The San Francisco 49ers' hiring of Chip Kelly as their 19th head coach has kept them in the spotlight long after being eliminated from the playoffs. Among the many poll questions presented by NFL Networks show NFL Total Access prior to championship weekend, there was one poll that did not involve a playoff team. This poll asked viewers if the combination of Chip Kelly and Colin Kaepernick would be a success.
The twitter poll results showed that public belief is that Kelly can somehow resurrect Kaepernick's career by putting him in a system that can utilize his skills more advantageously than the past two seasons. There are a few people, however, who disagree with this concept. Not surprisingly, one of them is Heath Evans who has maintained his anti-Chip stance since Kelly was first hired by the Eagles. Host Dan Hellie even said to Evans something to the effect of, " I don't even need to ask you what your choice is."
Maybe because Evans was a fullback and Kelly doesn't utilize a FB per se (Maybe he will lighten up if Kelly uses Bruce Miller this season?). Maybe because he truly just doesn't believe the zone read works in the NFL. Regardless, it was no surprise that he voted 'no.' What was more of a surprise was that long time 49er and former game analyst Eric Davis agreed with him. Davis who is generally supportive of everything the 49ers front office does, gave an emphatic negative response to the idea that this new player/coach combination could reap rewards.
Analysts have been split. Mike Mayock told Around the NFL's Gregg Rosenthal, "I think for Colin Kaepernick's career, it's one of the best things that could have happened for him. It's very quarterback friendly as fas 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 different and very effective Colin Kaepernick next year."
One of the most important aspects of the zone read is accuracy in the passing game which was a struggle for Kaepernick in 2015. If Kelly can restore his confidence, the 49ers could have something that could be a serious problem for defenses to contain but until we see them on the field this fall, all anyone can do is speculate.