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San Francisco 49ers head coach Chip Kelly joined the Murph & Mac show on KNBR 680 this morning. Below is a transcript of some of the topics he touched on. The questions below are paraphrased.
How do you walk into the building on a Monday morning after yet another loss and start to turn things around?
CK: "Well, you got to go to work. No one feels sorry for you. You got to go to work and you got to take a look at the film and make the breakdowns of what transpired in the game on Sunday and then make the proper corrections and then get ready for meetings tomorrow."
When you look back at the game, what is the first thing that you would like to do differently?
"Well, number one, I don't do that. I'm not a hypothetical guy that deals with 'If this happened, if that happened.' It didn't happen. You're very black and white in terms of what we did well and what we did poorly and what we have to correct and how we have to get it fixed."
As far as the record-breaking poor defense, where do you lay the blame?
"We've got to do a better job coaching these guys and putting them in better positions to make plays to be honest with you."
What do you say to fans who say that Jim O'Neil can't be the defensive coordinator when the defense is this bad?
"Everybody wants to jump to what do you do right now and make decisions and that's not what this deal is. It's about all of us on the coaching staff and getting together and putting these guys in positions to make plays."
Are injuries a big part of the problem?
"No. Injuries are injuries. Everybody has injuries. Everybody in the league, who is in the NFL right now, has players hurt and that's what the deal is with this game. You have to be able to sustain injuries and continue to play so we don't use that as an excuse and we're not looking for excuses. We're looking for solutions."
Is there any update on Arik Armstead?
"No, I do not. We have treatment ... today's the off day but they'll come in for treatment. Anybody that was injured in the game so I'll get an update from our trainers later this afternoon."
Why does the team struggle more in the second half compared to the first?
"I don't think they were struggling. I think we moved the ball very consistently in the second half. We fumbled once on the 10-yard line. We fumbled once on the 1-yard line. There's two scoring opportunities there. And then early in the first half, we also had a fourth-and-one which we should have converted which we didn't convert. There's three scoring opportunities inside the red zone where we had three drives where we moved the football consistently and we didn't come away with points. You can't turn the ball over and be successful in this league. If you lose the turnover battle, I think it's 85-percent...whoever win the turnover battle has an 85-percent chance of winning. That's the deal. We're driving the ball. Our defense does a good job. We got a stop. We're in the game. We drive the ball right down the field again as we had in the first half. We didn't punt in the first half and we moved the ball. We had an interception in the first half that stopped the drive. We had a forth-and-one that should have converted which stopped the drive. And then you drive it down there, we got a nice gain down to the 1-yard line and we have a fumble."
Following the Saints missing the field goal, there were two poor drives that followed. What can you do to capitalize on critical plays during crucial moments in the game?
"Yeah, we need to capitalize on that. I think we had a drop in there. We had a couple of pushes in the pocket where we didn't have a chance to set our feet. Then we had some times where we had to put the ball on them. Those are two critical junctures in the game where it's our job on the offensive side of the ball to convert when we have the opportunities. And when we had those two series right there, to go there and out on both of them didn't help the cause."
Is Colin Kaepernick, who has been inconsistent, still your starting quarterback?
How do you coach him to be more consistent, which is something that has plagued him his whole career?
"I wasn't here for his whole career so we've only had Kap for a short amount of time. Again, we didn't have him in the Springtime. Had him in preseason camp and then he missed a few weeks there. Really, we've dealt with him consistently for the last four weeks because that's when he became the starter and got the more reps. And that's what we'll continue to work on, but I've seen improvement from him from the first start to this game and we'll continue to look for improvement from him."
Is Christian Ponder told that if he keeps performing in practice, maybe one day he will get his chance?
"Yeah, everybody's told that. I mean, every single day you go out to the practice field is an opportunity to compete. It's an opportunity for us to take evaluations of you."
Regarding DuJuan Harris, is he a guy that you kind of kick yourself for not making active for more of the season?
"DuJuan's done a nice job. He's bounced around the league a little bit before we got him here. I think they got him last year midseason if I'm not mistaken. He's done a nice job. There's a lot that goes into being...obviously, Carlos [Hyde] is our starting running back, so some of the decisions that are made with the number two, the number three, or whoever you have are based on special teams. How do you contribute when you only have 46 guys available on game day? You're second and third running back have to be key special teams players for you so those are some things that came into the decisions in terms of who we had behind Carlos. We knew that DuJuan was a real talented running back so when Carlos got banged up in the Buffalo game, we talked about really getting DuJuan going a little bit because he can do some good things when he has the football in his hands."
If Carlos can't go, is DuJuan moved up the depth chart?
"Yeah, obviously. He started last week."
He got 50-something snaps, so he stays there in other words?
"Yeah. That's a good analysis by you."
Sometimes draft picks like Mike Davis are more valued by the organization.
"Mike didn't start last week. DuJuan started."
That's why I'm asking the question.
"Yeah, and I said it was a good analysis by you that the best player on the field was the guy who started last week so we'll probably start that same player next week."
Down 41-23, you went for it on fourth down and did not convert. Take us inside the strategy decision on that.
"If it works, you can't say anything. If it doesn't work, then you can jump on the other side. But at that point in time, trading three points against that team offensively wasn't going to get us back in the football game. We weren't going to kick field goals to get ourselves back in. We would have had to kick about 30 field goals to get back in that game. So I felt that we need a touchdown at that point in time."
For the record, I supported your move. Is that good analysis right there?
No? I supported your move.
"Whether you support me or not support me, that really does not weigh into my factors on game day."
I wasn't asking you to. I was asking if it was a good analysis.
"I don't know."
What's the strategy on "holding the team" when you meet this week to prepare for Arizona?
"It's all about Arizona and that's what it is about. It's not about a big picture. We're very myopic in our views in terms of it's a one-week season. Our attention when it comes to Tuesday morning and we get started here at 8 o'clock, we'll be focused on the Arizona Cardinals who are a really good team who we played on a Thursday night earlier in the season. You get a chance to play them for the second time and that's what our focus and attention will be on. The Arizona Cardinals. Not anything big picture. Not anything, 'Where are we? What happened here? What happened there?' We'll make our necessary corrections from the game that we played on Sunday and move forward to the next football game."
It's the offseason when you pull back and look at other things.
"Yeah. You pull back and you analyze what you're doing. I mean, you do analyze what you're doing in season to make the proper corrections that you have to make, but you're not looking at what transpired in the past. You're looking towards the future."
You can listen to the entire interview on KNBR 680.