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State of The 49ers: Chip Kelly Edition

Stewart M. Cockrell
Jan 21, 2016 at 9:03 AM


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I'll go on record to say I am on the fence about the Chip Kelly hire as the 19th head coach of the 49ers. On one hand, I have a little excitement like I had when Harbaugh was hired. On the other, it is hard to ignore the dumpster fire of the 2015 season Kelly had in Philadelphia. Top that with rumors about his personality and you can see where there can be some trepidation on my part as a fan. Even though I like to subscribe to the adage of "Where there is smoke there is fire," since I don't know Kelly personally, I will be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and be objective about him as a coach until he proves me otherwise.

Being totally objective, Kelly is bringing his offense to the NFC West, a division that has proven over the last few years to be a very tough division to play against and to play in. While Kelly was very successful, it could be argued that the NFC East hasn't been the most competitive of divisions over the past three years compared to the NFC West. Over the past three seasons, the NFC East had a combined record of 86-106. The NFC West over that time was 114-78 over the same time period, including the 2014 season where the NFC West played the NFC East and compiled a 12-4 record against NFC East Teams. Of that 12-4 record, the Eagles did contribute winning one game against the NFC West, during week 5 against the St. Louis Rams, in which they held a 34-7 lead that was cut to 34-28 with a little over four minutes left in the game. In his three years in Philadelphia, he was 2-4 against NFC West teams, beating the Rams and the Cardinals each one time.

Looking at the sample of Kelly's games against the NFC West shows us a couple of things offensively. The below stats are averages per game over his six games versus the teams in the NFC West.

Eagles Opponents
First Downs 18.5 24.3
Third Down Conversions 39.5% 44%
Passing Yards 251.2 296.5
Rushing Yards 82.7 148.2

What does this all mean? The likely answer is nothing because it is impossible to compare the Eagles players to the players on the 49ers. However, it does provide some insight how an Eagles team with some elite talent on the offensive side of the ball performed against teams that excel at defense (at least in some facet) across the board in the NFC West. Over the past three seasons, the average rank of NFC West defenses has been 11th in the league and that even takes into account the drastic drop off by the 49ers this season from 5th to 29th. Average Eagles defense over the past three seasons was 23rd in the league.

Again I ask, what does this all mean? It is hard to quantify because so much changes year to year. We do know that Kelly's offense can put a lot of pressure on his defense to be on the field more. For 49ers players that are holdovers from the 2015 season, that shouldn't be too much of an issue because the 49ers seemed to specialize in three and outs last year. However, one has to have a bit of caution when playing teams with better than average defenses because letting them rest all game just makes it that harder to keep the game close in the 4th quarter. One good thing the 49ers have going for them, at least defensively, is they are young.

That all being said, of all the coaching candidates that were available to the 49ers, Chip Kelly is clearly the most talented and in touch with where the NFL is going offensively. Outside of Adam Gase or Sean Payton, he was likely the best choice for the team wanting an offensive minded coach. If he can be paired with a dominant defense, this team could be scary as it has a lot of good young weapons.
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.


4 Comments

  • 50yearformerfaithful
    I see they have re arranged the deck chairs on the Titanic again. Nothing has changed except for a new fall guy. This is still 100% about the incompetence of the York Family of greedy ignoble football idiots. The absolute worst NFL owners in the league. The inept dentist taught his cut from he cloth failure son how to take winners and turn them in to losers. A two time accomplishment of failure by the york family. How may times must they repeat failure before recognizing their pure and uncompromising incompetence? The 49ers will build another 10-6 team sniff the playoff and then ride another slide to mediocrity or worse. The 49ers will never win another superb with the Yorks as owners. The closest they will get is watching it from the lame stadium they built while flushing the faithful down the toilet. They are even so stupid to use the faithful in todays marketing. The FAITHFUL term was created by those of us fan who repeated bought season tickets and kept the 40er home games on TV in SF year after year. Raiders had blackouts but NEVER the 49ers because of the FAITHFUL. Many like my entire family gave up our 6 season tickets and now laugh at the joke that has become the 49ers.
    Jan 24, 2016 at 6:37 AM
    0
  • Tom Cox
    Good Article Stewart: Time will tell with Chip Kelly, I was not really excited when I heard the news of his hiring, Jed York and his Buddy Trent Balake needed a big Swing, and got one in Chip, But to me, With the loss of so many starters from the 2014 Season, This team is going to take some time to Re-Build Through the Draft and Free Agency, Balake is getting another chance to do this, So lets hope he can take a Big Swing in the Draft, and Chip Kelly does not scare away Free agents from coming here to play, Because the fans are out of patience!
    Jan 21, 2016 at 11:33 AM
    0
    Response: I'm willing to see how it plays out. The problem is our team just isn't built for his offense in my view. So we spend 2-3 years drafting his type of players and then what happens if it doesn't pan out? We are stuck for another 2-3 years rebuilding another coaches dream team.
  • Scott
    So far I like what I see as far as the changes, But like Dallas said anything is a tremendous improvement over last years train wreck.
    Jan 21, 2016 at 9:41 AM
    0
  • Dallas Niner Fan
    At the very least we have a tremendous improvement in coaching from last year.
    Jan 21, 2016 at 9:21 AM
    0


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