Chip Kelly spoke to the media after the San Francisco 49ers dropped their 13th game of the season. He spoke about many things but refused to elaborate on the in-house suspension of LB Gerald Hodges. He said it was a coaching decision but would offer nothing more. He would not comment if this was a one game punishment for the linebacker, not verifying if he would play in Los Angeles or not.
Kelly explained the plan to go with Zane Beadles at center was really because of experience. He has more playing time than rookie and defensive line convert Alex Balducci so they went with Beadles after the loss of Marcus Martin. Kelly also spoke about dropped passes being one of the biggest issues for the offense before looking at the game film. He also explained that Christian Ponder has taken over the number two quarterback spot behind Colin Kaepernick as a result of things they’ve seen from him in practice.
Here’s the full transcript:
Can you talk about the loss of so many players to injury?
I haven’t been in a game like this. We lost five during the game. We had to do a lot of mixing and matching. Give our players credit, they had to play out of position at times. Beadles went from tackle to center, a couple maneuvers on defense while it was going on. Just the nature of the game, that’s the league. Everybody as the same rules. We all dress 46 so we gotta make the 46 work. I think the only two that didn’t play were Balducci and Ponder.
How tough is it starting off in a 21 point hole?
Yes, obviously with that explosive of an offense you want to try and see of you can get a few stops to give yourself a chance. I thought our guys battled back to get 14 there in the first half, but we can’t start in a hole like against this good of a football team at home like that and expect to come back.
Why was Gerald Hodges inactive?
It was a coach’s decision. I can’t expand on that anymore.
Trent Baalke said it was a violation of a team rule.
I’m saying it’s a coaches decision. I can’t explain more.
How disappointing is it to not have Gerald Hodges when you’re already thin at ILB?
You go with what you have, you go with what’s active. We had 46 guys up so we gotta be able to work with that.
Why did you move Christian Ponder up?
Because we’ve seen him in practice do some really good things and earn a spot. It’s got nothing to do with Kap, I thought Kap played well today it’s just that he earned the spot as the number two. I think he and Blaine are battling. Blaine’s been great and I think both of those guys can play, but you can only dress two right now. We may dress three next week because we won’t have enough to dress.
Is this because you want to see him in a game looking towards next season?
No, we are trying to win football games. This isn’t open tryouts right now.
Has Zane Beadles taken snaps at center in practice?
Yes, he has taken snaps at center in practice. He has always been our emergency third We had Danny and Marcus and Zane would be our third. Now that Marcus is down, Zane is kind of the number two. With he and Balducci going back and forth we just felt more comfortable at this point in time with putting the veteran in there. He’s played, so we put him in.
Was Vinnie Sunseri plan A at inside linebacker?
Just a couple different things, we could play some dime and do some different things. You saw Antoine in there. We were mixing and matching at the inside linebacker position in the secondary.
Because you're so thin at inside linebacker, what were your emotions when you saw Nick Bellore go down?
Get the next guy ready to go. We have to play the next man.
How do you feel Colin Kaepernick did with all of the injuries?
I’ll look at the film. I think Kap did a nice job. He didn’t turn the football over. I thought he did kind of move us and I think the biggest thing they know offensively is the drops are killing us. There are times when I think he has put the ball right on people but we drop the football. We dropped it right out of the gate on third down, we had a chance to stay on the field in the first drive. We had a drop in the first drive of the second half so sometime we gotta help him out. He can help the receivers out sometimes where he puts the ball, a little better location. I think when I look at it without looking at the film, I think on the offensive side of the ball, the drops are the most disturbing part.
On seeing the explosiveness of Atlanta’s offense live as opposed to seeing it on tape:
We have seen it live before. We have played these guys. I think Matt [Ryan] is one of the top quarterbacks in this league. When you have a good group of receivers like they have and the two big tight ends that they mix in there and obviously I think the running back was outstanding. We faced them last year they did the same thing. It’s a really good offensive football team. Dan’s done a really nice job putting together what they do over there. I think it’s a team that can make some hay during playoffs.
Is this a one game decision for Hodges? Will he play next week?
I got nothing else on him.