When it comes to naming QBs as starters early on, Chip Kelly has been paying attention to the NFL and he's seen that doing so can end up being a pointless exercise.
"I just got here," he said. "Who was the starting quarterback last year going into camp for the 49ers? And who was the starting quarterback who finished the season? Who was the starting quarterback [in camp] for the Seattle Seahawks? Matt Flynn. Who was the starting quarterback [at the end of the season]? Russell Wilson. Now, (Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll) are two guys that I respect the heck out of, I've coached against both of those guys. They're tremendous coaches. They named their starting quarterback and then they had a competition, and the other guy won the job. If I name one, what am I going to gain? How do I name him in my position? We've been out there in shorts and T-shirts since April 1, and I'm going to name a starting quarterback out of that? They haven't been hit, there's been no rush, I don't think it's fair."
Kelly also made it clear that even when a starter is named, the competition will remain ongoing.
"I reserve the right to change anything," he said. "The best players play, and just because you're the starter, you still need to understand that it's always on the line. It's on the line every single day for you. So if I name Joe Jones the starting quarterback and his first 50 passes are interceptions, I better make sure I go to the number two guy. Just because they were named the starter, that's not it. Now what's the next step? Just because you get drafted, you didn't make the NFL. Now you've got to make the team. Now you make the team, you've got to become the starter. Now when you've become the starter, now what do you do? Now what's the next step? You have to be successful."
Let's just all be happy that this Joe Jones and his 50 interceptions is not part of this team...
While Chip Kelly's stressing of competition is positive and should in the end yield the best guy for the job, it's also a matter of circumstance here. The main reason Chip hasn't named a starter isn't because he loves competition so much, it's that there just isn't an obvious starter on the team.
I'm sure he'll always want some competition, but let's be honest, if this was 5 or 6 years ago and Donovan McNabb was still here, we likely would not be hearing these lines from Chip.