Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kelly & Kap? Not so fast

Brandon Graham
Jan 18, 2016 at 1:43 PM

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When Jim Harbaugh was hired, champagne was uncorked.

When Jim Tomsula was hired, a collective groan infested Twitter.

Chip Kelly announced as the new head coach of the 49ers? Emotionally charged might be the most accurate way to describe fan reaction.

"Players don't like him."

"Finally, someone who can save Kap!"

"He's a weirdo."

"This is exactly what our offense needs."

"His scheme has been exposed and defense is a foreign concept to him."

Regardless of your take on the hire, no one can blame Jed York and Trent Baalke for being risk averse with this decision. Chip Kelly is a bold choice.

This offseason has proven to be a less-than inspiring time to be in search of a head coach. Trent Baalke has to wonder if the team would even be in this position had they hired Adam Gase instead of Tomsula last January (probably not).

Was Sean Payton ever really "available"? Maybe, but at what cost?

Was Hue Jackson truly the team's first choice? All sources indicate an offer was never made.

A contingency of fans longed for the "Mike Shanahan Time Machine" hoping a link to a past Super Bowl would restore the franchise to greatness.

In the end the was Chip and given that he was reportedly the first guy to interview for the job, could it be deemed that he was the front-runner all along? I imagine some version of that will be put out into the universe whenever the introductory press-conference takes place.

The fans who seem thrilled and/or at least most satisfied with this hire appear to be the ones most hopeful for a Colin Kaepernick career-resurrection. This group see's Chip Kelly coming to town as an assurance that the 49ers still see value in getting Kap back on track.

"Look what he did with Mariota! Chip will do wonders with Kap."

I'm among the few who do not necessarily see a Chip/Colin combo as automatic as others. His ability in the zone-read is certainly a strength, but what of his slower-than-average release? Short and intermediate route inaccuracy? These are attributes that Chip Kelly's offense are predicated on.

That's not to say I'm not hopeful that Kelly could fix, or at least improve, the issues that haunted Colin Kaepernick this past season. If he can get number seven on track, then this hire will more than likely be a rousing success.

I believe Chip Kelly has provided a mixed-emotion amongst fans notably because it forces them to re-evaluate their feelings about Colin Kaepernick.

The Kap camp rejoices, while the other half proclaims, "I thought that ship had sailed."

Who is the right quarterback for Chip Kelly?

Sam Bradford? Nick Foles? Jared Goff?

The team will say all the right things regarding current players on the roster (i.e. Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert), but my sense is that Chip Kelly already knows who he wants behind center in 2016.

And just like his hiring, the quarterback decision will be just as polarizing.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


  • Jay
    People also forget that Kaep is totally lacking football IQ and field vision. He lacks confidence in his ability to throw a receiver open, still has issues with touch passes, and lacks the ability to feel pass rush pressure while in the pocket. Perhaps the most aggravating thing about him is he has really never taken the QB position seriously. Most QBs spend the off-season working with QB gurus to hone and develop their skills. They study film, work on mechanics, do fitness drills that are QB friendly. Kap has spent all but last off-season bulking up and getting faster. It doesn't matter what a QB looks like with his shirt off, only what he looks like with the ball.
    Feb 2, 2016 at 5:58 PM
  • Ladale
    Colin Kaepernick has 0 flexibility in his arm because of all that darn weightlifting that so many warned him about.. A pitching arm has to be loose with a boomerang effect. Right now he's strong arming passes and gone from Elway like to Tebow like.. If he comes back with that right arm thinner, loose, and flexible then it's game on..
    Jan 24, 2016 at 3:09 PM
  • AJ Dembroski
    Carson Wentz
    Jan 24, 2016 at 9:14 AM
  • Kimberly
    People should loosen up on Kapp he is young and has not sat behind a starting qb to be able to watch and learn field tactics as Montana, young,smith and many other great qb have he was a rookie thrown in 1st season when smith was injured so all these complainers ever do is complain but should think great qb develope if Kapp sat on sidelines behind Montana for years as young did watching /learning seeing whole field without pressure of play of course he would see everything so when his time came to start he would have all his knowledge and abilities to see field scan and react fast from pocket but Kapp never got that luxury of setting behind a great qb that being said Kapp is good and will be great him being injured as he was without our knowledge of his injuries and still playing and performing as he did with those injuries is a statement to not only his capabilities but also his work ethic and character I think this little time out for him and getting injuries taken care of is going to be and do wonders for him and we are going to to see a Kapp even better then first season o believe in him and my team Kapp is the qb for the 49ers have some faith you faithful give the kid a chance
    Jan 22, 2016 at 12:36 PM
    @jay....You are exactly right, I've been saying that from the start. He ( Kap ) makes poor decisions with the ball and in every big game it showed every time ( SB..NFCC ) I still feel like he cost us 2 SB's.
    Jan 20, 2016 at 6:08 AM
  • moe
    I find it funny how so called real niner fans can so quickly forget how Kaep was suppose to b the beast thing for the niners after he took over for smith, I will be the first to say I thought it was crazy at first until Kaep proved that he could beat some of the better teams, and when he was ballin he still had the same inaccuracies that he has now but as long as we were win nobody had a problem wit it now that we are losing everyone wants to say he is a shit qb, I hope chip stays with Kaep at qb and he returns to the qb that took us to the super bowl and then watch everyone jump back on his wagon and b like I always believed in Kaep... One thing I won't do is give up on him because this is not tennis and it takes more than just one man to win in the NFL and we lost 20 players in the off season
    Jan 19, 2016 at 1:00 PM
  • Nick
    CK7 has proven that he has issues with read and react even when we had a strong team and quite frankly is responsible for losing the SB (e.g. 3 and out to Crabtree). How is Kelly going to fix him when the flaws are evident? I say draft QB talent and let Gabbert start. Harbaugh could not fix him is Kelly a better coach I think not....
    Jan 19, 2016 at 9:52 AM
  • Marvin Rose
    HIs offense will not work in the NFL, This is the NFL not the pac 12, good lord.
    Jan 19, 2016 at 7:31 AM
  • okie dokie
    Kap isn't a Chip QB. Gabbert is a better mold than Kap is. Kap is simply too rigid and flawed in his mechanics and possesses VERY poor instincts inside the pocket AND when trying to anticipate a receiver coming open. That's not a mental insufficiency but a talent insufficiency. Kap also appears to be about one second behind when trying to assess, read, react to a defense and its scheme. That's a "buffering" issue. Chip can't "fix" Kap because Kap is what he is. A truly mobile QB is able to elude a rush in the first 1-2 steps but those first 1-2 steps for Kap are always too elongated unlike, say, a Russell Wilson who is quick and agile. Kap is neither of those. Kap's ONLY running weapon is when he can be in the wide open terrain but that's the's getting him TO that point where he's not a mobile QB.
    Jan 19, 2016 at 7:15 AM
  • Ray
    Why would you want to make Gabbert a starter next year. He won 3 games against bad teams. 2 of those games were won, or at least greatly helped by missed field goals by the other team. Kap has more post season experience by far. If he was hurt last year, it's a little too much to judge him harshly based on his stats. Kapernick did beat a playoff team in week 1. It wasn't pretty for either team, but the 49ers won. Stop the Gabbert talk already. Either let Kap compete or start the search for your next franchise QB. Gabbert will be wanting big money when his contract expires next year if he's able to get anything done. Why not just pay the cap friendly deal already in front of you. Either way....You still don't know what you have until next season.
    Jan 19, 2016 at 12:08 AM
  • trath44
    Colin Kraepernick is a proven loser. He choked in crunch time and cost us 3 super bowls. And the only reason we made it was our outstanding defense. Dude has no touch, freezes under pressure, is wildly inaccurate, can't read the defense, doesn't even notice a WR totally uncovered on his flank. Chip Kelly can't magically turn him into a decent QB.
    Jan 18, 2016 at 10:41 PM
  • Sly
    Every time I read these articles & see the comments it's easy to tell Niners fans that are from Cali. They're the ones constantly screaming about Goff when the rest us nationwide are like "What the f#$k are they carrying on about?" Goff isn't the qb Cam or Luck were coming out & most of the same analyst who rank him high don't even think he's ready to play year one. He's built like my eight year daughter & has a good arm not great. The other thing being disconnected from local media does is keep the rest of us from being as brainwashed by local scrutiny from local SF media outlets as the rest of you, KNBR probably being the worst. You follow up idiots with the can't read a defense & worse, the mental accumine comments which are outright insulting. Any of you clowns ever met Kap or talked with him to understand his mental makeup? No. You just follow the same script of stereotypical bullshit that always follows minority qbs. Gabbert absolutely sucked here in Jacksonville which is 45min from my front door.Gabbert has almost a 1to1 TD/Int ratio for his career. No one ever questioned his intelligence. Kap was great his first 2yrs, the roster goes to crap & now he's a dummy. Ridiculous
    Jan 18, 2016 at 9:05 PM
  • Frank M
    I don't think Kap has the mental capacity, accuracy or decisiveness Gabbert does...Blaine could thrive in Kelly's offense. I don't see Baalke drafting either Lynch or Goff...but I could see him taking the big kid from ND State, Wentz. He's got size, accuracy, can run, seemingly all the prerequisites for Kelly's offense. But, we don't know who's in Kelly's mind yet...but I get your point, it may not be Kap...particularly for $16M.
    Jan 18, 2016 at 8:06 PM
  • Daniners
    I love Goff, but he won't be there and we won't trade up. The better question is whether we will take Lynch if he is there @ 7. Could you imagine if krappernick sucks and Blaine is Blaine. I mean, we are going to put all our eggs in those baskets? Chip cannot afford to. Yes, the smart move, the insurance is to trade up for Goff, but Butthead, I mean Baalke, is not that prudent nor smart. However, he might get be smart enough to grab Lynch, who has huge upside and potential.
    Jan 18, 2016 at 6:44 PM
  • Alan
    Only if we hadn't won those those meaningless games against the Bears and Rams, plus not hiring Chip Kelly, we might have been in the running for Jared Goff. But, if you are telling me Jared Goff is still in play at 7th and Baalke/Kelly drafts him, it would make me feel a whole lot better. Otherwise, the combination of Kelly's ineffective Power Spread system in the NFL together with Kap's ineptitude and inability to be an NFL QB, it will set the 9ers back for years and mark the beginning of yet another Dark Ages.
    Jan 18, 2016 at 6:11 PM
  • JPaul
    Hey Jay, You know the WCO is a pass-first offense, right? Walsh used a short horizontal passing game to set up the run. If you go back and look at the runners for SF it was very diversified. There weren't many 1000 yard rushers other than Roger Craig for a few seasons. What made the the WCO so special was it's unique use of runningbacks in the passing game. It wasn't until Shanahan and Jon Gruden (or Cincinnati's Weich earlier) that the WCO began using power running to set up the pass.
    Jan 18, 2016 at 3:40 PM
  • Jay
    If you knew anything about a Chip Kelly offense you know that it has many similarities to the West Coast offense. First, it is a run-first offense dependent on an effective multi-layered stable of runners.The read-option is only a facet of the run game designed, as stated before, to leave the defense a man short. Each play sets up the next which sets up the "big play", usually a long pass or an intermediate pass with a wide open receiver running down the seam after the defense has been forced to crowd the box to stop the run. The QB has to be accurate and deliver the ball as quickly as the open receiver is identified. That requires that the QB be football savvy, be able to scan the field quickly to ID the best target, then get the ball to him quickly and on target with a catchable ball. Kaep lacks most of the qualities required. Instead of working on strength and speed training, from Day One Kaep should have been working on his craft. He had to be aware of the areas of his game that needed work. He should have working to improve those. He tried to do that last off-season, but I am afraid it was too little too late; his bad habits had taken hold. Chip cannot fix that.
    Jan 18, 2016 at 3:19 PM
  • Steve
    Watching these playoff games, its amazing how these quarterbacks can have tea and crumpets behind those offensive lines. Thats what we need. Keep has done it already. Why not again?
    Jan 18, 2016 at 3:17 PM
  • kevin
    The whole argument that kaep is not the right guy because he's not a pocket passer with an arm for deep threat is rediculous. We knew that when we drafted him and that was NEVER the plan. The pistol always leaves the defense one man short. If the defense is always one man short we always win. Theres no need to show boat the same tired tactics. The Westcoast offense gimmick is old enough to rent a car. Its over. We dont need a deep threat. Deep threats are for 3rd and long situations we dont belong in.
    Jan 18, 2016 at 2:49 PM
  • Kevin
    Kaep didnt have a problem last year asode from an offensive coordinator who didn't understand how to use Kaepernick's strength which is the pistol, and an offensive line that was hands down the worst in the NFL. Chip is a pisol heavy coach who never had an athletic QB to pull it off. Kaep is an athletic pistol QB whose offensive coordinator him to be a pocket passer instead of using the pistol. Kaep's problem was a crappy line and an offensive coordinator with no vision
    Jan 18, 2016 at 2:37 PM
  • D. Mcbride
    Another big name made it known that he was interested. What happened to Mike Holgram?
    Jan 18, 2016 at 2:22 PM
  • Nick S.
    As I said on Facebook, congratulations on writing an article that contributes absolutes nothing new to the conversation. You could have just posted a giant question mark and accomplished the same thing as this article does. "What's gonna happen is anyone's guess." Thanks for clearing that up Brandon!
    Jan 18, 2016 at 2:20 PM
    Response: Ha. Sorry to waste your time Nick.
  • Don
    I think the winning move is start Gabbert,trade or cut Kaepernick and draft a future QB. I am a huge Jared Goff guy. The kid is tough, has all the intangibles, has an assassins mentality and is deadly accurate. He's the guy but doubt Hugh Jackson will pass on him. So the Niners either trade up or take Paxton Lynch, Carson Wentz or back way off and go with a developmental guy in the latter rounds. Me I get Goff no matter what. You cannot pass on a franchise QB and trust me he is. Look at the great Aaron Rodgers and think about the fact this kid blew up his records as a junior..
    Jan 18, 2016 at 2:18 PM
  • Paul
    Kaep will have to study a lot instead of trying to get by on talent alone. Gabbert is 2 years younger (I didn't know that until now). I can't blame him too much for Jacksonville. He is mobile and could still turn into something. Gabbert is way cheaper meaning they could sign more players. When I heard Kelly was interviewing I thought Kaep may still have a life. Lot of negative comments from the fan base, but they won 5 with Tomsula. With some key free agency pick ups they could be in the mix for a wild card.
    Jan 18, 2016 at 2:11 PM
  • Kingofdasip
    I think it's time to move on from Kap, Gabbert is better as far as decision making, deep accuracy, well accuracy period, better mechanics, reads defenses better, and he's no slouch when it comes to athleticism either. We've already seen the best of Kap when he had a solid o-line, running game, and a great defense. When that faded away and defenses got film on Kap's flaws it was over with for him. He's a little below average now. Play Gabbert, draft Treadwell, sign Von Miller or Bruce Irvin in free agency and hire Jim Schwartz and switch to a 4-3 defense because we no longer have the personnel to run a 3-4 anymore and we'll be ok. Next year draft Chad Kelly or Watson to learn the game. If Chip can put his stubbornis aside and hire the right coaching staff and slow down the offense a little bit we're back in the playoffs with good drafting and a free agency splash
    Jan 18, 2016 at 1:59 PM

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