San Francisco 49ers head coach Chip Kelly was on Murph & Mac on KNBR 680 this morning and discussed the topic consuming the majority of the talk among the media since Thursday's loss to the Arizona Cardinals – the status of the quarterback position.
Kelly discussed some of the factors that contributed to the team's latest loss. As he said last week, Kelly indicated that turnovers and tackling contributed greatly to the team's fourth straight defeat.
Regarding which quarterback – Blaine Gabbert or Colin Kaepernick – will start on Sunday on the road against the Buffalo Bills, Kelly said that he and his coaching staff were meeting today to discuss the topic. "We'll get together as a staff today and look at our game plan in terms of moving forward and what we're going to do everywhere," Kelly said. "As I said the day after the game in our press conference, we've got to evaluate everything and part of it is looking at what kind of game plan we're going to put together for the Bills and meet with our training staff. Find out who's available and go from there."
Kelly was asked if it was fair to say that he was leaving the door open for a change at quarterback. "No. It's fair to say that we're looking at every option we have to be a good football team. I don't think it's different from any other position. Obviously, that position gets the most notoriety but we have to look at everything right now."
Kelly touched on Kaepernick's new contract, which is reportedly in the works, and if the injury clause in the current contract has been a factor in the quarterback playing or not. "I don't get that part because he played in our first game," Kelly answered. "So, I've never been told not to play him or he shouldn't play. If I was told not to play him, then why did he play in the first game against the Rams if I was concerned about his contract or him getting hurt?"
"It's never been an issue," Kelly continued. "I've never been told by anybody in this building who to play at any position so anybody that was on our 53-man roster or who's been active for the 46-man roster is available to us on game day. And Colin played in the first game versus the Rams so I don't know where – people can speculate and say whatever they want. But if that was the case, why did he play in game one?"
Kelly reaffirmed that he has never been given hints, smoke signals, or morse code telling him who to play or not to play.
Regarding Kaepernick's weight, Kelly said that is not a factor either. "There's no weight limit that he has to get to whether he plays or doesn't play," Kelly said. "But the point was is where is he in his rehabilitation? And I answered that question and then people ran with it and said, 'Well, if he doesn't weight 225, he's not going to play.' This isn't pop warner. There is no weight limit in terms of him playing. The point I'm trying to make is I think Colin has worked extremely hard at the rehab part of what he's done. What people lose sight of is that Kaepernick missed all of last season from when he got hurt and through the rehab part because he had shoulder surgery, thumb surgery, and knee surgery that prevented him from working out the way he normally works out.
"Since he has been cleared to go when we got back here in August, he's worked his tail off. I mean, he's as hard a working guy as we have on our team in terms of everything and what he's put into this thing. So there is no 'If he gets to a certain weight, he plays.' It's just pointing out where is he – when I'm asked a question – where he is in his rehab, he's not back to where he was when he was leading this team to the Super Bowl. That's my only point."
You can listen to the entire interview on the Murph & Mac podcast.