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Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports


Chip Kelly’s 49ers Coaching Staff Recap

Jan 27, 2016 at 1:11 PM--


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The San Francisco 49ers filled the final major pieces of their coaching staff yesterday with the hirings of defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil, tight ends coach Jeff Nixon, and the news that Jason Tarver would be retained as the outside linebackers coach.

Our coaching tracker, which followed the interests, interviews, and hirings by the 49ers, can by found here. Here is a list of the new coaching staff that will work with head coach Chip Kelly to get the team prepared for the new season.

Position Name Last Team (Position)
Head coach Chip Kelly Eagles (head coach)
Offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins Lions (running backs)
Quarterbacks Ryan Day Eagles (quarterbacks)
Running backs Tom Rathman 49ers (running backs)
Wide eeceivers Bob Bicknell Eagles (wide receivers)
Tight ends Jeff Nixon Dolphins (running backs)
Offensive line Pat Flaherty Giants (offensive line)
Defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil Browns (defensive coordinator)
Defensive line Jerry Azzinaro Eagles (defensive line)
Inside linebackers Hardy Nickerson Buccaneers (linebackers)
Outside Linebackers Jason Tarver 49ers (outside linebackers)
Defensive Backs Jeff Hafley Browns (secondary)
Special Teams Derius Swinton Bears (assistant special teams)

Head Coach Chip Kelly

The former Philadelphia Eagles head coach interviewed with the 49ers on January 7 and, seven days later, was officially hired as the team's new head coach. He served as the head coach at the University of Oregon from 2009 to 2012, compiling a 46-7 record. He led the Ducks to two Bowl wins over his college coaching career, winning the 2012 Rose Bowl and the 2013 Fiesta Bowl.

Kelly became the head coach of the Eagles in 2013 and had a 26-22 record before being fired on December 29 following a 6-9 2015 season. However, the Eagles finished with a 10-6 record during each of his previous two seasons.

Prior to Kelly's hiring in San Francisco, the 49ers had met with Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, who is now the head coach of the Cleveland Browns, former New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin, Buffalo Bills assistant head coach and running backs coach Anthony Lynn, Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, who is now the quarterbacks coach for the Eagles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator and now head coach Dirk Koetter, and former Denver Broncos and Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan.

Prior to his hiring, writer Al Sacco examined the pros and cons of a bringing Kelly aboard. Mark Saltveit, author of "The Tao of Chip Kelly" and "Controlled Chaos: Chip Kelly's Football Revolution," wrote an excellent piece for The Mercury News examining the new 49ers coach's methodology.

Eagles Offensive Stats per Game (Rank)
Year Scoring Total Yards Passing Rushing
2013 27.6 (4) 417.3 (2) 256.9 (9) 160.4 (1)
2014 29.6 (3) 396.8 (5) 272.3 (6) 124.5 (9)
2015 23.6 (12) 239.4 (12) 255.4 (12) 108.9 (14)

Eagles Defensive Stats per Game (Rank)
Year Points Allowed Total Yards Passing Rushing
2013 23.4 (17) 394.0 (29) 289.8 (32) 104.3 (10)
2014 25.0 (22) 375.6 (28) 264.9 (31) 110.7 (15)
2015 26.9 (28) 401.6 (30) 267.1 (28) 134.6 (32)

Offensive Coordinator Curtis Modkins

It was reported that Modkins would become the 49ers' offensive coordinator on January 22. He has been a running backs coach with the Kansas City Chiefs, Arizona Cardinals, and Detroit Lions. He also served as the Buffalo Bills' offensive coordinator from 2010 through 2012. The Bills' rushing yards improved over each of his three seasons there. During head coach Chip Kelly's introductory press conference, he jokingly said, "I'm going to call the good plays and I'm going to have the offensive coordinator call the bad ones."

Of course, according to himself, Kelly will be "the guy on the sideline calling the plays" so Modkins' role may be more limited than typical offensive coordinators. He will likely be heavily involved in game preparation.

The other candidate for the job was Bills assistant head coach and running backs coach Anthony Lynn, who interviewed for the position.

Bills Offensive Stats per Game (Rank)
Year Scoring Total Yards Passing Rushing
2010 17.7 (28) 304.9 (25) 197.4 (24) 107.5 (18)
2011 23.3 (14) 351.5 (14) 231.4 (15) 120.1 (13)
2012 21.5 (21) 342.8 (19) 204.3 (25) 132.3 (6)

Defensive Coordinator Jim O'Neil

It was reported that O'Neil would become the 49ers' defensive coordinator on January 26. He was hired by the Browns in January of 2014 and then let go earlier this month. His NFL coaching experience includes stops with the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills.

O'Neil was a bit of a surprising hire given his reputation in Cleveland. While he is described as energetic, his results with the Browns were mixed and much of the fan blame for the team's defensive woes fell on his shoulders. Although, the argument could be made that he had very little to work with in Cleveland.

Other candidates for the job included 49ers linebackers coach Jason Tarver, who will remain as the team's outside linebackers coach, and Baltimore Ravens linebackers coach Don Martindale. Texans linebackers coach Mike Vrabel had been offered the job, but turned down the 49ers to remain in Houston. Even 2015 defensive coordinator Eric Mangini was considered a strong candidate prior to his firing.

It was reported today that Texans secondary coach John Butler also interviewed for the job prior to O'Neil's hiring.


Browns Defensive Stats per Game (Rank)
Year Points Allowed Total Yards Passing Rushing
2014 21.1 (9) 366.1 (23) 366.1 (23) 141.6 (32)
2015 27.0 (29) 379.2 (27) 250.8 (22) 128.4 (30)



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