Kelly on Gabbert: “Look at that ball he threw to Celek. That’s as good a throw as you’re going to see.”


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


Any word on LB NaVorro Bowman?

“No, NaVorro’s in, I think he’s still there, he’s getting an MRI right now, so they sent him over this morning. Have not gotten any updates on his status.”

With DL DeForest Buckner, I know it’s the same thing, but do you know what his injury was?

“He has a foot injury.”


No update on his status then?



When you go back and look at what happened yesterday, what kind of stood out to you?

“I thought from a positive standpoint, we got out to a great start offensively. Two straight drives, get down the field, score, get out to 14 points. We got into a couple long situations on the next drive that set us back. The sack actually hurt us. Whenever you get behind the stakes that much, trying to convert ends up being difficult from that standpoint. Came back in the second half, had a really good drive down in the red zone, but came away with three instead of another touchdown there and I think that was disappointing to us. Really it was an interesting game. There was only 10 drives on each side of the ball, which is kind of low. And then, we just didn’t convert when we got a chance after our defense made a great stop in the red zone. Held them to a field goal down there, made it a seven-point game and then got the ball down the field and then just didn’t convert on the, missed on the third-and-six on the throw to [WR Jeremy] Kerley and then on fourth-and-six they played man but dropped a couple extra guys out underneath, did a good job. Good call by them on their part and really didn’t have anywhere to go with the ball. They kind of had everybody doubled on that side.”

You mentioned yesterday that a couple of your receivers on the outside were grabbed. Obviously it wasn’t enough to warrant a penalty at least in the estimation of the officials out there. But, was it good defense?

“It wasn’t enough for the officials to call a penalty.”


LB Aaron Lynch, is he cleared to come back today?

“Yeah, he’ll be practicing today. He goes into, I think he gets a couple, what’s it called?”


It’s an exemption.

“Exemption. So, he’ll be back at training today.”

How has he looked just from the reports you’ve heard from the training staff?

“They said he’s really done a great job working. We’re excited I think to get him back and get a chance to start working with him again as coaches. He’s been available to do everything except be on the field with us. So, he’s been around and we get to see him and according to [director of human performance Mark Uyeyama] Uye and the guys in the strength and conditioning room, he’s done a great job when he’s done, with his workouts with them. So, he’ll be a welcomed addition today.”


Is it reasonable to think that he could play Thursday or would he need a warmup?

“We’ll see. Again, I haven’t seen him, but I think from what they’ve said he’s worked extremely hard. So, we’re hoping we can get him on the field on Thursday.”


Will that be predicated if DeForest is available?

“No, because they play different positions.”

Aren’t they both outside though? They play different sides?

“No, DeFo is a defensive lineman and he’s an outside linebacker.”


What do you need to see from him in these–?

“Just where his conditioning is and how he feels. Kind of figure out if he is ready to play, how many plays can he play? Kind of just see where he is, but he’s in-tune. One thing about him, he’s a really intelligent football player. So, from a mental standpoint I don’t think that’ll be an issue, but obviously the speed of the game and things like that are obviously something that you can’t simulate when you’re out. So, he’s got to catch back up to that.”

What will he bring to the defensive side when he does come back?

“Obviously, he’s a very talented player. I think the ability to set the edge and to rush the passer from the outside and that’s something that I think we’ll need as we continue to move forward here. So, I think those are the two things we’re really looking forward to.”


If NaVorro is out for an extended period, would the dynamic we saw yesterday, LB Michael Wilhoite and LB Nick Bellore be what you go with or could there be other combinations?

“And [LB Gerald Hodges] Hodgey in there and then [LB Shayne] Skov will back up the other MIKE position. If NaVorro is out for this week or an extended period of time it’ll be really those four that you will see in there. Bellore, Wilhoite, Hodge, and Skov. Those are the four we’ve got.”


And Wilhoite can play MIKE and WILL. Hodges plays WILL, Bellore plays MIKE and–?

“And Skov’s got to play them both. Whenever, and it’s just like any position, I know we’ve talked about it before, whenever you’re the backup you have to be able to play multiple positions just because we just can’t say ‘Hey, two guys are down, Shayne can’t play because he doesn’t know how to–,’ real smart kid, Stanford kid. He can play both positions.”

But also, can’t you fit it so that Wilhoite and Hodges play together?

“Yeah, we could.”


Because I thought you had said previously that Wilhoite had been cross training?

“Wilhoite has been cross training. I said we could. That’s a possibility.”


ME: How late will you stay at the facility tonight and how long is a typical work day for you?

“We’re here, I mean, we stayed here last night. I think everybody slept here last night. So, we’ll probably be close to the same tonight. Just, that’s just the nature of what you’ve got to do on a short week. So, I guess they think because we don’t have to do anything on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, we can catch up on sleep then.”


In talking to your players last night, they said obviously the first quarter they showed what they can do offensively. They just were unable to finish it. They hurt themselves. When you look at the film, is it lack of concentration, lack of technique or–?

“No. I don’t think it’s a lack of concentration. I mean, I think we just, again, we had the ball down in the red zone. I thought we had a really good drive to start the second half and got the ball down inside there. We had a mental mistake on a play where we thought we had it, it just wasn’t blocked up the right way that we thought it was supposed to be blocked up. So, there was a mental mistake on a player, but not a concentration issue by any stretch of the imagination and then we’ve got to make a play on the pass. I think we had an illegal procedure penalty that knocked us back and made it a third-and-long. I think we were in third-and-medium, if I can recall, and then we had a five-yard false start. So, we moved back to a third-and-deep there. So, again, sometimes those penalties are the things that kind of hurt you. We only had five on the day, but I think they were very glaring the five that we had.”


And then the disparity, you were seven-of-seven on the first third down conversions and at the end of the game, you weren’t. Was there anything different that Dallas was doing defensively that you weren’t able–?

“No. It was the same thing. It’s just you’ve got to make plays when your number’s called.”


Now that you’ve taken a look at the film, can you take us through that long pass to WR Torrey Smith that ended up being an interception?

“Yeah. Torrey did a nice job on the route. I think [QB] Blaine [Gabbert] said it yesterday. He just, he kind of, he was behind him in the throw and he needs to put the ball out in front of him. So, he just missed on the throw.”


You had also mentioned after the game you thought he played pretty well except for that one play.

“I did.”


Do you still believe that?

“Yeah. I mean, you look at that ball he threw to [TE] Garrett Celek. That’s as good a throw as you’re going to see in this league. I mean, if I was coaching on the defensive side of the ball for Dallas, I don’t know what to tell [Dallas Cowboys LB] Sean Lee. I don’t think he could be any closer in coverage to him and to put the ball where he put it is the only place he could put it. I thought he did a nice job in the decisions. We’ve got to block some things a little bit better on the perimeter in the run game. I don’t think our guys did a good job and helped him out there. I thought he made some good decisions in the run game, but we didn’t block up the guys that were coming who were responsible for the quarterback. We’ve got to do a little bit better job on that but that’s not Blaine’s issue. I thought he put the ball on people. I think he found [WR] Quinton Patton a couple times inside there. I thought there was a couple blitz looks where they brought an unblocked guy off the edge. He threw the hot throw to Kerley. They brought another guy off the edge. He threw the hot throw to Celek. So, I thought he did a good job from that standpoint.”


On some of those keeps where he keeps it and makes it to the corner but isn’t going to get back to the line of scrimmage–?

“Yeah because he’s reading the defensive end.”


Do you ever teach him to just throw it away?

“No, because we have linemen downfield, because it’s a run play. So, you can’t do that.”


The fourth-and-six, did he have another option?

“Not really. Like I said, they did a good job of clamping down on the two guys that were going deep, the backside in. But, he got flushed and got sent over to his right. So, really, Torrey was supposed to come back underneath, come back inside, but when Torrey saw him flushed and go to the right, he stuck his foot in the ground and broke back out with the quarterback like he’s supposed to do but we just did get it deep enough to get to the sticks.”


How come Torrey hasn’t produced more through four games? It took until the fourth quarter to get a target his way.

“Again, a lot of it just depends on how people play us and what they’re doing. We’ve gotten a lot of man coverage out there. Sometimes people are leaning safeties towards his side. So, we’re taking advantage of what’s going on. I think we knew going into the game, we thought the matchups inside were going to be beneficial to us. Obviously, you look at where Kerley was and the job he did on the nickel. [Dallas Cowboys CB Orlando] Scandrick was out, but [Dallas Cowboys CB Morris] Claiborne and [Dallas Cowboys CB Brandon] Carr were still in. So, we thought we’d attack the nickel a lit bit more and that’s what we did and that was kind of our game plan. And if it wasn’t the nickel, then it was the tight end on the safety. So, sometimes it’s just how the matchups go in a game.”


DL Arik Armstead has mentioned he might need surgery after the season. Is that shoulder injury something he just has to play through?

“Yeah, I guess so. I mean, I haven’t really talked to him specifically about that. I know he’s been cleared to practice and cleared to play. So, I haven’t sat down specifically and talked to him about that.”


Can you tell he’s dealing with something just in his performance?

“I just think he’s missed a lot of football. So, that’s what I kind of look at it as. You know, he missed an extended period of time in camp. He was playing really well and then was out. This is a sport you have to practice and you have to train at. It’s very difficult just to take time off and then go out there and expect him to play at an extremely high level that he’s capable of playing because of his athletic ability and what a good football player he is. So, I think he’s just coming back into that right now, to be honest with you.”


ME: Just to clarify, you spent the night here along with your assistant coaches last night?

“Yeah, I think so. Some of them may have gone home, but I didn’t.”

This article has 49 Comments

  1. I’m not sold on Chip Kelly’s simplistic, precision based offense and I definitely have buyers remorse concerning O’Neil. Where’s that receipt?

    1. I agree…at this point I’m along the lines more with Lowell, I’m not seeing the advantages of letting Jim Tomsula go. Part of my reasoning was that turning over an entire staff of coaches sets you back. We’re seeing all that now. Blaine really liked and improved under the wing of QB coach last year. Mangini is great on Defense and I was shocked that Chip didn’t keep him on but it’s probably a threat to his ego to have another ex-headcoach. This offense is learning and we’re so close. This team can’t afford momentum swings or turnovers. That horrible call by ref’s on Defense for late hit was BS since there is no way players could hear that whistle.

      What I love about Blaine is he doesn’t throw lots of INT’s. Unfortunately he had a wide open shot to win game much like in Chicago last year and he failed…so it goes. With Kap it would be a mess & of course Bennett from SEA wants to see Kap in there so that LB & Safeties can juice there stats on the back of Kap who will gift wrap it for them.

      1. Gabbert has thrown an interception the past 2 games.

        I think Bennett is just being truthful, and I would take his assessment over any blog poster.

        1. Chip Kelly answered this already, you can look up his comments regarding that the last game. Good to know the coach is focused on the details unlike you, who maybe got up to grab a beer from your fridge and turned around to see only the worst part of the play…..but missed how that WR totally let it through his butterfingers & that has nothing to do with Blaine’s pass. This game against Cowboys, he owned it and it’s obvious, he flubbed that one bad. So really he has one INT (even though it shows as 2)

          That’s 2 games where we prob have 2 wins (maybe) V-Mac dropped a would be TD in Carolina (which he has done his whole career), if Blaine hits this throw at home, we prob win this game.

    1. Sucks for this Man among boys. Suddenly makes the idea of taking a MLB during the draft seem prescient…

  2. “On fourth-and-six they played man but dropped a couple of extra guys out underneath, did a good job.”

    Yes Chip the Cowgirls did a good job. The played man and took away your short of the stick routes with zones. You are so predictable. At least you admitted to being outcoached by Garrett.

    1. If you rewatch the play you will see that none of Gabbert’s receivers had any separation except Smith, and I think Smith was the only one not beyond the 1st down marker.

      1. Yep,

        The WRs have had trouble getting separation all year. It’s an easy call for Garrett to call man coverage and a couple of zones at the marker.

        Gabbert rolling out left him with less options to throw to. He doesn’t have enough arm strength to throw across his body. It would have been nice to have a WR run a 10 yard in route from the left side.

        Outside of Torrey our WRs aren’t good enough to get separation on vertical routes against man coverage. They need to do one or two moves to get open.

      2. It did not matter if they had separation or not. It would have been better if he had thrown a jump ball, because throwing short of the sticks is just obtuse.

        1. A jump ball would have gave them a chance to convert for sure. Maybe Blaine was gun shy after his terrible pick. It’s time for Kap or Ponder.

    2. Biggest mistake on the play imo was Gabbert bailing so quickly. He could have stepped up instead of rolling to the right and would have had more options.

      1. Sorry Rocket.

        I didn’t see your post when I started typing. I wasn’t trying to piggyback on your take. BTW, good call.

      2. Rocket,

        Agreed, Staley was beaten initially, but recovered and took his man down. There was no other rusher coming from BG’s left. He would’ve had all day to throw, had he stepped up.

  3. This season is already worse than last year after only 4 games. Trent and Jed for the sake of the franchise please step down!

  4. Grant was there a specific reason for wanting to know how much time Kelly spends at the office or just curious?

    1. Grant just wanted to show that he knows how to use a non sequitur as a literary device. He ask for confirmation to illustrate it to anyone who might have missed his humor the first time.

      He also illustrated how useless it is to expect meaningful answers to questions at a post game news conference a day after a bad loss. One example might be “Why were Dallas runners able to drag multiple tacklers for an extra five yards so often in the second half?”

    2. Just wants to know how serious Chip is about winning.

      If he went home, it would be conceding defeat, and not caring if they won or lost.

  5. Well, 4 games in I can say that the team is unlikely to win too many contests. With the linebacker group as thin as it is it will be tremendously hard to stop runners from getting into the secondary. That will make for long days no matter who is on offense.

    Tough days ahead fellas…

  6. I hate this for Bowman. He is a great 49.

    With his loss we are going to have the ball run down our throats every game until we show we can stop it, but I don’t think we can.

  7. I think it has been demonstrated that you can not run a continual hurry up offense in the NFL. Over the course of the season the Offensive Lineman lose weight and wear down. Also, it seems to me that we have rarely, or ever, been in true hurry up offense this season. If so, what is the value in not huddling up? The qb has a head set, but the other players must get the play from hand signals on the sideline, this must limit the selection of plays available. Right now I am not seeing an upside to abandoning the huddle.

    1. Well, being so incompetent that they cannot run the hurry up offense with quick snaps, is not a good sign. Especially if they want to get a play off before the 2 minute warning.

      It is interesting to see Chip go from not wasting at least 15 seconds every play to having the players nonchalantly dithering away and staring at the side lines.

      Sounds like he lost the blog post debate with Baalke.

  8. And look at the crappy throw to Torrey Smith who would have scored easily but instead was under thrown by about 5 yards and was intercepted

  9. Wow. Chip is defending the indefensible.

    Sounds like he is not as powerful as we thought.

    Looks like he is parroting the company line.

    Chip does not seem to be able to shift from the College game to the pros. He is way too stubborn, and cannot make the proper adjustments. He thinks he is the smartest guy in the room, but demonstrates a lack of football game management skills needed to succeed. Chip needs to get smarter if he wants to win.

    He also does not seem to get it. Defending Gabbert is like Tomsula defending Devey. We all can see how his play is hurting the team, but they will stubbornly stay the course over the waterfall.

    Gabbert did well for 2 series, but his subsequent play just makes me wish they would cut him on the team bus.

    They are a bunch of liars to say that Kaep is not ready, when we are given Gabbert and his putrid play, and they refuse to play Kaep, while Kaep says he is ready and willing to play.

    Guess Kaep is getting the RGIII treatment.

    Baalke is letting his emotions dictate his decisions. He hates Kaep so much, he would rather the Niners lose than play him. Well, if the Niners keep losing, the good thing is that Baalke is just going to fire himself.

    Jed better show some leadership, or the Niners will dwell in the cellar as perennial losers.

    1. Seriously?
      You’re asking why a coach defended a player? Because throwing a player under the bus is shown to improve team chemistry and moral.
      That’s not the way it works… simply put coaches defend their players to outsiders but light into them in behind the scenes. Lets stop pretending that what coaches tell the media is what they really think. I can think of few faster ways to lose a locker room than by throwing a player under the bus whether their play has been good or not.

      1. Defending a player when he sucks makes a lot of sense.

        Maybe they should not have stabbed Kaep in the back.

        Maybe they should not keep stabbing him in the back by refusing to play him.

        Maybe they are losing the locker room because some players want to win.

        Kaep lost his job because he needed 3 surgeries. There is an unwritten rule that once healthy, a player should not lose his job that he lost due to injury.

        Sounds like they are throwing Kaep under the bus.

        In fact, they are throwing the whole team under the bus. They are intentionally tanking to get a high draft pick.

        1. “There is an unwritten rule that once healthy, a player should not lose his job that he lost due to injury.”

          SMH. Tell that to Alex Smith

          1. Yup, but he then led the Niners to a SB.

            Tom Brady replaced Bledsoe, and played so well, Bledsoe could not win his job back.

            Gabbert is not playing so well…..

            1. Doesn’t matter, in your own words, a player should not lose his job that he lost due to injury. You actually are parroting Prime with that one BTW. He wrote the same thing repeatedly in 2012.

              As for Gabbert’s level of play, yes it is up and down…but once again you focus too much of the blame for the losses on one piece while missing the whole.

              1. Jack, I also said there are exceptions to the rule.

                Kaep, with his stellar play, setting a playoff record, and coming back from a 17 point deficit on the road, clearly played well enough to keep the job.

                Gabbert, with his 3 game losing streak, has not shined.

              2. That was an adjustment once your original comment was called out.

                Who is saying that Gabbert shined?

                Perhaps you didn’t watch Kaepernick this preseason? Was awful against GB and hit a few easy single read underneath throws against a bunch of grocery store baggers down in SD.

                2012 was a long time ago.

        2. Seb


          This is plagerism from when everyone was on Alex’ injury….I don’t remember you defending his injuries…under the bus ?…Kaep is a perfect fit….’Chip’ has explained it several times…you just need some fresh material to bitch about

          1. Ore, maybe posters will stop repeating the same old screeds, then I will not respond to them.

            By you parroting Blah, blah blah, you are guilty of repeating the same old thing, so maybe you should take your own advice and start thinking of something new to say.

            In Alex’s case, I was sick and tired of Niner QBs with weak arms who go 1-13 passes to his WRs and never threw it past 20 yards.

            You bet your bippy that I was jumping for joy when Kaep came around. Here, the Niners finally got a QB who could think quick on his feet since he ran the pistol. He could throw the ball the length of the field with a cannon arm, and could run like a gazelle. He put up 10,00 yards passing and 400 yards rushing, no small feat. Kaep could make those jaw dropping throws, and was deadly accurate on the run.

            Then, the troglodyte coaches decided that since the pundits intoned that Kaep would never be a great QB until he could deliver it from the pocket, they fell for their trap and said that they would make Kaep a pocket passer even if it killed him.

            It almost did.

            To be a successful pocket passer, one needs a pocket. Kaep was expected to perform miracles behind a line that gave him less than a nanosecond of protection.

            Now we have intellectual lightweights that cannot connect his errant throws to significant injuries to his shoulder and the thumb on his throwing hand. After he left to have multiple surgeries, they said he was a quitter, and should have played through it.

            Getting back to AS, I said that AS was his own worst enemy. He was so concerned about his passing completion percentage, he would rather.take sacks instead of throwing the ball out of bounds past the sticks. Guess what? a sack led to his concussion, which cost him his starting job.

            I thought he handled his promotion with grace and dignity, and praised him for being so classy. I applauded his trade, and wished him well.

            However, when AS does not make a TD pass to a WR for an interminable stretch, and tries to huddle up while running the hurry up offense, my assessment of him seems correct. Alex is a swell guy, an asset to the community, a good family guy and a good QB, but he has never achieved greatness, and may not ever. Maybe with better support, but AS just falls short, like Gabbert throwing short of the sticks. I do not care who can do it. If Joan in accounting could, I say let her start. All I know is Gabbert is a 9-30 QB, and keeps making the same mistakes. He must admit that he is hurting the team, or I will accuse him of being selfish, with an ego as inflated as Baalke’s.

            Baalke is the sole reason Gabbert is still playing, but Baalke may be on a short leash.

            Denise should be aware that they are talking about more banners, and publicly humiliating the Niners and her family even more. Since she is the real owner, and Jed is just a figurehead, she should put her foot down, and stop them by taking decisive action. Baalke should be kicked upstairs so he can save face, and gamble can take over. Then Jed, if he will publicly state that he wants to win, should be allowed to continue, and he can let the coaches coach.

            Denise likes Tomsula, so she should be decisive, get rid of the mistake that has allowed 466 yards per game, and bring back Tomsula. Tomsula built a D line that came close to not allowing a rushing TD or a 100 yard rusher. With the talent the Niners have, I have confidence Tomsula could do it again.They are paying him anyways, the record of 5-11 was Ballke’s fault, nit his, and it would atone for the classless mean spirited way they LEAKED that he would be fired before his last game.

            Niners have a chance, but only if they go bold. If they stay cowed by Baalke, and let him run this once proud franchise into the ground, they deserve banners.

            Thank you for giving me the chance to write something original.

      2. You said it.

        ‘ Because throwing a player under the bus will improve team chemistry and moral(e)’.

        Niners did that with Hayne by cutting him on the team bus.

        Niners did that when they told Kaep that nothing was wrong, and they should just ice his shoulder.

        Maybe Gabbert should admit that he is hurting the team, instead of clinging onto his job and being content to lose.

        ANY player should not be guaranteed a job after a 3 game losing streak. Especially if he is partly responsible for those losses.

        1. Couple of points.
          1. None of what you have said has any bearing on how a Head Coach deals with his players when speaking to the media.
          If Gabbert needs to be benched fine, that’s understandable… but calling him out publicly serves no purpose. It does however tell every player on the team that their coach does NOT have their back. There goes the us vs them or vs the world mentality, because now the players know their coach is not part of “us”.

          2. Alex Smith lost his job to Kaep due to an injury and the explosive play of CK in that stretch.

          3. CK lost his job because of poor play and then elected to shut it down for the season due to injuries that are typically played through (per independent doctors interviewed)

          4. If you’re going to replace Blaine, fine, I get it. But you need to do it in a way that allows Kaep to succeed as well. Bringing in Kaep on a short week vs an Az defense that he has thrown more touchdowns to than against in recent memory is good for him or the team how?

          1. Chip should not lie through his teeth about Gabbert. He comes off as a toady for the FO, and Baalke.

            Granted, Gabbert did well for the first 2 series, but that pick was a dying duck, and sealed the loss. Gabbert is hurting the team, and should admit that.

            Chip should have just said that while Gabbert played well, he could have played better. That, I would have believed.

            This reminds me of a man who is gets caught in bed with a woman by his wife. He says, “Do you believe my story or your lying eyes?”

            Oh great. Believe some ‘independent’ doctors who never examined Kaep. I will believe his surgeon who said there was a ‘significant’ tear.

            I believe in redemption. Kaep is hungry to redeem himself, especially after his last game against them.
            Gabbert lost to them, too, so why start him over Kaep?

            I just want the Niners to win. Kaep gives them the best chance to win, because he throws past the sticks, and is a much more dangerous runner. Gabbert has shown the world that he is a 9-30 QB. Now that Kaep is fully healthy, I expect he will take the league by storm, again.

            1. Labral tears to non throwing shoulders are typically played through. (see below)

              “In my NFL experience, quarterbacks with nonthrowing (shoulder) labral tears have finished the year and had offseason surgery,” said Dr. David Chao, who spent 17 years as the San Diego Chargers team physician. “This signals that there may be more than just medical that leads to this decision on the part of one or both parties.”

              I’m sure Big Ben or heck even Blaine Gabbert would quit if they had this injury… oh wait they played through it??? Then they must be exceptionally tough. Err Gabbert tough hmmm not sure that can be said. Maybe CK is just making a me decision.

              But I don’t understand why Chip would do this??? Didn’t he… what was it? Threaten to leave if Kaep wasn’t retained.

              1. So the injury to his thumb on his throwing hand did not cause him to be inaccurate?

                That doctor did not examine Kaep, so how can he make an educated guess? Much less diagnosis, without looking at the MRI.There are different degrees of severity of injuries.Maybe those 2 could play through those injuries, but then again, Gabbert was 2-22, so maybe he should have realized he was hurting the team and stepped back.

  10. Grant I think you’re on to something! When Kelly sleeps at HQ, there are no riots in the streets! I hope TB picks up on this.

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