The 2016 season is (thankfully) coming to an end and San Francisco 49ers head coach Chip Kelly addressed the media in his regularly scheduled press conference. He detailed the health of Joe Staley and the possibility of him playing on Sunday as well as Trent Brown’s potential and the challenges of the season.
Thursday’s participation report came out with two players on it: Andrew Tiller and Marcus Martin, both with ankle injuries. With both of them likely out for Sunday’s match up, there will be more shuffling on the offensive line. Expect to see Zane Beadles at center again and if Staley is unavailable, Brown could reprise his role at LT and John Theus will play RT.
Here’s the full transcript: (FYI there is quite a bit of sarcasm in it)
Is there anything we didn’t ask this season that you’d really like to talk about today?
“[QB Colin Kaepernick] Kap’s weight. I don’t think that’s come up.”
Where is that?
What about the tempo on offense?
“That’s come up.”
How has this week gone? The high of Saturday, getting back to work sometimes getting back after a high might not be as easy. Have you noticed any change in the temperament?
“No, they’ve been good. Again, we’ve still got some, I think there’s a newness because there are some new faces, new look on the offensive line. Those guys are still trying to get some continuity together in terms of calls and whatnot. A little bit of a sense of urgency from that standpoint, but they’ve been good. They understand it’s about putting your time in and preparing during the week in terms of how you’re going to be able to execute on Sunday.”
Have any of the older veterans come up and told you this might be their last game or anything like that?
“No, not at all. No.”
T Joe Staley sounded optimistic about playing Sunday. Are you optimistic as well?
“We’ll see how today goes. He has trained Tuesday and Wednesday. A lot of the times with that type of injury, the muscle injury, is really to see what the effect is after the training session and today will be a hard day for him. So, today is going to be a big test for Joe and then how does he respond when he gets back here tomorrow morning. Is there any residual soreness? How does he feel from it? But, so far in the two days of work he’s still been limited in practice. He hasn’t gone full in practice. So, he’s still off to the side with the strength and conditioning coaches and comes over during the team aspect of things. So, we’ll see if we can ramp up his work a little bit more today. That will give us a better understanding of where he’ll be on Sunday.”
RB Carlos Hyde talked yesterday about he wants, the only injury that he thought maybe was his fault was his shoulder issue that he had because he said he might want to strengthen it in the offseason. Where are you at as far as Carlos’ physicality and his approach to the offseason and what he needs to do to be ready next summer?
“Well, that’s probably a better question for our strength and conditioning coach in terms of what he does there. But, he attends everything so he was at every OTA and every offseason opportunity we had with him that starts in April. I’ve never gotten any reports that he doesn’t participate in anything. So, I think he does a good job from that standpoint.”
You mentioned some of your challenges. A lot of new guys as far as the wide receivers, you had injuries starting in training camp. Did you at any time consider using less three wide receiver formations just because of your personnel?
“Well, we use a lot of 12-personnel so we use a lot of two tight ends also. So, we have done that.”
In response to--?
“In response to trying to get our best personnel on the field.”
More so than you did in Philly, the two tight ends?
“No, we had two really good tight ends in Philly in [Philadelphia Eagles TE] Brent Celek and [Philadelphia Eagles TE] Zach Ertz. So, I think you’re always just, what do you have available to you and then how to you play to the strengths that you have available to you.”
Seattle is without S Earl Thomas. Are they doing the same? Is it still a ton of cover three or have they changed at all?
“No, their defense is their defense. Obviously, when you lose an All-Pro player like Earl in the middle of the field, it’s going to be slightly different just because is there a little drop off between one safety to the other safety. But, the scheme itself is still the same. Actually, [Seattle Seahawks S Steven] Terrell has played pretty well back there. It’s obviously, when you lose a player of that caliber, he’s one of the best in the game at free safety. But, they haven’t really lost much. I think they’ve, maybe the other guys have actually picked it up since he’s been away. But, even though Earl’s not there, [Seattle Seahawks CB Richard] Sherman’s still there, [Seattle Seahawks LB Bobby] Wagner’s still there, [Seattle Seahawks DE Michael] Bennett’s still there, [Seattle Seahawks DE Cliff] Avril’s still there. They’re still doing the same exact things.”
Will you go into this game and approach it as if Kap will play the full game or will you try and get one of the other quarterbacks--?
“No, we’re trying to go win the football game. So, Kap will play unless he gets banged up.”
I don’t know if you’ve given this any thought, but the Senior Bowl later in January, if you have the opportunity, you and your staff have the opportunity to coach that, would you be willing to do that?
“We haven’t given it any thought. So, I don’t know what goes involved in that, to be honest with you.”
Is that something--?
“I’ve never even thought about it.”
I realize you weren’t here last year, but Joe Staley was discussing T Trent Brown. He talked about last year he thought Trent just needed to figure things out at the NFL level, what it takes to be a pro because he had all the tools and just needed to handle himself better from a work-wise situation, I guess, preparation. Have you seen that and what are your thoughts on Trent Brown this year as far as the way he’s handled his business?
“I’ve seen improvement from Trent in terms of understanding what he’s capable of. He’s got a lot in his body. He’s got a world of talent and I think he’s starting to harness that right now. I think he can continue to work and continue to do that and become a really, really dominant player in this league. There’s times where there’s flashes and you’re like, ‘Wow, that was a heck-of-a play.’ I think the thing for all young players, whether it’s Trent or [DL] DeForest Buckner or whomever is the key to being a really good player in consistency and do you do it repeatedly over and over and over again. He’s proven he can play at a very high level. Now, it’s the consistency thing that all young players have to work on and that’s not a Trent thing, it’s every young player. I think it’s what separates the good from the great. For Trent, the fortunate thing for him, he doesn’t have to look very far to see kind of how it’s done is when he watches Joe because Joe practices that same exact way. What you see on Sunday’s from Joe Staley is exactly how he trains on a Tuesday. Everything is meticulous. He’s very detailed in his steps that he takes, where his hand placement is. All those things are extremely important to Joe even though he’s been in the league 10-plus years. That’s why Joe’s been in the league for 10-plus years and why he’s been such a successful player. So, I think Trent’s learning from Joe and I think it’s a good relationship. Nobody has an offensive line guy that’s better to learn from than Joe and I think Trent’s trying to follow in those footsteps.”
His weight fluctuated a lot in college. He said, I think yesterday, that he’s at 355 now. Has he done a good job of maintaining or staying on weight?
“Yeah. Since we’ve had him this season, he’s been between 355 and 360 all year long. So, there hasn’t been any fluctuations. Usually, they’re plus or minus four depending on where they are. So, he’s been around that every single week.”
Is that something that you saw in Philly is that guys come from college and they have to learn how to basically eat better, eat more consistently to keep their weights the same?
“Yeah. I just think for a lot of them it’s the first time they’re on their own. When you’re in college, you have training tables. So, everything’s given to you. You don’t have to go get it. It’s like that in training camp because they’re here and you provide breakfast, lunch and dinner for them and all those things. Well now, they’re going home and they’ve got to, what do they do for dinner where before it was already taken care of for them. So, there’s some guys that handle it and have learned how to do it before. There are other guys that haven’t. So, it’s convenient to just stop at a drive-through on the way home because they don’t have time, not that they don’t have time, but they don’t want to prepare or know how to prepare. So, they’ve got to kind of learn some of those skills. And that’s a lot of what [vice president of football affairs] Keena Turner and our life skills program does with those guys in terms of trying to take care of them and just educate them on those aspects of things.”
I know you’re big on self-reflection. Compared to other football seasons for you, has this been particularly challenging this year?
“Challenging? No. I don’t look at it that way. I look at, it’s what you get to work with and I’m actually grateful for this group of guys we get to work with because of their attitudes and how they’ve approached it every single day. So, challenging is if maybe guys don’t buy in or guys are doing things that are detrimental to the team and that hasn’t happened here at all. This has been a great group to work with.”