Jeff Diamond, the former Minnesota Vikings general manager and Tennessee Titans president, spoke with Chad Doing, Joe Fortenbaugh, and Lorenzo Neal on 95.7 The Game this morning and discussed San Francisco 49ers.
One of the topics of discussion was the rapid decline of the 49ers following the Jim Harbaugh era. Diamond discussed the topic and said the following:
"I think some of the things that happened were a little bit beyond their control and when you lose some really good players to retirement, such as Patrick Willis and Justin Smith and then a young linebacker such as Chris Borland – after one season – retires due to concussion concerns, that's totally unexpected. Anthony Davis' situation – unexpected.
"And then, of course, Aldon Smith was problematic basically from his second season on. And so a lot of those things were beyond their control, but I think what was under their control was keeping a great coach in Jim Harbaugh and not having a battle of wills with Trent Baalke, the GM, and then losing him.
"And I think some of the other situations in terms of Kaepernick's rise and fall perhaps could have been managed better with some better coaching and I think the decision to go with Jim Tomsula was a mistake. And I think, in retrospect, the 49ers acknowledge that and then moved on.
"I think now, it will be really interesting to see how Chip Kelly does and what happens to Kaepernick and how things progress. I think the hiring of Chip Kelly is a good move for the 49ers and I think that hopefully they're headed back up on the right trajectory."
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Diamond went on to say, "I think that Chip Kelly is a quality head coach." He felt that his problems started when he gained control over the personnel while in Philadelphia after two 10-win seasons. It was the roster decisions that landed Kelly in trouble with the Eagles. That's an area that he will not have to deal with in San Francisco as Trent Baalke will remain in control of the roster.
"As a coach, Chip Kelly is a proven commodity and a very innovative, creative head coach, and a smart guy," Diamond continued. "I think he'll get the 49ers going in the right direction. I thought that was a good hire for them."
In regards to the quarterback situation in San Francisco, Diamond said, "I think Colin Kaepernick clearly is a more talented quarterback than Blaine Gabbert. And I think as time goes on and Chip Kelly has an opportunity to work with him during training camp, I think Kaepernick – I'd be surprised if he is not the opening day starter because this is a Super Bowl quarterback."
"I think that he's still the most talented quarterback on that roster, clearly to me," Diamond said in closing.
You can listen to the entire interview here on 95.7 The Game.