After a six day delay that was apparently due to "not having clothes," Chip Kelly finally had his introductory press conference as the new head coach of the San Francisco 49ers on Wednesday afternoon. He spoke about a lot of things, and most topics were obviously 49ers related. But some of them touched on his past job with the Philadelphia Eagles. So if you're interested in that and not too busy complaining about how Chip is gone and you don't care and why am I posting this, well, feel free to read on.
Chip thanked the Eagles
"I want to thank Jeffrey Lurie for giving me the opportunity to coach there," Kelly said via Zach Berman of The Inquirer. "I left an organization that had great people, and meant a real lot to me and were really supportive of me, and I love the players I coached there.
But then he immediately commented on power structure
"But when you have the opportunity to do it again, it’s, can you be aligned with the people who are running the organization?"
Kelly clearly wasn't "aligned" with former Eagles general manager Howie Roseman before pushing for full control over Philadelphia's player personnel department in January 2015. Kelly stressed the term "football guy" over and over in this presser:
Chip: 'Trent Baalke is a football guy. I'm a football guy. I can't tell you what a blast it's been collaboratively working w.him.' #NFL— Matt Lombardo (@MattLombardo975) January 20, 2016
Chip shot down the rumor he was interested in Colin Kaepernick while in Philly
Chip said he did not try to trade for Kaepernick last year. Was happy with Bradford.— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski) January 20, 2016
Shortly after Kelly was hired by the 49ers, there were reports about how Kelly showed previous interest in 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Kelly denied that rumor.
Chip said players reached out to him after he got fired
Chip said Eagles players reached out to him after he got fired.— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) January 20, 2016
This answer was in response to a reporter questioning Kelly's "emotional intelligence" and ability to relate with players.
Chip confirmed 49ers GM Trent Baalke will control the 53-man roster
Kelly said he only wants to coach. Then again, that's literally exactly what he said in his first press conference with the Eagles.
Note that Kelly did have control over the 53-man roster ever since being hired by the Eagles.
Eagles fans can expect the 49ers offense to look familiar
Chip says he thinks the 49ers offense will look "somewhat similar" to how it did in Philadelphia.— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) January 20, 2016
... along with Kelly's offense's impact on the defense
Chip not acknowledging putting an enormous burden on his defense. Good luck with that bottom 5 defense the next 3 years, SF.— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski) January 20, 2016
Chip didn't really commit to Colin Kaepernick
Chip Kelly just praised Blaine Gabbert.— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) January 20, 2016
Ooooh, Chip not loving Kaep.— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski) January 20, 2016
Sure seemed it. May be competition for Sam Bradford. 49ers have tons of cap space. https://t.co/BrUnjNnlTa— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) January 20, 2016
This was one of the most interesting aspects of his press conference to me, so I saved it for last. I've already questioned if Kelly really wants Kaepernick to be his guy. Here's what I wrote at the time:
We don't know if Kelly likes Kaepernick for sure or not. We do know Kelly like Sam Bradford. The former Eagles coach traded a 2016 second round pick (along with Nick Foles) for the oft-injured quarterback last year. Kelly made it clear he wanted Bradford back on the Eagles in 2016 by saying: "We wouldn't have traded for [Bradford] if we thought he was going to be here for a year."
Bradford is going to be a free agent once the new league year starts. Perhaps the Eagles will let him walk to San Francisco if he's not in there plans. Or maybe the Eagles can franchise Bradford and hope to trade him to the 49ers. Deals like this aren't very common, but they're not unprecedented. The Patriots tagged Cassel before trading him for Kansas City's second round pick in 2009.
It's possible Bradford wants to leave Philadelphia, which he reportedly isn't so crazy about, and reunite with Kelly in San Francisco. If Kelly wants Bradford, the Eagles would be wise to try and get something in return for him instead of letting him walk in free agency.
Kelly's potential lack of interest in Kaepernick also could mean another quarterback option for the Eagles if the 49ers cut him loose.