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Greg Cosell discusses 49ers DC Jim O'Neil, a good friend of his

NFL Films senior producer Greg Cosell had his weekly KNBR segment on Wednesday, and he had a chance to talk about new 49ers DC Jim O'Neil. He has know O'Neil for some time and called him a "good" friend. We've got a full transcript, and you can listen to audio here.

On 49ers hiring Jim O'Neil:

"I can go very deep, and in the name of full disclosure. Jimmy is a good friend of mine. I know Jim really well, and I know his philosophy, and I know a lot about him."

On his philosophy:

Well, he's been with Mike Pettine for a number of years. So, there's a big belief in pressure, and different kinds of pressures. He's been mostly a 3-4 guy, but there's a lot of hybrid concepts with 4-3 principles as well. There's a lot of dimensions to what Jim wants to do defensively. Now, much of that depends on personnel, and obviously he needs now to evaluate the 49ers personnel, and that will dictate I'm sure how much pressure, how much coverage. But he's very multiple just by his thought process and he likes to be aggressive.

On being similar to Mangini:

I would say that their backgrounds are a little different. I mean, Mangini grew up a little bit more in the Belichick school, which is not as pressure-based. Can be pressure, but not really a pressure-based foundation. I would say Jim's a little more pressure-based as a foundation. And I think he would like to do that. Now it comes down to his evaluation of personnel.

On how he got to know O'Neil:

Well, I've known Mike Pettine for a while, and as I said, Jim actually went to high school in the local Philadelphia area. He played for Mike Pettine's dad in high school. He's a Philly guy initially, he's an east coast guy initially. So no, he's been to [NFL] Films, I've watched tape with him. We've spent some time together.

On connections with Chip Kelly:

That I don't know. I don't know how this whole DC thing played out. We know that Mike Vrabel was interviewed and he turned it down. I don't know who else was interviewed. You guys might know this. But I don't know what the connection is there.

On poor defensive rankings:

If you're gonna be the defensive coordinator for Chip Kelly, you're going to rank low. And I think fans need to understand that, because they play a lot of plays. It's hard to be ranked 10th or 11th when you're the d coordinator for a Chip Kelly team, because it's just hard. Bill Davis, who you guys know from San Francisco, he was the DC here in Philly for the last three years, and I don't think he did a bad job at all, but the rankings are bad because that offense impacts the whole team. It's not just an offense.

On O'Neil and 49ers personnel:

I think safeties are important in the Jim O'Neil world-view of defense. And I think with Reid and Tartt, you've certainly got two big safeties. You know, Tartt ended up playing close to the line of scrimmage a lot before Bethea got hurt, when he ended up becoming the starter with Reid. But prior to that, he was really their dime safety, played close to the line of scrimmage. Tartt showed a lot of versatility, I think he'd be the kind of a player that Jim O'Neil would look at and feel is a good player for my defense.

On why 49ers fans should be optimistic:

Again, because I'm friends with him. I think he's really sharp. I think he's really passionate. I think he really cares. Obviously people are going to look at Cleveland's defense which was not very good this year, and it was not very good for a number of reasons. But I think he's a bright young coach. Now, don't forget, when you're young too as a coach, you go through a learning process as well. That's part of the gig. People just automatically assume because these guys are coordinators or whatever, that they know everything. You go through a learning curve in anything you do when you're fairly new at it, and I think Jim probably went through that in Cleveland. They had some struggles on the defensive side of the ball. They didn't have a ton of talent, but they certainly did have some struggles. And I would expect him to have learned and be better. Now it comes down to, what's the talent? Can you be significantly better without a significant influx of talent? And as I said, no matter how much better the talent might be, the numbers will probably not be great because you're the defensive coordinator on a Chip Kelly team.

On why he'd want job as Chip Kelly DC given rankings might be low:

Well, and that's what happened. He was out of a job, he got an opportunity to be a DC, he's not gonna say no. I mean, there's only 32 of those jobs.