10 Areas of Hope, Concern for the San Francisco 49ers in 2016
By Peter Panacy
Chip Kelly and the Coaching Staff
Chip Kelly will be a better head coach than Jim Tomsula. There shouldn’t be too much of a doubt to that.
And Kelly won’t have roster control in San Francisco — an aspect which derailed his tenure with the Philadelphia Eagles last season. That’s a good thing, and it leaves Kelly to put his offensive mindset to work for a team that finished dead last on offense in 2015 with just 238 points scored.
Kelly’s offense is frequently described as uptempo and fast-paced. But there is much more to it than that. It’s about creating favorable matchups, keeping defenses off balance and maximizing the talent available.
All sounds good, right?
Room for Hope
Kelly gets the most out of his players and puts them into situations where they can succeed. Just take a look at what Fox Sports’ Jason McIntyre had to say about San Francisco’s quarterback situation:
One key factor will be players having to buy into Kelly’s system. Earlier, we touched out how running back Carlos Hyde is excited about the upcoming campaign. And linebacker NaVorro Bowman also chimed in, via the team’s website, saying he was “all in” with Kelly’s approach.
New coaches, especially ones with a proven track record, frequently breathe new life into a franchise struggling to find its way.
And a predominantly young 49ers roster should be eager to reach for Kelly and take hold of what he’s trying to accomplish.
Room for Concern
Kelly’s efficiency with the Eagles lasted two years before his third season turned into a disaster. Aside from the personnel decisions, Kelly was nowhere close to being immune from former players’ frustrations with how he handled them on the field and in practice.
Does the same sort of thing happen in San Francisco, albeit possibly down the line?
On top of that, Kelly’s unique offensive style puts a burden on the defense.
At least according to NFL Films senior editor Greg Cosell (h/t CSN Bay Area), who had some words on new 49ers defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil:
"If you’re gonna be the defensive coordinator for Chip Kelly, you’re going to rank low. Fans need to understand that because they play a lot of plays. It’s hard to be ranked 10th or 11th because it’s just hard. That offense impacts the whole team. It’s not just an offense. And as I said, no matter how much better the talent might be, the numbers will probably not be great because you’re the defensive coordinator on a Chip Kelly team."
Maybe the 49ers are capable of scoring a lot of points this season. But, if Cosell is right, they’ll also give up a lot too.
Next: Colin Kaepernick vs. Blaine Gabbert