Report: 49ers hire Jim O’Neil as defensive coordinator

The San Francisco 49ers finally have hired a defensive coordinator, according to Matt Maiocco of

O’Neil (37), has seven years of experience as an NFL assistant coach, and two years of experience as a defensive coordinator. He held that position with the Cleveland Browns the past two seasons. Under O’Neil, the Browns ranked 23rd in total defense in 2014, and 27th in total defense in 2015.

Do you like this hire?

Here is the 49ers coaching staff:

HC: Chip Kelly
OC: Curtis Modkins
DC: Jim O’Neil
QB: Ryan Day
WR: Bob Bicknell
RB: Tom Rathman
TE: Jeff Nixon
OL: Pat Flaherty
OL: Eric Wolford
DL: Jerry Azzinaro
OLB: Jason Tarver
ILB: Hardy Nickerson
DB: Jeff Hafley
ST: Derius Swinton

This article has 225 Comments

    1. Not sure the DC hire makes much difference if Chip doesn’t fix the offense. The single stat that will make or break the 49ers defense is the turnover differential. Presumably with more opportunities you would think a defense would have more take aways than other teams. That hasn’t necessarily been true with Chip Kelly’s defenses. The Eagles have had a negative turnover differential under Kelly. When your defense is already on the field more often than other teams then your offense needs to minimize turnovers and your defense needs to have take aways. Kelly’s offense led the league in turnovers last year and were tied for 2nd the year before last. He has to fix that or he will never be successful in the NFL.

      1. As we are seeing defenses are dominating the playoffs. Its helped Carolina with field possession and Denver mask an old tired QB.

  1. From Maiocco:
    “O’Neil entered the NFL coaching ranks in 2009 with the New York Jets, and served as assistant defensive backs coach for four seasons under Rex Ryan.”

  2. HELL NO,This is a BAD hire,the Guy is GARBAGE,should have just Hired Tarver…gee whiz Chip what the hell are you thinking?

    1. Hell no! This is an upgrade! Come on people, it’s simple math! Mangini’s D was ranked 29th in his season, O’neil’s was ranked 23rd and 27th in two seasons…albeit a depreciating upgrade… :-(

      CK2 and his crew may last three years…what a shame…

  3. Ok, doomsdayers, give O’Neil a chance. Given Cleveland’s offense was on the shaky side, the defense spent a lot of time on the field. The Browns played a lot of teams tough…mostly due to a stubborn defense. But, all that was in Cleveland…they weren’t getting a lot of support from their offense. Totally different situation w/Niners. Expect Kelly’s offense to put points on the board.

  4. Not an unexpected hire given that they’ve already pretty much filled the other coaching positions on the defensive side.

  5. I expect a lot more turnovers and sacks. But also some more struggles against the run and big plays given up through the air. Chip’s offense better be able to put points on the board…

    1. I’ll take the turnovers and sacks as long as the offense is rockin’ and rollin’. Sounds like quite a few of the Patriots teams. Opportunistic defenses that gave a great offense a few extra shots.

    2. Our run defense will depend greatly on the 2016 nfl draft. Baalke claims he uses the BPA approach when he drafts players. He’s drafted defense with his last 3 first round picks. Will that trend continue? Will he take the highest player on his board or will he draft for need? We need a nose tackle. Everyone is saying how good Ian Williams is, but if he’s so good, how do you explain the games against Cleveland and seattle, where we gave up over 500 yards on the ground. My opinion is that Williams is no where near the player Isaac sopoaga was in 2012, when we had a top 5 run defense. So we either need to grab a nose tackle in free agency like Gnata or Raji, or we need to take a nose in the draft, like andre.w billings or Jarran Reed.

      1. Baalke should draft o-line with the top pick, either OT Ronnie Stanley or Laremy Tunsil, if they’re available. But, I think Baalke – “at the end of the day” (his favorite phrase) – will draft UCLA OLB Myles Jack.

  6. Not suprised by this hire but also not expecting much to come from it either.

      1. Sorry, but I’m not a fan of craptastic defenses – especially where a strong defense is a must in our division. Gurley and Rawls are going to have lots of opportunities to pad their stats now.

      1. No. He was highly respected and was a DC for 15 years. He helped make the Stanford defense into a national contender. He was credited for coaching the Saints ‘Dome Patrol’.

        1. Not exactly true. Fangio was basically run out of Houston. His time here was an epic disaster. Many stories came out through the press that he pressured Dom Capers and Charlie Casserly to hire certain defensive players that turned out to be monumental busts. I was not happy when the 49ers hired him and I voiced it loudly on this blog and many people agreed it was a bad hire. Thankfully, I was wrong and he turned out to be a great DC.

  7. From Chris Wesseling of

    Mike Pettine’s right-hand man for the past half-decade, O’Neil oversaw defenses that finished 23rd and 27th in total yards the past two seasons. Last year’s performance was especially disappointing, as the Browns finished 30th in run defense amid rumbling that the players were frustrated with O’Neil’s scheme.

  8. How good was the talent on the Defensive side of the ball? The Defensive rankings don’t look all that good.

    To balance the defense with Chip’s offense Oregon had to platoon their front 7. That meant they had to have a talent pool that was at least 2-3 deep at all front 7 positions. Easier to do in college than the NFL, although Seattle managed to do it with their DE’s recently. That would mean Baalke would have to start drafting healthy players and sign FA’s that don’t have injury histories. Part-time pass rushers, especially those with some mileage on them, would work well. The team just needs a whole lot of healthy, skilled bodies.

    The question concerning O’Neil is how skillful would he be at managing everyone’s playing time. Could he, would he, put together cohesive platoons of front 7 players?

    1. Jay, this might answer your question. Quote is taken from SI’s Kevin Jones

      Recently, a number of players have told me what they believe is the main impetus behind the continual running-back beatings: The Browns have issues with gap integrity—football speak for jamming the holes between the offensive linemen—at all.

      Rather than being assigned specific gaps, Cleveland’s defensive linemen play different techniques based on how their offensive counterparts are blocking them. The linebackers, then, are expected to guess what technique their teammates are using, scrape through the resulting mess and make the play. Opposing offenses have identified this flaw on film and are repeatedly, week-after-week, gashing the edge of Cleveland’s defense. It’s a completely chaotic approach to stopping the run, and players have said—off the record—they’re spending way too much time thinking, and not nearly enough time reacting.

      “It’s an entire guessing game,” said one source. “Imagine trying to define mud.”

      Indeed, the defense may be too complicated for its own good—something the players have largely failed to address head on. Coordinator Jim O’Neil comes from the Pettine-Rex Ryan lineage, whereby part of the defensive philosophy is to cause pre-snap identification problems for quarterbacks and offensive linemen. It’s a scheme that flourished with the Ravens, Jets and Bills but has so far failed to yield reliable results in Cleveland.

      Simply put, the Browns are spending so much time figuring out ways to trick the offense, they’re leaving themselves little to no margin for error. If it means dropping linebacker Paul Kruger in coverage to fool Peyton Manning, despite the latter being a scheme-identifying genius, Cleveland will do it. In other words, the Browns are so worried about you figuring out their cards, they wind up putting certain players in the wrong position.

  9. Here are some numbers on O’Neil’s In his first season as defensive coordinator:

    O’Neil’s unit made significant increases in nearly every major defensive statistic, including red zone defense (29th in 2013 to fifth in 2014), third down defense (31st to 11th), points per game (23rd to ninth) and quarterback rating (16th to first). The team led the NFL in opponent completion percentage (57.1), opponent passer rating (74.1) and passes defensed (99). The Browns finished second in the league with 21 interceptions, the team’s highest total since 2008, while also finishing tied for fourth in takeaways (29). Cleveland’s defense also finished in the top-10 in the league in pass defense (fifth with 6.44 yards per attempt) and total defense (ninth with an average of 5.24 yards per play).

    1. And here are some more interesting numbers pertaining to O’Neil’s stops in NY and Buffalo, prior to landing in Cleveland:

      O’Neil spent the 2013 season as the linebackers coach for the Buffalo Bills. With Buffalo, O’Neil worked with the outside linebackers, who helped the Bills set a franchise record with 57 sacks, second-most in the NFL in 2013. The Bills defense finished 10th (333.4) in the NFL in total defense, after finishing 22nd (362.9) in 2012. Buffalo also led the NFL in opponent completion percentage (55.3), and finished second in interceptions (23), third in opponent quarterback rating (74.9), fourth in passing defense (204.4), sixth in yards per play (4.90) and tied for sixth in takeaways (30). O’Neil worked with OLB Jerry Hughes, who recorded a career-high 10 sacks in 2013.Prior to Buffalo, O’Neil spent four seasons with the New York Jets, first as defensive quality control/defensive backs coach in 2009 before serving three years (2010-12) as assistant defensive backs coach. While working with the Jets’ secondary, New York’s passing defense finished second in the NFL in 2012 (189.8), fifth in 2011 (201.0), sixth in 2010 (200.6) and first in 2009 (153.7). During his four years with New York, the Jets defense over those combined seasons ranked first in the NFL in opposing quarterback rating (71.0), completion percentage (52.6) and passing yards per game (186.3). The Jets defense yielded the second-fewest yards per game (294.8) and allowed just nine 100-yard receiving games from 2009-2012, fewest in the league.

      O’Neil helped CB Darrelle Revis to three (2009-11) Pro Bowls and three (2009-11) first-team Associated Press All-Pro selections. Revis led the AFC and finished third in the NFL with 21 passes defensed in 2011. O’Neil also worked with CB Antonio Cromartie and SS LaRon Landry, who were selected to the Pro Bowl following the 2012 season.

      1. I like this hire……. a lot!

        Let’s face it. Cleveland is a dysfunctional organization, top to bottom. So we need to keep that in mind while evaluating O’Neil’s 2 years as Cleveland’s DC.

        1. “Cleveland is a dysfunctional organization, top to bottom.”

          So he should fit right in then.

        2. That’s like saying we should take the disarray of the Browns organization when talking about head case Manziel.

        3. 49reasons…good… no, GREAT post

          awful lot of bitching and bellyaching going on …these are your cards….play ’em ! sometimes we have to wait for winners….’til then…shut up and deal…I’ll take three

      2. Sometimes stats need some context. Granted, the passing stats are down, but that could be because teams did not bother to pass when they could run on them.

          1. Niners left their bigger, stronger and faster RB on the practice squad because they felt sorry for the Browns, and played their couch potato cut PS players.

  10. He fits what Kelly wants in a DC which is why he got the job. Kelly wants an aggressive defense that will try to force turnovers and O’Neil comes from that mold. He started in the NFL with Rex Ryan, then followed Mike Pettine to Cleveland. He is going to bring an aggressive pressure defensive mentality. The question will be: do the Niners have the horses to make it work?

  11. Mike Shula is doing with Cam/MVP what Chip was supposed to be able to do in the NFL

    Brian Baldinger

    I don’t know if this a swipe at Chip or maybe he’s getting on the Colin/Chip wagon.

      1. It’s not a swipe at Kelly. Just an understanding that Chip never had the right QB in Phili, and a recognition that Cam, who is the type of QB who would excel in Chip’s system, has now been proven to be nearly unstoppable in the NFL, based on his ability to run the zone/read concepts to perfection.

        Look at the results. The 2 best QB’s at running the zone/read in the NFL, have represented the NFC in 3 straight Super Bowls, and should be 2-0 in the past 2 Super Bowls (barring one epically stupid play call), and looking for a 3rd straight Lombardi Trophy.

        BOTTOM LINE! If you have a QB who can run the zone/read the way it’s supposed to be run, and you have an offense like Kelly’s, built around the zone/read, and that strength, It’s currently the most offensive system in the NFL.

        Kelly system uses the inside zone/read and outside zone/read to set up situations where there are more blockers than there are defenders. His offense is going to be built around the run, and we’ve seen just how effective it is when you have QB’s like Newton and Wilson, who can take advantage of these schemes.

        I simply cannot understand why every single Niner fan isn’t over the moon with excitement in anticipation of Chip Kelly’s offense with 2 quarterbacks like Kaepernick and Gabbert, who can run the zone/read so effectively, and a RB in Hyde who has a lot of experience and success running out of the pistol and shotgun. I think Dujuan Harris is another guy who should be dynamic in Chip’s system. And Jarryd Hayne? Oh my!

        Look guys, Chip never had the right type of QB to run his system in Phili, AND STILL, his offenses put up monster numbers in 2013 and 2014. But, eventually, without that QB, NFL defenses adjusted. Numerous defensive coordinators have stated that, in 2015, they simply did not believe Sam Bradford would pull the ball back on zone/reads and run the football.

        Buckle up lady’s and gent’s. Whether it’s Kap, Blaine, or perhaps even Wentz, Lynch or Vernon Adams Jr, the Niners are going to have multiple quarterbacks who should be able to run Chip’s offense to perfection!

        1. Nice try, but you forgot to mention that those QBs also pass effectively from the pocket. And Baldinger’s comment is an obvious swipe. He’s comparing an OC who is in the Super Bowl because of how his system uses Kaepernick to a coach on his second team because of his system and the failure to adapt.

          1. Do they? Compare Cam’s numbers to Kap’s from the pocket. Not much difference really. Cam is not a great pocket passer, and neither is Russell!

          1. Kaepernick needs to improve his accuracy and touch on passes for that to happen.

            1. ^MidWest…
              I’m in the same court of opinion as Steve Young in regards to Kap. SY said, Kap should start spend more time film room studying, than in the weight room.

          2. “CK + CK = playoffs”

            I’m no math teacher, but that doesnt equal playoffs. It only equals 2CK.

  12. Here is my reasoning for why I really like this hire. Chip Kelly runs a high tempo, high scoring offense. Philadelphia ranked 4th in PPG (points per game) in 2013, 3rd in PPG in 2014, and 13th in PPG in their disappointing 2015 season. Opposing offenses are often forced into passing the football to keep pace with Chip’s high scoring offense. And this plays into Jim O’Neil’s strengths.

    O’Neil spent four seasons with the New York Jets, first as defensive quality control/defensive backs coach in 2009 before serving three years (2010-12) as assistant defensive backs coach. While working with the Jets’ secondary, New York’s passing defense finished second in the NFL in 2012 (189.8), fifth in 2011 (201.0), sixth in 2010 (200.6) and first in 2009 (153.7). During his four years with New York, the Jets defense over those combined seasons ranked first in the NFL in opposing quarterback rating (71.0), completion percentage (52.6) and passing yards per game (186.3). The Jets defense yielded the second-fewest yards per game (294.8) and allowed just nine 100-yard receiving games from 2009-2012, fewest in the league. O’Neil helped CB Darrelle Revis to three (2009-11) Pro Bowls and three (2009-11) first-team Associated Press All-Pro selections. Revis led the AFC and finished third in the NFL with 21 passes defensed in 2011. O’Neil also worked with CB Antonio Cromartie and SS LaRon Landry, who were selected to the Pro Bowl following the 2012 season.

    O’Neil became the Browns DC in 2014. The Cleveland Browns defense finished 8th in Passing Yards Per Game, and 9th in Points Per Game in 2014.

    O’Neil has a reputation as a very good defensive backs coach, and as a DC, the Browns strengths on defense always revolved around the defensive backfield. Sounds like a good fit!

    1. Rosily scenarioed? I will with hold judgement because he also presided over that train wreck of last year, and this league is all about the= What- have- you- done- for-me-lately? club.

        1. 49reasons is over the top in optimism, and must be a company man inserted amongst the posters to brighten up the hire.

      1. Plant? lol. I guess you missed all of my posts last season, bashing the 49ers coaching staff. I was terribly disappointed in Tomsula’s approach from day one, and was disgusted with Mangini by week 8.

        All I am saying is that……you guys put way too much stock in one season. There are far too many factors that determine the outcome of any one given season. I the only coaches worth hiring were the ones who had success the season before, we wouldn’t have nearly enough coaches to go around. Not only that, we would have missed out on a lot of coaches who rebounded from poor seasons.

  13. I need to read up on O’Neil. I plan on learning more about the schemes he runs before final judgement. For now I grade the hire “Bad.”

    Fangio > Mangini > O’Neil

    I was not crazy about Mangini, but the continuity factor is important. Breaking continuity just when the young guys were finally starting to gel is frustrating.

    For now O’Neil looks like a lateral move at best.

    1. Read what the Browns players aid about him. Sounds like he made it too complicated with too many reads, so they became tentative.
      Hmm, wasn’t that the same criticism leveled at Mangini?

      1. yes, that’s exactly what they said about Manigini. But Mangini’s on Belichick’s naughty list. Looks like we’re stuck with a low grade version of Mangini.

    2. B2W

      What’s so cool about continuity on a 5-11 team that lucked out not being a 3-13 ?
      Hey, we needed changes, and an energetic DC was the right way to go IMO. Although I respected him, Mangini had become dead wood. Walsh did the very same thing when he came to the niners. Change doesn’t happen without movement….If your resume` doesn’t show progress, you’re the wrong guy….

      1. Thanks! Been poking about since I posted the question. Pettine/O’Neil ran a hybrid 3-4 with changing fonts.

        1. Karlos Dansby said this about defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil’s system:

          “I’m trying to hone in how he wants to do it, because every coach is different. It’s a learning curve, man. Like I say, you’ve got a PhD in it. You’re trying to get a Doctorate now.”

  14. This feels like the 49ers settling for what is currently available for hire… I would hope they evaluate closely over the season. Hopefully Chip isn’t married to his coordinators like Harbaugh was, and is willing to make a call if his expectations aren’t met.

    That being said, position coaches look much better than last year!

    1. They said to wait for the crucial DC hire before assessing this coaching staff.
      Well it is here, and they want us to think they hit a home run.
      I think it is more like a swinging bunt.

      1. I cannot express enough, how important fit is when it comes to coordinators. The FO had Mangini and Tarver in their back pocket. If they wanted to keep Mangini, he would have remained DC. If they wanted to promote Tarver, it would have happened. Kelly obviosly obviously feels like O’Neil is a better fit. O’Neils a very smart guy. And I wanted someone with DC experience, so O’Neil is a better hire, IMO, than Vrabel.

        1. Bah. Vrabel helped lead the 3rd ranked defense in the league. O’Neil led the 29th ranked defense. There is a big disconnect if you think Vrabel is not as good as O’neil.

            1. Yet the Niners offered Vrabel the DC position. Then when he turned them down, they had to settle for O’Neil. Sounds like Vrabel was superior in every way compared to O’neil.

          1. SEB

            You denigrate and criticize without any evidence to your case…Where’s the value in that ?

            1. Oregon, where did I say that O’Neil sucks or anything similar. I just pointed out he ran the 29th ranked defense when the other coach was part of a third ranked team. Relatively speaking, Vrabel>O’Neil.
              I also gave him a swinging bunt, not that he struck out.

              1. Seb

                “yet the 49ers offered Vrabel the the DC position….turned them down, they had to settle for O’Neil…sounds like Vrabel was superior in in every way compared to O’Neil…” It’s only semantics, but yes , that does say ‘sucks’

              2. Oregon, please do not put words in my mouth. I said Vrabel was superior, not O’neil sucks. O’neil did have that first year when the Browns D had good success. Last year was bad, but he had extenuating circumstances. Injuries decimated his squad, and the lack of depth doomed their season.

        2. You’ve provided way too much well researched verifiable facts and reasoning for this current bunch of doubters/haters, 49reasons. As for me, I give every new US president and head coach and his hires a chance, regardless of presented shortcomings. None of us have any say about any of this as far as the ownership and management is concerned. So lets get ready for the next ride. No one will convince me it will be worse than the Tomsula era. Nor could you convince any other reasonable observer the same. As Grant pointed out in a recent TV appearance, regardless of what happens, this next season is going to be an exciting year for 49er fans, the opposite of the last season. So with a bunch of cap space and draft pics, lets see what happens.

          1. Jed also said the Niners would be rewarded for doing bad, because they would get high draft picks.
            I would much rather pick at the bottom of the first round, but that would only mean they won another ring. Jed, I guess, is looking forward to that number one pick every year.

  15. Well, one thing is certain – the Niners will be finesse in a division that likes to beat you up. That used to be the Niners but we’ve gotten away from that smash your face in mentality obviously… Better stock the trenches or it could be another long year.

    1. That smash your face in has brought this team, or any Harbagh team how many titles?? Oh thats right…. 0. So lets see if this O can be as explosive as the Cardinals and Seahawks. We need to put points on the board.

  16. Maybe Grant can reach out to Donte Whitner regarding his thoughts on O’Neil… Whitner was never one to hold back whether on the field or with the media.

    1. Great idea. Whitner can tell it like it is. Were O’Neil’s 2015 struggles due to injuries, or his rumored refusal to adapt his scheme to the players on hand.

  17. Tim Ryan’s tepid praise of the Kelly hire leaves me a bit worried. He’s usually alot more gung-ho. This meh at best DC hire does not inspire confidence in the Kelly regime.

    1. I remember Ryan being pretty big on the Tomsula hire during training camp. .. what’s that say about his opinion

    2. It should be tepid Brodie. After all, we have one Antonie Bethea that was shouting out what plays the Eagles were going to run the last time we played them.
      Oneil’s defense was one of the weaker against the run. Doesn’t that sound like a recipe for success against the likes of Rawls and Gurley?

    3. I noticed it too this morning. Ryan is old school and does not buy into Kelly’s offense but must toe the company line.

  18. This all looks like they offered the job to Mike Pettine and he told them no yesterday of this morning.

  19. The only way this makes sense, is if O’Neil is an ingredient in the defensive recipe. As these numbers indicate, Coach O’Neil specializes in pass defense:

    2009: New York Jets DB coach. The Jets had the number one defense and allowed fewest pass yards per game at 154/g
    2010: New York Jets DB coach. Jets defense was ranked 3rd overall with 6th best secondary.
    2011: New York Jets DB coach. Jets ranked 5th overall defense with 5th best secondary at 201.0 pass yards per game.
    2012: New York Jets DB coach. Jets defense ranked 8th overall and had the second best secondary allowing only 189py/g.
    2013: Buffalo Bills LB coach. Buffalo’s defense ranked 10th overall. They ranked 4th on passing yards allowed at 204/g.
    2014: Cleveland Browns DC. The Browns were 23 ranked defense but ranked 8 against the pass.
    2015: Cleveland Browns DC. This is where the wheels came off the wagon. Ranked 27 overall and 22 against the pass.

    The next ingredient is Jerry Azzinaro, DL Coach, whose defensive lines ranked 3rd, 6th, and 4th in the league the last 3 years against the run. Could be together, with key defensive F/A acquisitions and draft picks, that it’s a recipe for disaster for opposing offenses….

    1. I concur. However, one of the obvious connections with each unit O’Neil oversaw is they each had a true #1 CB.

  20. I just watched the Dallas at Eagles game. If you want to get a look when Kelly’s offense sucks, watch this game. It was almost a mirror image of the Niners. Terrible o-line play, penalties, dropped passes, turnovers, QB play and stupid mistakes. Offense had the ball for 7 minutes in the first half, defense only gave up six points. The o-line was worst then ours was, I know that’s hard to fathom.

    1. If you really want to get depressed, watch the 2014 49ers-Eagles game. Kelly’s offense was shut out by Fangio’s injury depleted crew. The Eagles didn’t get past their own 43 yard line until the late 4th qtr.

      (Philly’s 21 points came from defense and special teams)

      Fangio wrote the “book” on Kelly’s offense: Its a simple offense. It relies on defenders lining up in the wrong spot, and missing tackles.
      To prepare…
      – Have the starting defense drill vs both the offensive ones an twos alternately to mimic Kelly’s pace.
      – Emphasize lining up defenders properly as the two offensive units rapidly come at you tag team style.
      – Make your tackles, with proper tackling angles.

      Line up in the right spot. Make your tackles.

      1. Let me add to that depression. Bethea was calling out what plays the Eagles were fixing to run during that game.

  21. So many Negative Nelly’s. While I don’t share 49reasons optimism, in fact I’m quite underwhelmed by the hire and think there is a good chance it won’t work out, I’m at least willing to give the guy a chance. He’s only 37 and in two years as a DC he has had one ok year, one very bad year. But it was the Browns. He comes from a coaching tree that has been pretty darn successful defensively, in Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine. Maybe he’ll suck at the 49ers, but calling it a terrible hire is premature.

        1. I didn’t write the article Scooter. I only wanted to see what the Browns fans thought of O’Neil and stumbled across the article which gave me some new information – that Pettine had given more control of the defense to O’Neil this past season so that he (Pettine) could focus more on the offensive side of the ball.

        1. The posters on those sites warned about Devey. They were jumping for joy that he was traded. On the Bills site, they panned Pears and said he was one of the worst O lineman they had ever seen, and blamed him for many of the offensive woes. I did not have to read between the lines to formulate an opinion.

    1. Being one of the most ardent faithful Niner fans, with optimism dripping from every pore, I cannot with a straight face say that I am delighted with this choice.
      Jed promised he would not leave a stone unturned in a dedicated and thorough search for quality coaches. This hire just confirms that many Coaches have gotten the word and are avoiding the Niners like the plague. If Chip had any other options, he would never have come here, but he was desperate and Jed was extremely fortunate to get him. Too bad the Niners were forced to scrape the bottom of the barrel AGAIN.
      Jed should just go crawl back under his rock and hide out some more.
      Jed, actions speak louder than words, and this hire shouted out loud and clear that the Niners have a daunting task to even be even slightly above incompetent.

      1. If The Seb is happy with the Kelly hire then The Seb has to support Kelly’s choices for his staff. They are Kelly’s sole responsibility.

        1. While I think the hiring of Chip may save the Niners, I am not going to blithely state that happy days are here again.
          They will have to earn my respect. Only winning will accomplish that goal.
          HT, are you predicting a 19-0 season because of the O’Neil hire?

          1. That’s a question from The Seb when he’s avoiding implications he doesn’t understand.

            It’s much more likely that it will take two seasons to win 19 games.

    2. I’m of the same opinion as Scooter. It’s not a hire that excites me but considering the options he is likely the best we could get, and I’m willing to give it a chance and see what happens. Honestly what else can we do? He’s been a DC for two years and the first year was an improvement on the previous year under a different regime, but year two crashed and burned. I don’t think we can make a determination until seeing what he does here with this personnel and nobody looking over his shoulder.

  22. Scooter, you wrote this in an earlier post:

    “I expect a lot more turnovers and sacks. But also some more struggles against the run and big plays given up through the air.”

    Sounds like Mangini to me except without the turnovers and sacks. Might be an upgrade compared to Mangini.

    1. I can in all honesty, hand to heart say that he might be… :-P I’m all about the big, bold statements…

      Seriously though, he’s described as a smart guy that likes to run a fairly complex scheme and aggressive defense where players are encouraged to make plays on the ball and get after the QB, so chances are turnovers and sacks will go up. Especially if the team actually does add some more talent to the front 7. But that aggressive style and complex scheme tends to lend itself to giving up some big plays too. His D has also historically struggled against the run.

      So, to be perfectly honest, I don’t think there is that great a difference between O’Neil and Mangini.

      1. Learned on KNBR this morning that young O’Neill is a friend of Greg Cossell. Greg and he have watched tape together. Greg thinks he’s a sharp football mind. Greg thinks O’Neill will bring pressure in a variety of ways. So Scooter’s conjecture of getting more turnovers is probably right. However, O’Neill is young and will make some mistakes but hopefully will learn quickly.

        All this brouhaha over O’Neill’s hiring reminds me of the dismay of fans when Fangio was hired. Extensive “data” was produced to support the thesis that Fangio’s defense declined with every passing season at all his teams. Then they handed Fangio the best Niners D talent in two decades and those critics were soon bowing to Dark Lord Fangio! Now at Chicago, Fangio’s D was ranked 28th in weighted defense by Football Outsiders in 2015, same as the ranking of the previous season.

        How well O’Neill does will depend on the quality of the defensive players on the Niners roster in September. An NFL DC can scheme around specific a set of highly skilled players at various positions, but cannot scheme to hide lack of talent, especially in the front 7.

        1. I agree Mood. It really does come down to talent in the end. I was leaning toward Mangini being kept for continuity, but the system O’Brian will run likely won’t be dramatically different in concept to what Mangini ran this year.

          1. Eric Mangini’s issue last year was he had zero pass rushers. That forced him to leave his secondary vulnerable. Kind of a raw deal but that’s what happens when you lack talent on the edge.
            Priorities: QB,OLB, WR, OL, Corner

          2. I would also have preferred retaining Mangini. But coaching chemistry is as important as player chemistry, and giving a hungry young, bright coach a chance to succeed or fail may be a worthwhile gamble.

          1. Thanks. Fangio had been a DC for 11 seasons when he arrived to the Niners and so he had enough track record for fans to mull over.
            One thing I’ve learned from watching NFL for 25+ years is that coaches can get poor results with good talent but cannot get great results with a bunch of average players with no playmakers.

            1. I’m going to have to disagree with that last sentence Mood. The Patriots’ first three Super Bowls didn’t have true playmakers in the sense that most NFL fans want, yet they won despite that.

        2. All this brouhaha over O’Neill’s hiring reminds me of the dismay of fans when Fangio was hired.

          I don’t recall any brouhaha over Fangio’s hiring Brodie because most of the fans knew his defenses had looked good at Stanford and were also ready for a change.

          1. Fangio coached Stanford for only one season before joining Niners with Harbaugh. Stanford’s D did well before Fangio and continued to do very well after he left (under Mason and now under Anderson).

            I recall much gnashing of teeth over Fangio at various blogs. Danny T at NN (now with Football Outsiders) had to counter (mis)perceptions with detailed analysis here:

            1. Typo in my post as I meant to say defense. Your point on the Stanford defense before and after Fangio is valid; however, it doesn’t change that the fans were wanting some sort of change on defense as well.

      2. Scooter

        We (niners) run a 3-4 d scheme that preys on not showing which blitzer is coming…they switch or stay the same one. hopefully it only takes one tackler to get the sack versus this last seasons version which entailed a team meeting at the QB. High risk/ high reward…yeah a few big plays here and there…then we bring in the offense to get them back….I’m a believer….

  23. Sigh, I guess I will still root for my beloved Niners, despite the cluelessness of the Owner, the classless FO and barely competent coaches. I will cheer them on and hope for the best, but expect the worst. I have absolutely no confidence in Baalke being able to attract and sign veteran FA talent. I hope for another 86 Trader Bill draft, but expect another 2012 crapola fest.
    How can they honestly expect me to wildly cheer about a failing Browns reject?

    1. “How can they honestly expect me to wildly cheer about a failing Browns reject?”

      I don’t think “they” expect that of you. It won’t hurt their feelings if you withhold advise either. These are your Golden Years so enjoy them.

      1. No, the only way for them to improve is for them to get a lot smarter. I guess I will have to double my missives. ;p

        1. Since you bring up the Golden years, I consider those to be those years in the 20’s and 30’s for me. It coincided with the Glory Years of the Niners. Those were the days. I felt immortal, I climbed mountains and dove deep in the ocean to harvest nature’s bounty. The Niners brought joys and exultation’s to my life that will sustain me , and allow me to endure the present situation. Nowadays, I am content sitting in the sunshine, refreshments at hand, talking desultory errata with friends. And watching sports. Those Warriors sure put on a clinic, and definitely showed the impact of good coaching.
          I guess I should start. Now is as good a time as ever.
          Being a horticulturalist, I find it necessary to prune. I do it to remove diseased parts, overcrowded situations and weak structure. I prune with the future in mind. I prune for functionality. I gain great satisfaction when a picker will comment how easy it is to climb into the tree and pick fruit that is accessible and abundant.
          The Niners should do the same thing. They should remove all the dead wood and sculpt the squad thinking years in advance. They should thin so the remaining fruit will be large and delicious. They should prune to obtain a strong structure, and recognize where they want to go.
          I really hope the coaches are smart enough to do that, but will be forced to wait. The coaching search was not as bad as last year, but it is not making me wave banners. Maybe tow banners.
          Back to my pruners….

  24. My take on this hire and the process of finding a competent defensive coordinator is that although Chip has a good reputation in the league as an offensive innovator no established defensive coach would consider the position. No matter what Chip says his offense puts his defense in a very difficult position. For the last three years his defensive teams have wilted in the second half of games and in the second half of the season. This happened even when the Eagles were winning 10 games. They are just on the field too much. This also happened in Oregon. It is not surprising that no established defensive coordinator, or position coaches for that matter, would want to put their reputations on the line. This is why we have been hearing about promising, young, not yet established coaches like Vrable. Now we can only hope that O’Neil is as promising as Chip seems to think he is. He has his work cut out for him.

    Baalke better be drafting for defense. Which is probably a good thing as that seems to be his strength.

    1. On the contrary Leo, there was a link posted here a few days ago that dispelled the notion that the Eagle defense wore down in the second half and late in the year. I think it was from Niner Nation.

        1. From the article discussing Cossell’s thoughts on the hiring of O’Neil:

          With Chip Kelly running an up-tempo offense, his teams during three seasons as head coach of the Philadelphia also had to defend more plays than any other team in the NFL. The Eagles faced a league-high 1,148 plays last season, second-most at 1,113 in 2014, and the most in 2013 with 1,150 defensive plays.

          “If you’re gonna be the defensive coordinator for Chip Kelly, you’re going to rank low,” Cosell declared. “Fans need to understand that because they play a lot of plays. It’s hard to be ranked 10th or 11th because it’s just hard. That offense impacts the whole team. It’s not just an offense.”

  25. Ok…so to all the naysayers…NONE of you knew who Vic Fangio was before he was the niners d-coordinator, you probably didn’t know who he was his one season at Stanford. Stop acting like you have any clue as to whether this will be good or not.

    Unless its a failed coach, most people don’t know coordinators other than their own team.

    1. Please, this is just ducky. The man who presided over a bottom ranked defense is not the messiah. Comparing him to Vic Fangio is like comparing Tebow to Cam Newton.

      1. Did you know when they hired Fangio that he would be so great? He was middle of the pack in his other NFL stops.

        1. Wilson, as MT once said. ‘There are lies, damn lies and statistics.’
          Maybe one stat to cherry pick is from the 2010 season.
          JH and Vic went 12-1. He was a winner. I liked coaches with a 12-1 record.
          72% of the posters were positive about Vic.

          1. I don’t think your answering the question I am posing. I love Fangio, he’s a winner for sure. My question was did you know he was going to be great when he showed up? People were unsure JH could be successful in the NFL. Pete Carroll flamed out a couple of times in the NFL before his success in Seattle. Denis Erikson was a winner in college as was Saban. My point is there’s no guarantee that anyone knew Fangio would be great. There’s always hopes of them succeeding.

            1. Well, going to 3 NFCCGs and having the top 5 defense answered any questions. Of course, the future is murky. Not many can predict the future.
              Although I can come close sometimes. I predict Jed will do something stupid, and that prediction is set in stone. We will not know if he can manage to avoid catastrophe, but time will tell.

              1. You can’t use 20/20 hindsight to answer questions.

                You had no clue who he was until he was hired with Harbaugh. Why you always lyyying..

              2. Why am I lying when I said that I liked his 12-1 record with JH? I did not need to project the future. That was his record that was from the year previous. I also looked up the record he had from previous DC stints.
                I had way more than a clue when VF was credited with building the Dome patrol.
                MJ, you are the clueless one when you pontificate that I had absolutely no idea that VF would be a good DC.
                I do not need to lie. Your problem is you cannot accept the truth.

            2. Look, you can paint with a brush any sort of picture, but I refuse to be rosily scenarioed. This was a reject from the flaming Browns. Gosh, do I hope I am wrong, and he becomes another defensive wizard that leads a defense that does not allow a rushing TD almost all season. I hope he has learned from his mistakes. I hope he has stopped playing favorites. I hope he can control his ego. I hope he reduces the complexity. I hope Baalke can provide adequate FAs. I hope the Niners can draft home runs. No more strikeouts. If they cam improve from being 29th in the league, I will not be surprised. If they can become a 16th rated defense, I will be happy. If they become top 10, I will jump for joy.
              However, I am going to wish for the best, but expect the worst.

              1. Wilson, I had high hopes for Tomsula, but he did not adequately prepare his players. They shot themselves in the foot way too many times and lost games because of that. That 5-11 season could be all JT’s fault, but you and I know it was more than just one person.
                Do I know if O’Neil will be better than Mangini? Time will tell.

    1. Imagine what the media jokes will be in the run up to the Super Bowl.

      I’ll start. (1) Are the 49ers really the Cleveland Browns west ?

      1. Could Holmgen, Shannahan and Gruden, hired as a group to groom young coaches and work in the 49er front office, have used their connections to hire a better DC?

        1. Ummm No!!! Case and point, everyone on here keeps saying how The owner of the eagles is respected and has class, blah, blah, blah…. But who came to work for him? Doug freakin Peterson… And then look at his staff. People, it is what it is, no matter how Respected a guy is I’d a guy wants to come, they will. If not they won’t. Get over it

  26. George Seifert, the last coach to deliver the 49ers a Super Bowl win, spoke highly Tuesday of new coach Chip Kelly’s offensive aptitude.

    “They have a new coach, a very innovative coach who did a fantastic job at Oregon, as well as had a couple pretty good years at Philadelphia,” Seifert said at a luncheon in Santa Clara. “He understands and has a sense for the league.

    “He’s got a few good players to work with and I’m sure they’ll add more to the mix,” Seifert continued. “I think the key will certainly be what kind of group of defensive players and defensive coaches he can put together, because there’s no question about his innovativeness and his understanding of how to move the footbal

      1. I was just up there for five days during our daughters’ semester break. The only thing that made it almost bearable is that the Seahawks lost. They’re now rooting for Carolina so they can say if they just didn’t have to play a 10:00 am game (slow start in the first half) in Carolina, they would be SB champs. They’re already saying that if the game was the late game, they would’ve won, for sure.

  27. Andrew Beltran
    @timkawakami The point in time is approaching where @JedYork will finally understand that he will need to fire #TrentBaalke to save face.

    Tim Kawakami ‏@timkawakami · 21m21 minutes ago
    That’s partly why I’m amused by Baalke’s recent self-pitying reference to being criticized just like Chip Kelly has been criticized…

  28. And for anyone that’s moanin and groanin, of the 6 new head coaches, we will have the best record. Especially toward the browns and dolphins, since everyone’s live fests with Gase and Jackson, crying tat they dibdt want to come here. Maybe we didn’t want them. Just my opinion

  29. What do you guys think k of this. Kelly keeps saying he wants input from everyone. Different styles and different schemes. Even tho O’Brien is the DC, could his specialty be to make sure our passing D looks like his previous years, and the linebackers coaches and defensive line coaches responsibility would be to help scheme the front 7. Just a thought.

    1. George – Thanks. Very informative. Interesting they emphasize that its the threat of the quarterback running (not necessarily the quarterback actually running) that makes it work.

      I keep thinking about how Hogan’s skill set meshes will with zone read.

      1. The bias angle has to be taken into consideration here though with Cossell and O’Neil being close friends.

  30. Cossell mentioned Oneil’s varied approach-mainly 3/4 concepts, with some 4/3 sprinkled in.
    It could be a positive sign if he’s proficient in both.

  31. Feb. 22: First day for clubs to designate franchise or transition players.

    March 7: Prior to 4 p.m. ET, deadline for clubs to designate franchise or transition players.

    March 12-15: Beginning at 12 p.m. ET, clubs are permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with the certified agents of players who will become unrestricted free agents upon the expiration of their 2015 player contracts at 4 p.m. ET, on March 15. However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until 4 p.m. ET, on March 15.

    March 15: The 2016 league year and free agency period begin at 4 p.m. ET.

    The first day of the 2016 League Year will end at 11:59:59 p.m. ET, on March 15. Clubs will receive a personnel notice that will include all transactions submitted to the league office during the period between 4 p.m. ET and 11:59:59 p.m. ET on March 15.

    Trading period for 2016 begins at 4 p.m. ET, after expiration of all 2015 contracts.

    1. And two more additions:

      April 22: Deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets.

      April 27: Deadline for prior club to exercise right of first refusal to restricted free agents.

  32. The 49ers apparently met with Austin Johnson at the Senior Bowl. Que the next 5 mocks that he’ll suddenly appear in.

  33. From the Cosell interview on O’Neil; “He was out of a job, he got an opportunity to be a DC, he’s not gonna say no. ”

    I guess we’re lucky he was out of a job…

  34. This probably won’t happen, but the worst case scenario with a Kelly/Oneil combination is what happened last season:

    1. Kelly’s no huddle offense was quickly into it’s three and out’s leaving his defense restless.
    2. Oneil’s Defense could not stop the run.

    Summary: No huddling with quicker 3 and out’s combined with a defense unable to stop the run would cause unimaginal damage to the Niner organization.

  35. This guy is still out their. Maybe we could invite him back as a consultant to Oneil.
    In 1989, he was elevated to head coach. He is one of only 13 NFL head coaches with more than one Super Bowl victory, winning in both the 1989 and 1994 seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. In Super Bowl XXIV he became the first rookie head

    In all, Seifert coached on five Super Bowl champion teams with the 49ers, being 1 of only 17 men to have won 5 or more championships. Seifert was forced to resign in 1996.

  36. Doesn’t look like Braxton Miller is going to stay under the radar for much longer. Major boom/bust prospect that I’d be willing to take a flyer on. His athleticism is impressive. He’s clearly got the million dollar body will he have the work ethic and smarts to make it in the NFL?

    If he runs a sub 4.4 at Indy he’s going to be a second rounder for someone regardless of his very limited production as a WR. Depending on how his interviews go, I might be willing to use a third on him.

    1. I’m a big believer in either drafting college WRs that display a strong understanding and timing of route running (especially if taking one early), or excellent athletes in the mid rounds that for one reason or another haven’t reached their potential due to under development. Miller falls squarely in the second category. If they get him in round 3 I’d be more than fine with that.

  37. I think Ellington can thrive in chip’s system. I think smith, smelter(hopefully), Ellington can be a nice trio.. I wouldn’t invest in miller. He is a project. I would rather take a flyer on Benjamin in free agency..

  38. Not sure if this has been posted, but if true I find it concerning (originally from SI):

    “Rather than being assigned specific gaps, Cleveland’s defensive linemen play different techniques based on how their offensive counterparts are blocking them. The linebackers, then, are expected to guess what technique their teammates are using, scrape through the resulting mess and make the play. Opposing offenses have identified this flaw on film and are repeatedly, week-after-week, gashing the edge of Cleveland’s defense. It’s a completely chaotic approach to stopping the run, and players have said—off the record—they’re spending way too much time thinking, and not nearly enough time reacting.”

    1. Lets hope the new DL coach is strong enough to tell O’Neil why this is a completely ridiculous idea.

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