league. And then, our assistant coaches are available to talk. There’s no muzzles on those guys.”


At Oregon and Philadelphia, did you call plays from the sideline? Do you have your offensive coordinator call plays and what do you expect will be the situation here?

CK: “I’m going to call the good plays and I’m going to have the offensive coordinator call the bad ones if I can. No, I call the plays from the sideline. And I guess the part of that is, we spend so much time as an offensive, defensive staff or whatever during the week game planning for that game that we’ve all called plays. What we’re running in our first third-and-short situation has been discussed ad nauseam during the week in our preparation. It’s not like I’m just pulling something out of a hat in those situations. So, it’s a situation game. We practice things situationally, but I will be the guy on the sidelines calling the plays.”


A couple more quarterback questions. When you were talking to the 49ers, in your mind specifically, was Colin Kaepernick an attraction for you or was it just one of other players on a roster and not that big of a deal to you?

CK: “No. Obviously, Kap is an extremely talented football player and you need to have a good quarterback to win. But, I was also impressed in the film that I watch in terms of how Blaine played this year also. So, I think statistics will bear out you probably need two quarterbacks in this league with the injury rate that quarterbacks have. So, I think both of those players made this an attractive situation.”


And to clarify, I know there’s some gray area here, but Trent has control of the 53? What’s your input going to be on the personnel and would you specifically like the quarterback situation to be in your hands, as I understand it was largely with Harbaugh and Trent previously?

CK: “No. Trent has control of the 53 and I’m real comfortable with that. I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t. I think the way this personnel department is set up and how they structure things, I’m excited to be a part of it.”


Once again, you mentioned that you can’t see the players until April 4th but there’s a big decision regarding Colin Kaepernick on April 1st whether the team wants to retain him for another year or not. As he is undergoing rehab right now for three injuries, how are you going to assess if that is a player you would like to remain on your roster and do football rules prohibit you from talking to him about his rehab over these next few weeks?

CK: “Well, his rehab is being run by [Vice President of Football Operations Jeff Ferguson] Ferg and out athletic training staff. And any type of injury situations, I always defer to them. I’m not an expert when it comes to any injuries and they’ll give Trent and myself feedback in terms of where he is and how he’s recovering. I talked to Kap a little bit about it. I think he’s headed back to Colorado right now to continue his rehab. He seems like he’s on pace in terms of what he said he is, but when it comes to anything from an injury standpoint, I’m not a doctor. I’ll never weigh in. I always defer to the doctors in terms of where players are from a rehab standpoint.”


But, you won’t be able to get him on that field possibly on April 4th. So, how do you and Trent work on that assessment then if he will remain on this roster next year?

CK: “We’ll work through everything. Again, the rules aren’t going to change. So, we can try to say we’d like to get him on March 4th but it doesn’t work that way. And we understand the rules of engagement that we’ve been handed. There’s a process that we’ll go through in terms of not only evaluating the quarterbacks and I understand that that position is so prominent, it is for everybody in the National Football League. But, there’ll be decisions made on everybody through the course of these next weeks as our staff gets put together and we get a chance to evaluate the current players on the team. We have free agency, we have the combine, we have a lot of things coming up on our plate.”


Can I follow up with Trent on that? Is April 1st a date that you need to look at in regards to Colin Kaepernick? Is that a concern for you?

TB: “I don’t think I can give you anything, a better answer than coach just did. Everything’s under evaluation as coach mentioned and we’re going to take a hard look at this roster. The number one thing is getting a staff in here. Once we get the staff complete, then we can sit down. The guy’s that are on staff already are already sitting down and going through the evaluation process. That will continue over the next couple of weeks and then we’ve got free agency, we’ve got the draft to get ready for. There’s a lot of things coming up in a hurry and we’ve got to get to work on them.”


Chip, you mentioned you’re a football guy. Trent’s a football guy. Trent’s also known as a former NFL head coach Bill Parcells guy. You mentioned Saban, you mentioned Belichick, you also mentioned Parcells. When you got down and were sitting and talking with Trent, did you find that you had a lot of common ground, you share kind of a football philosophy and if so, does some of it stem from Bill Parcells?

CK: “I think it does. I was fortunate with coach when I was at New Hampshire and he was the head coach of the Patriots that I could go down and visit Patriots training facility and visit with the staff when coach Parcells was there and I have the utmost respect for him. And I know Trent has a great association with coach Parcells also. That’s part of, as I said earlier in the introduction, is I think we see the game the same way. I think we have a philosophy that’s similar. Now, we may go about it somewhat differently, but I really do believe we’re on the same page from that standpoint.”

This article has 121 Comments

  1. Grant – Can we see a little humor out of you being taught a lesson by Chip Kelly during today’s presser of Zone read vs read option? Did you misspeak or not understand what you were asking him?

    1. Lowell was so embarrassed by that question he accused Kelly of being touchy and didn’t mention that Grant ask the question. Lowell referred to “some reporter” as the question asker.

  2. According to Wiki it’s the same thing:

    The most popular running play employed in the spread is the read option. This play is also known as the zone read, QB choice, or QB wrap.


      1. Dont double down, Grant. You should have done your homework and read what Chip has said many times.

            1. Grant,

              My making a bad prediction (which you took out of context, naturally – so very Grant of you) doesn’t change the fact that you weren’t prepared yesterday. It also doesn’t change that fact that you can’t take responsibility for your own shortcomings and mistakes.

    1. If you know about Chip Kelly’s past and had a nice little spat with Bruce Arians about it…. He has explained it many times:
      Kelly, who has components of read-option in his spread offense, noted the difference between read-option and zone-read and said his offense is more diverse than the public might think.

      “I don’t think [read-option] is an offense,” he said. “I think it’s a play. And we don’t run read-option, if you want to get really technical. We run a zone-read play every once in a while.

      “It’s just like saying our offense is a power offense because we run a power play, or the old Green Bay Packers, their offense was the Green Bay sweep offense. It isn’t. Everybody’s got a bunch of plays they run offensively. Everybody’s got quick game, everybody’s got screens, everybody’s got drop back, everybody’s got out of pocket, everybody’s got power, counter, inside zone, outside zone. I never looked at it as an offense.”

      Asked to describe the difference between the two offensive concepts, Kelly said the zone-read involves scheming around one defender, often the opposing defensive end, to create a numerical mismatch.

      “Zone-read’s just one guy. You’re reading the defensive end or whomever and keeping it,” he said. “If you’re running read-option, you’re pulling it off the hand, and then you got to pitch back with you and then you’re pitching the ball.”

      1. Nicely done. It’s so refreshing to have a coach who can actually speak intelligently at a press conference.

    2. Hey, at least Kelly set the record straight so that when reporters ask questions specific to certain plays they use the right terminology.

    3. Grant may have not done his homework, but it looks like everyone missed that Kelly couldn’t decide whether he played against the 49ers last year or not.

      The fan base here, we had an opportunity to play here last year, and just was struck about the great fan base they have here in San Francisco and can’t wait to get started.”

      We didn’t play San Francisco last year, so I haven’t done a ton of tape study in terms of how he’s played.

  3. Grant got poned. He should have asked my question- Do you think that the up tempo offense will keep the defense on the field longer than if you go 1 for 13 in third downs success?
    At least that would have gotten a laugh.

    1. Seb,

      Is it possible to stop using your underwood?…

      (redirected from Poned)

      Some believe it came from a common typo of the word “own” when typing too quickly “I own you!” On a QWERTY keyboard, the “o” and “p” keys are next to each other.Some believe it came from a common typo of the word “own” when typing too quickly “I own you!” On a QWERTY keyboard, the “o” and “p” keys are next to each other.

      1. TrollD, you obviously are not a gamer. Poned is perfectly acceptable. It derives from an ancient game called Mahjong. My nephew uses it all the time when referring to crushing the opposition while playing various video games.
        Try to sound a scintilla more intelligent by just shutting up and letting the more knowlegeable people post in peace.

  4. All I know is the CK initials shorthand is going to confuse the readers of many a post here and other Niner forums. At least until after April 1 ;)

  5. Oh, oh – trouble in Wolverine paradise?

    At least 3 high profile commitments have pulled out of the their Michigan football commitments in the last few days.
    Mr. Harbaugh, you got some ‘splain’n to do.

  6. I actually didn’t see the press conference but I was listening to the webzone podcast last night and they were clowning on Grant and his Pops for asking those questions. From winning to the ‘zone read’, Chip was a razor blade. Not their finest hour…

      1. Sounds like it. It seems like you could hear a whoosh sound as the butts began to tighten after his response. “You think you know, but you have no idea and you never will.”

      1. Grant

        Don’t do that. The Tomsula Era is over. You don’t know more about football than Chip Kelly.

        1. Kelly has won seven of his last 19 games in the NFL. Winning percentage of .368. Tomsula’s is .353.

          1. The foundation of Kellys’ offense is the inside run. Power play. It all starts there and every complimentary play like bubbles, p/a and the triple option. Even the OZR is dependant despite part of the foundation as well….

              1. Grant, it’s the Green Bay packers power sweep. You know it’s coming, and Chip doesn’t care. Right between the guard and the tackle….

              2. No one pulls, the comparison is they were the foundation of both teams. Everyone knew the Packers sweep was coming, but Lombardi cared not. Same with Chips IZR. He wants the ball in his running backs hands and he wants that play, but it all depends if the DE sits or follows….

              3. No DC wants to see a quarterback running for real estate on their back side, so they’ll get stretched to ZR on one side of the offense and a simple dive play on the other. If the DE isn’t blocked on the backside of the play, the blocking responsibilities shift over from one player to another on the play side. It’s the old hat on a hat Grant!

              4. Pretty simple play for NFL defenders to stop when they’re prepared for it, which they are these days. Just have to honor their assignments.

              5. It’s not easy to stop when you get that extra blocker on the play side. I’m telling you Grant, it’s straight ahead blocking on most of Chips’ IZR’s. Quote Coach Kelly, “We want to get off the ball, and be a physical, downhill-running football team. We want to come off the ball, create a double-team, knock the crap out of the defender, and deposit him in the LBs lap. Yes, Yes, Yes, a thousand times, Yes!

              6. Chip needs strong physical lineman that can count to six. Martin better get to work in the weight room….

              7. Chip is counting on the defense knowing where the ball is going and their overreaction. The hole created is where the running back can cut to for a big play. It’s tough to defend the entire los, not to mention the ancillary plays that spin off his IZR….

          2. Why on earth are you choosing only his last 19 games? So strange. You get really weird sometimes. It took me 2 minutes of research to learn what Kelly himself believes is the difference between R-O and Z-R offense. You could have done some homework before his initial presser. Now you’re saying that you were right and Kelly was wrong, and to back yourself up as someone who knows more about football than both Tomsula and Kelly, you’re trying to say Kelly is only marginally better than Tomsula, which is ludicrous and laughable, and undermines your credibility on any subject under the sun, because it proves that you will stoop to the dishonest level of citing selective statistics that tell a false narrative under all objective perspectives.

            1. The NFL adjusted to him and he didn’t adjust to the league’s adjustments. His answer shows how stubborn he is. It’s a passing league and he wants to run the “zone read” as the core of his offense. No wonder no other teams wanted him.

              1. Wow!!! You really are the biggest hater on the planet. Do you, Grant. Discount Nick Foles’ 27-2 ratio. We are lucky to have you. So much intrigue.

      2. Not in Kelly’s mind. He’s had this conversation with people before. That is where you should have done your homework. Not a big deal anyway. Everybody’s just giving you a hard time.

              1. So what was your reasoning behind using a term he didn’t see as meaning what you believe it does?

              2. He knew exactly what I meant because everyone uses those terms interchangeably. By using the term “read option,” I elicited a visceral response which revealed more than any rote answer he would have given.

              3. His response revealed how committed he is to the play. It’s his baby. It’s the foundation of his offense. His fastball, not his changeup. At least that’s how I interpreted him.

              4. Ok, it didn’t seem like you intended it that way, but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. Either way you did get a non canned response so that was good.

              5. ‘I made myself look like an idiot in order to generate a visceral response.’

                Your ego has never shown such pliability. Give me a break. Was that your dads tactic as well?

              6. I don’t understand. Anyone who’s done homework on Kellys’ offense should know this. What was your point?

              7. The only reason he had diminishing returns is because he did not have the threat of Bradford keeping the ball….

              8. Grant, if your strategy was to make Chip seem like the smartest man in the room, you succeeded in a spectacular manner.
                Glad you took one for the team. Shows you can take a hit.

              9. People who ask questions for a living would understand Grant’s purpose in posing the question the way he did. The interrogator should suppress his/her sense of self in attempting to elicit responses; only the response itself is important.

              10. I have also heard from the jurisprudence field that one should never ask a question without knowing the answer beforehand.

              11. No Problem. I admit to having asked intentionally “dumb” questions on cross exam in order to elicit particular responses. Opposing witnesses like thinking they are smarter than the attorney asking them questions – it can lead them to be less careful in both the content of their answers and the manner in which they provide those answers. I imagine it can be the same for reporters.

              12. That is a best practice, Seb. But sometimes, the content of the answer is far less important than the manner in which it is answered.

              13. Honestly, tho, Grant, I can’t wait for your next spectacular column on the obvious failings of Coach Kelly! I can just see it now: “Chip Kelly is married to his own world-view of football, and is therefore doomed! The 49ers are doomed! And I, Grant the Great, am the only guy who could turn the feeble-minded Chip into a visceral wasteland.”

              14. I find that intelligent questions provoke intelligent responses from intelligent people. In this case it was a stupid question that illicited a predictable response from an intelligent person. It’s not a courtroom, it was an introductory press conference. Kelly isn’t some idiot lying to a prosecutor; he is a HC with years of experience dealing with the media. The results were predictable and lazy.

              15. JPN, I could see how you would use that tactic in a very effective manner, but this was not a cross examination. One should realize that Chip is a very astute individual, so trying to trip him up is futile and counter productive.
                I knew beforehand exactly what Chip would say because he said the same thing many times before.
                Grant should just have asked one of my questions. – Do you think that the up tempo offense will keep the defense on the field longer than if the offense goes 1-13 in third down conversion rates?
                At least that would have gotten a laugh.

              16. Just because a response is predictable does not make it less telling, nor is the attempt to elicit it lazy. Further, the setting is immaterial. Interrogating is interrogating.

                Chip handled it poorly. He snapped when he should have chuckled, and corrected where he should have taught.

                Go to youtube and find Bill Gates’ 1998 deposition videos (13+ hours worth). There is a smart man who was not lying who still could not help himself from coming across as an arrogant, deceitful, manipulative SOB. And that attitude hurt him in the case (the web browser anti-trust case, for those who do not remember), just as Kelly’s seems to have hurt him in Philadelphia.

      3. Why don’t you tell him during a press conference that they actually run a 4-3 and see how that plays out on television.

          1. Glad you read his first Eagle presser so you did not bring up the 3-4, or 4-3 dichotomy.
            Should have brought up Hayne to make a whole continent happy.

      4. Zone Read is an offense. Read option is a play.

        While we are at it, will the defense be a 3-4 or a 4-3 Under?

        1. Jack

          Was that a visceral response you just had?! Were you just SO invested in it? It sure looks like you’re out of your depth. Stay in your lane, Coach!!!

            1. My non-visceral response was that Kelly came off worse in that exchange. He had the opportunity to teach but instead opted for being dismissive and condescending.

              1. Funny, my perception was that Grant did not shine.
                Guess we just have to agree to disagree.

              2. And there was no reason for him to act that way. I asked a neutral question. He’s defensive on that topic.

              3. It is not Grant’s job to “shine” – it is his job to obtain a response. The response he received is telling regarding the attitude and personality of the person responding. Did not Sun Tzu have a suggestion along these lines?

                “If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.”

              4. And don’t get me wrong – I have had my own dismissive and condescending moments. I attempt to learn from them, and I try (but do not always succeed) to explain rather than correct.

              5. Or Chip had been briefed on Grant Cohn and he a response based on the one you were trying to elicit….

              6. JPN,
                That’s because Grant didn’t ask the question in an intelligent manner. He asked it in a manner that would provoke an emotional response, which Kelly saw coming. Would a defendant be considered arrogant for being prepared for a certain line of questioning, or would he simply be ahead of the curve? Grant could have gotten Chip to expand upon his answer by not playing stupid with him. That answer would have been much more informative than the response Grant received. He just looks like a tool for asking the question in the manner that he did. Maybe that was his intent. Whatever.

              7. “He had the opportunity to teach but instead opted for being dismissive and condescending.”

                Completely disagree with this. He clarified the terminology then answered the question. He even pointed out examples to support his position. Far from dismissive.

              8. Please do not bring up Sun Tzu, sir. Posters get mad.
                May I counter with another saying- Choose your battles wisely.

              9. Maybe we can both agree that it was a teachable moment. You derived subtle lessons from the exchange. I thought Grant got schooled.

              10. I do not see that Grant chose any battle at all. But if we want to call it that, he did not do so unwisely. Kelly’s response was far more revealing of his attitude than nearly any other during the press conference. From an interrogator’s perspective, that was a successful question.

              11. “He did not teach – he corrected. There is a difference.”

                True, but the question wasn’t about the difference between read-option and zone read. The question was whether or not it is viable and he answered that question. The correction was merely a clarification and IMO not condescending in the least.

              12. Razor,

                It took me a few years of teaching to really understand that correction is the result desired, not the method to get there.

              13. Grimey,

                Kelly should have made the distinction regardless of how the question was asked. His response in this instance was noteworthy because it did deviate from his manner of responding to other questions. In others, he is jovial and even self-effacing. None of that is present here. He becomes pedantic (not the same as teaching), needing to correct first before explaining.

              14. Razor,

                As I am not a government official, I am a counselor, not a councilor.

                Now, that was a correction, and one that was pedantic and more aimed at scoring my point than teaching.

                A better way would have been to say that the two words are a problem for many people, then provide a means for recognizing when to use the right one (such as think about it as a lawyer providing counsel whereas a government official may sit on a council). Interestingly, in Old English (Late West Saxon) the term ‘wita’ would have been used as both, but the Latin-based words we use today are separate in their meaning.

              15. Counselor, may I be bold enough to suggest you employ that same quote I postulated. Please do not defend the indefensible. Grant got poned.
                Chip did not have to teach. He corrected a poor question. It made Chip look like the smartest man in the room. Thought the media was trying to make him look like Tomsula.
                Grant can use all the convoluted logic in a vain effort to spin it his way, but he should just stop shooting himself in the foot. I admire your deliberative and passionate defense of Grant, but it falls on deaf ears. Grant will not be looked up to by his fellow media types. They will only be glad that they were not the one who asked such a poor question, and got that response that did not allow Grant to shine.

              16. Yea Grant, next time give us a heads up prior to your ingenious plan. Gives it a little more credibility….

              17. Means a lot coming from a gentleman who’s IQ is probably 100 points higher than mine. In 11th grade I used to hang out with this guy named Les Kistler. His dad was a doctor, and Les was smart as a whip. He was a chess master at the age of 16. His skin was pale white and when I’d say or do something to embarrass him or get us in trouble, his cheeks would glow like Santa’s. I used to get him to play chess on paper in physics class. I wasn’t a good influence, but it was really fun making him laugh….

            2. “Would a defendant be considered arrogant for being prepared for a certain line of questioning, or would he simply be ahead of the curve?”

              Defendants are almost always prepared for any line of questioning if they have counsel worth anything. It is how they respond to the questioning that is at issue, and emotional responses (or better put, responses lacking situational-awareness and/or emotional intelligence) are telling.

              Chip being prepared would make how he chose to respond all the worse. However, I do not think he was prepared. He answered the questions for which he was prepared in a much different (perhaps more rehearsed) manner.

              1. The question itself lacked situational awareness. First of all, Kelly isn’t on trial. He doesn’t have anything to hide. He isn’t a defendant. He’s a football coach. They don’t care about reporters. Their interests lie on opposite ends of the spectrum. He was asked a stupid question and responded in a manner that made Grant look like a fool for asking it and made himself look smart for answering it.

              2. And yet, Razor, he went off his nice-guy script here. Perhaps he was prepared and still took the bait, rather than not being prepared. One is a lack of planning, the other is more concerning.

            1. I agree Jack, that dude sounded like he had no business being there and Grant just sounded ill prepared….

  7. Until Walsh had Montana, his WCO didn’t look that promising. Since Montana, nobody has ever run it as well. Once Kelly gets his Montana, those who don’t yet buy into his system will.

    Go ahead, Chip, double down.

  8. Awesome! It just keeps getting awesomer!!! Neither Nick Saban nor Bill Belichick are in their right minds when they talk football with this football ignoramus. Chip Kelly is exactly the same as Jim Tomsula! I knew it!!!

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