San Francisco 49ers: Hiring Chip Kelly could save two careers


Since Chip Kelly’s “release” from the Philadelphia Eagles, two teams in the NFL frequently have popped up as potential landing spots — the San Francisco 49ers and Tennessee Titans. It’s a pipe dream for San Francisco fans considering the potential clash between ownership and Kelly’s personality, but a deal between the two has a great chance of saving two NFL careers.

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There’s not a very good shot at a Kelly-49ers marriage for two reasons. There’s conflicting reports on how much control Kelly really wants. The Eagles wanted Kelly to relinquish some personnel duties and it was reported that he didn’t want to. That woudn’t sit well with the 49ers front office. However, in an interview with Jay Glazer of FOX Sports, he just wants to be a normal head coach, preferably in the NFL.

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If the latter is the case, then the odds slightly go up. But this also requires the admission that Jed York failed, and his ego has gotten in the way of his brain for the better part of the last two years. San Francisco has dissolved since a miracle victory in Chicago on December 6th, and Jim Tomsula looks absolutely lost. There aren’t any answers or plans in his press conferences — just generic snippets of having to do a better job at stuff.

Kelly’s ideas haven’t seen instant success like Jim Harbaugh’s first three years with the 49ers, but it really hasn’t been as bad as the media portrays in Philadelphia. Kelly went 10-6 in his first two seasons, one of those being a playoff appearance. This year’s 6-9 campaign obviously fell short of expectations, and there’s quite a few ugly losses in there, but firing him just one year into giving him general manager duties seems a bit extreme.

San Francisco has no room to criticize, though. They did pull the plug on Harbaugh way too early. As a result, numerous big-name players retired or left and the franchise hired an unqualified head coach. If the entire disaster of 2015 and all the social media harassment from fans doesn’t teach York that he needs to abort the current course they’re going on, then the franchise is doomed for years to come.

If York does have a change of heart and gives Kelly a shot, that would not only regain some trust with 49ers fans, but that could save two careers in the NFL. Kelly would get another shot as a professional head coach and he’d get to work with Colin Kaepernick, the embattled 49ers quarterback that’s currently facing the end of his time in San Francisco.

The large part of why Kelly didn’t work with the Eagles was a lack of a good QB for his offensive system. Sam Bradford ended up not being a good choice, and that’s extremely important considering the defense wasn’t set up as a tank. Philadelphia needed to have early leads, and they couldn’t get them. Kaepernick installed in this up-tempo, run-first style instead? It’d be back to Kaepernick’s comfortable style, because it’s clear he’ll never be a legitimate pocket passer.

Yes, Kelly will need to spice up his offense. Just like everything else that’s new in the NFL, eventually it will be figured out, and both Kaepernick and Kelly’s equations were solved. That doesn’t mean it’s over for them, though — the best coaches and players make adjustments to achieve more success. Maybe one or both won’t be able to change, but it’s worth a shot.

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If Kelly didn’t have to worry about GM duties and just focused on throwing a few more wrinkles into his scheme, he’ll have a slighty better defense and a weapon at QB. The defense is inconsistent, but honestly, what did anyone expect with that much turnover? It’s going to get better, it won’t force the offense to get huge leads, and that will aid them while Kelly and Kaepernick make it work.

There’s also not a huge wealth of talent available under center in the league. Why give up on Kaepernick when he’s had success before an inept head coach that had no clue how to use him? Blaine Gabbert has had decent moments, but let’s not kid ourselves — he’s destined to the long list of short-tenured QBs since the turn of the millennium in the Bay Area. That very list which includes the names of Tim Rattay, J.T. O’Sullivan, and Cody Pickett.

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Again, it’s all a long shot, and 49ers fans shouldn’t hold their breath until York actually follows through and holds himself accountable for this current dumpster fire of a franchise. It may not have instant success, but at least there would be a vision for the future. That’s more than you can say about whatever San Francisco is currently trotting on the field on Sundays.