The San Francisco 49ers hired Chip Kelly on Thursday, ending the franchise’s search for Jim Tomsula’s replacement after going 5-11 for the 2015 season and landing the former Philadelphia Eagles head coach with his second NFL head coaching job.
“As one of the most historic franchises in the National Football League, I realize the high standards and expectations that this position demands and I embrace the challenges ahead,” Kelly said in statement on Thursday.
Following three seasons in Philadelphia, Kelly was fired after a failed roster reconstruction, which included: trading Nick Foles to the (then) St. Louis Rams for Sam Bradford, signing DeMarco Murray, not resigning wide receivers Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson as well as offensive linemen Todd Herremans and Evan Mathis.
During his tenure in Philadelphia the only quarterbacks that appeared to thrive in his offense in some form were Micheal Vick and Nick Foles.
“What Kelly did not have in Philadelphia was a quarterback who could handle the second part of the zone read,” NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock said Thursday. “Everything was a zone give, not a zone keep. And they had to do an awful lot of different things to work around the fact that they didn’t have an athletic quarterback.”
Before Kelly’s hiring, former Washington Redskins and Denver Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan was also a candidate for the vacancy.
With Kelly’s innovative offensive game plan headed to the San Francisco Bay, general manager Trent Baalke and CEO Jed York are getting what they went searching for — an experienced coach who knows what he wants in terms of his offensive game plan.
“Chip possesses all the qualities we were looking for in our next head coach,” Baalke said in a statement. “He has demonstrated the ability to be innovative everywhere he has coached and has had great success throughout his career. Chip’s passion for the game and vision for the future of this team clearly stood out to us during the search process. He is an extremely driven individual that I look forward to working with.”
Kelly’s arrival brings the question of quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s ability to resurrect his career in San Francisco.
“I think for Colin Kaepernick‘s career, it’s one of the best things that could have happened for him,” Mayock added. “… It’s very quarterback-friendly as far as the pass game is concerned. There are a lot of fairly simple reads and I think Kaepernick can pick it up very quickly and I think you’ll probably see a very efficient and very effective Colin Kaepernick next year.”