The San Francisco 49ers return to practice on Wednesday, which is also the day they have media availability with the opposing head coach and one player. The 49ers host the Philadelphia Eagles this week, which means Chip Kelly chatted with the media this morning. Tight end Zach Ertz will follow later today.
Kelly chatted for 15 minutes on a variety of topics. You can listen to the audio, but I decided to transcribe his phone call. I'd like to get them transcribed each week moving forward, but this one in particular intrigued me because Chip Kelly is a fascinating coach.
Kelly did not reveal a whole lot, but he had a chance to talk about coaching against Jim Harbaugh, Greg Roman, and Vic Fangio now and previously at Stanford. He talked about conditioning in his own programs, the 49ers new wrinkles, and a little bit about Zach Ertz. The funniest part was probably when someone ask if Zach Ertz had short arms. That was one criticism when he came out of Stanford. Kelly was pretty succinct in his response: "I was unaware that he had short arms. I think they're long enough to catch a football, because he does a really good job of that."
On coming back from big deficits:
Part of it's the opponent. You have to give credit to them for playing well. Every week in this league is a battle. There aren't many blowouts. every game is close, every game comes down to the fourth quarter. And I think that gets lost in it. You need to give credit to the other team you're playing, too.
On being better equipped for second half:
We've always felt our team is in good condition to play a full 60 minutes. That's the question.
When did training habits develop in his coaching philosophy:
We've always wanted to be, no matter where I've been, a well-conditioned team. You never want to lose the game because the other team was in better shape than you. You wanted to leave it up to which team executes the best, and which team plays the best, and not which team is in the best shape. Everywhere I've been our teams have always been very well conditioned.
They're obviously an outstanding football team. They got hurt with penalties, especially on third down there in the second half, and allowed Arizona to convert some plays on them. They obviously were a little bit different on offense when they came out with 5-wides and 4-wides, and a lot of different looks that they normally don't do. And that may have had something to do with Vernon Davis being out. But one thing you have to know is they will provide some exotic looks you need to be prepared for, because they do such a good job with it. I think some of the 5-wide stuff, which was new for them...And really, their defense played well, I just think the penalties hurt them.
On whether Harbaugh Stanford time reflects in 49ers:
No, I think they're different a little bit. They're a little bit more exotic than they were even at Stanford. I think maybe because they have more time with their players, and they got smart players on the offensive side of the ball. I've had a lot of respect for Jimmy and Greg Roman going against them because they can scheme up the run game as good as anybody I've ever seen.
On surprise of 49ers 5-wide usage:
I don't think anything's surprising when you play against a Jim Harbaugh or Greg Roman team. I think they are going to use every weapon available to them. They're always working to gain an advantage, so I wasn't surprised they did it. It's just one of those things you chuckle to yourself that they've got another wrinkle now. They're always going to have a wrinkle, and they're always going to find a way to be successful on the offensive side of the ball.
On Fangio, 49ers defense and Stanford:
He's been a 3-4 spacing guy, does a lot of different things in his nickel package. So he's similar from that standpoint. The one thing that stands out for him defensively is the players. Patrick Willis is arguably one of the best inside linebackers in the league. Justin Smith is everything you want in a 3-4 defensive end. Brooks can rush the quarterback from the outside. Ian Williams is playing at a high level. That front seven is very formidable, and it sticks out to you.
On Eagles offensive line injury concerns:
We feel confident in our guys. We felt our second offensive line did a very good job in the preseason. When they had an opportunity to get in there, we think the style that we train, our guys get a lot of reps in our training sessions, gives them an opportunity. When their chance comes, and it's called upon to go in a game, I don't feel like they're under-prepared. They're prepared to go in in those situations. We've obviously lost a couple people here early in these first three games. And it's no different, every team is dealing with injuries. San Francisco, Vernon was out, they lost one of the best tight ends in the league. I think you just have to make adjustments as you go.
Importance of Jason Kelce (injured center) in an athletic offense:
It's part of what we do, and David Molk is an athletic center. He fits in the same mold as Kelce, we're always looking for some athleticism in there at that position.
On Nick Foles second half comebacks:
What I've known all along, Nick's a gamer. Nick's an unbelievable competitor. I got a chance to see his toughness when I faced him in college, and people are getting a chance to see it now. You've always got a shot when he's pulling the trigger.
Emergence of Jordan Matthews:
We knew what Jordan was capable of doing, and a lot of what happens to us offensively depends on how people are going to defend us. Are you going to take one aspect away, or another aspect away? Are you going to take our outside receivers away, or our inside receivers, or our tight end, or our running back? But we feel like we have weapons at all of our positions offensively. We got to figure out how to make adjustments, depending on how defenses are facing us. It's the reason we drafted Jordan where we drafted him. He was very high on our board. We wanted to get bigger at the wide receiver spot, especially in the slot. Thought it would create some good matchups for us, and it's paying off for us.
On being considered an innovator:
I don't know. The Buffalo Bills ran an up-tempo offense. Tom Brady has run an up-tempo offense. The Cincinnati Bengals back in the day with Sam Wyche ran an up-tempo offense. Peyton Manning in his career has done it, whether he was in Indianapolis or Denver. That's why I say it, because it's true (that he's not an innovator in the NFL).
On history with Greg Roman and Jim Harbaugh and offseason visits:
Two guys I've got great respect for. Greg has come up to visit when I was at Oregon and when they went to the 49ers. Obviously, when they were at Stanford and I was at Oregon, we didn't share any notes on anything. But when they got to the League, Greg came up once and visited with us. And we shared ideas. And I had an opportunity during an open date when I was at Oregon in-season to go down and visit with those guys. Just two guys I have great, great respect for; two really good football coaches.
On coaches visiting Oregon:
We had a lot of guys want to come up, but only a few come in ... It only fit a few people's schedule in the window of time we had available.
On 49ers using some Oregon stuff:
Yeah, I think they run some zone read stuff with Kap. They do a really good job with it, and they've added their own wrinkles to it. I don't think when anybody visits anybody, they say, "Hey, I'm going to take this exactly from them." I think you learn, and you think, "How can I apply this to the personnel I have?" And I think that's a strength of Jim and Greg, that they adapt their offense to their personnel.
On LaMichael James being a free agent:
Yea, I think LaMichael is a hell of a football player. I think maybe the timing had something to do with it, because people's rosters might have been set. But I know him first hand. I had an opportunity to coach him. I love the kid. He's an awesome football player. He's an awesome person.
On Eagles running backs and LMJ:
I was unaware of anybody ever contacting us to trade about anybody, but I feel very confident with LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles and Chris Polk. We've got three backs active and Chris returned a kickoff for a touchdown last week. Obviously, everybody knows was Darren and Lesean can do. I look at our running back position as a position of strength for us.
On Zach Ertz performance vs. expectations:
Yea, you knew, the one thing about Zach is how versatile is. His ability to play tight end, his ability to play in the slot, his ability to line up as a wide receiver. You can line him up in a lot of different spots, and they did at Stanford. Both when Jimmy was there, and David Shaw was there. They produced some really good tight ends at Stanford. What Zach is doing in the National Football League is similar to the success he had at Stanford.
On Ertz's short arms:
I was unaware that he had short arms. I think they're long enough to catch a football, because he does a really good job of that.
On science over tradition in running a program:
I have just always been a person that's questioned why. If something's been done in the past, in speaking to the tradition part of it, I would just ask why. There's a lot of times where the why is explained to me, and that makes great sense. We'll continue to do it that way. The one thing I will not accept is the answer, "Well, that's the way it's always been done." Just give me a better reason than that. There's hard facts of this is why it's supposed to be done this way. And there was a lot of things when I questioned and I get the answer, I'm like, "That's a really good answer, we'll continue to do that." I think everybody evolves. You go back 50 years ago, you weren't allowed to have water at practice. And if you had water, you were soft. And I think people smartened up and learned the science behind hydration. Again, I don't think we're on the cutting edge of that. I think we emphasize what we thinks will put our players in the best position to be successful on Sundays.
On if he is using tight ends more than in college:
No, we had great success in college. We had [Ed] Dickson, who is still in the league, who was All-Pac 12 tight end for us when we were at Oregon. David Paulson who was just with the Steelers and had been in the league, was an All-Pac 12 tight end. We've always been a tight end operation.
On picking up things from Harbaugh/Roman at 49ers, Stanford:
Yes, I'm an information gatherer.
Specifics he can point to:
Not off the top of my head.
On being open to share info (breaks down film on philadelphiaeagles.com):
No, I think other people do it. I've seen Bill Belichick. I'm from New England originally, and they've had the Belestrator for a long time. I don't think that's anything new to the NFL.