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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports


Chip Kelly not a fan of Pro Football Focus’ grading system

Dec 15, 2016 at 12:32 PM--


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Chip Kelly's Thursday press conference was originally scheduled for 10:20 a.m. However, the San Francisco 49ers needed to move the practice schedule up in order for the team to stay ahead of expected rain so Kelly's press conference didn't actually begin until after noon and lasted just six minutes.

The press conference kicked off with an amusing – yet odd – conversation about the grading system from advanced statistics site Pro Football Focus. A reporter asked Kelly why the decision was made to start rookie Joshua Garnett and Marcus Martin over Andrew Tiller along the offensive line. "Josh, obviously, earned his starting position," Kelly said. "When he came here, Josh was just a little bit behind because he missed the spring with us, obviously because he wasn't available for OTAs. But we got through training camp and we thought we had a pretty good one. As he got going through the season, he passed Andrew by and then, obviously, Marcus is playing center. Andrew Tiller is not a center, so when Daniel Kilgore went down, Marcus went in at center."

The reporter brought up the decision to start Martin over Tiller against the New York Jets. "Because Marcus was better than Tiller," Kelly explained. "That was that decision." The reporter tried to use statistics from Pro Football Focus to back up the perception that the call was questionable. After all, Tiller has a higher grade than Martin on the site. When told where the source of the stats came from, Kelly smiled and responded, "Stick with that."



Kelly was asked if he puts much stock into the statistics. "No," he answered. "I mean, I've said all along, 'How can they grade an offensive lineman when they don't know what the play is?' I've had it before, our left tackle gave up a sack. He didn't give up a sack because the guy slanted in the B-gap. The guard had B-gap and that's not the left tackle's responsibility, but it's written down as a sack on the left tackle because you don't know what play was called. We called slide protection. We didn't call man protection.

"So, if someone can look at a film and figure out what we call for a play and know what our scheme is and then give a guy a grade on it, then..."

Kelly then shrugged and continued, "I think there's a lot of players and coaches that feel the same way. I don't know. You can do whatever you want with it. It's like me going into a bank and grading the teller because they gave me a lollipop. I gave them a 94.3. You know what I mean?"

Kelly was asked about the analogy. "It depends on what lollipop," Kelly said. "It was purple and I wanted red, but they did give you a lollipop. You know what I mean? But I didn't know they weren't allowed to give purple out that day. So, if I did know that, I probably would have given them a higher grade but I didn't know the information going in."

"This is good," said another reporter after that topic was done.



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