Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

By now, I'm sure you've heard the news about the San Francisco 49ers officially meeting with Chip Kelly in regards to their vacant head coaching position. The response from fans, at least as far as I can tell, has been mixed. Initial reactions have ranged from cautious optimism to outright panic. I guess that shouldn't come as too much of a surprise given the fact that Kelly is an extremely polarizing figure. In the end though, all that matters is whether or not Kelly is the right man for job. He could very well be a good fit. At the same time, he could also be a complete train wreck.

Let's start with the latter because...well, it's the 49ers. Kelly hasn't been painted in a very positive light by his former players or some people who have dealt with him. He's been described as power hungry, difficult, and even a racist. Harsh words, but that's what has been out there. After two seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, Kelly positioned himself in such a way that he was able to get full control over personnel decisions, forcing the removal of then general manager Howie Roseman. With full say over the roster, Kelly began to ship players out and brought in new ones that he felt would better fit his scheme. The issue is, they didn't. The DeMarco Murray's and Sam Bradford's of the world appeared miscast from day one, and Philly limped to a 6-9 record before letting Kelly go prior to Week 17.

Given what we know, is someone as strong-willed as Kelly going to mesh with the controlling Jed York/Trent Baalke regime? Haven't we seen this movie before with Jim Harbaugh? The relationship could obviously turn ugly very quickly.

Then there's the issue of Kelly's coaching style, which calls for the offense to play fast. In fact, the Eagles ran their attack at such a rapid pace that they've been last in the league in time of possession in every season Kelly was their coach. Philadelphia held the ball on average for 26:03 from 2013-2015. That makes for a very tired defense most of the time, especially down the stretch run and come playoff time.

Kelly has some faults, no doubt about it, but what positives might he bring to the table?

Well, to begin to appreciate Chip Kelly, you have to separate the coach from the personnel man. In 2013, he took over an Eagles team coming off a 4-12 campaign and went on to win the NFC East at 10-6. The offense, while playing at a frantic pace, was dynamic in every sense of the word and finished second in total yards (6,676) and fourth in points scored (442). The Eagles maintained that rate the following season, and ultimately finished third in total yards (6,348) and third in points scored (474). Philly won 10 games again but missed out on the playoffs. They dropped to 12th (5830) and 13th (377) respectively in 2015, but that was in large part due to Kelly's blunders with the roster. Still, I think most who follow the 49ers would sign up for those numbers, given the fact that San Francisco was 31st in total yards (4860) and dead last in points scored (238).

Philly's defense did suffer however, never finishing higher than 17th in Kelly's three seasons. You could argue if that had more to do with the roster than the time of possession issue, but the Eagles were obviously much better on the other side of the ball. Kelly might have to tweak his approach a bit, and you have to wonder if he's learned his lesson in that regard.

Kelly is also astute in developing quarterbacks within his system, which is something the 49ers desperately need. He made Nick Foles look like a legitimate franchise option, as the mediocre signal caller went 14-4 as a starter with 40 touchdown passes to only 12 interceptions. Foles fell on his face with the St. Louis Rams this year, and was eventually benched. One would have to imagine the idea of Colin Kaepernick would intrigue Kelly, although it's unknown if that option is even on the table given what's transpired with management.

Oh, and speaking of management, could Baalke and Kelly really play nice together? I think they can, at least initially, and here's why. Baalke knows he's on his last legs. General managers almost never get more than two shots at a head coach, and this will be Baalke's third (you could argue Jim Tomsula was York's choice, but that's another conversation). Some of the young talent Baalke's brought in has been slow to develop, and the offense is a disaster both on paper and between the lines. Baalke is aware that he has to gel with the new head coach or he won't be around to see the next one. I think Kelly's relationship with Tom Gamble (who's the 49ers senior personnel executive) would help the marriage work, given the fact that the two were close in Philadelphia.

So what should you think about Chip Kelly? Tough to say. While the ceiling is high, there's also a basement level floor that could continue the team's tailspin. The 49ers are probably better off with a safer option like Hue Jackson, but if they lose out on him all bets are off. Never a dull moment.