The San Francisco 49ers formally announced the signing of quarterback Thaddeus Lewis on Thursday, and the first free agent signing for the team conducted a conference call (audio). If Colin Kaepernick is traded, I suppose Lewis could compete with Blaine Gabbert for the starting role, but I would think he is ticketed for no more than QB2.
However, his conference call was at least moderately useful in terms of getting some questions about Chip Kelly. Lewis was on the Philadelphia Eagles roster for most of last year, and obviously must have done something to impress Kelly. In the conference call, he talked about the skills he brings, and his thoughts on Kelly's offense. He also offered up a comment about Kelly's people skills. I don't think any of us expected anything controversial with his comments, but at least we got to hear some kinds of comments.
On what drew him to 49ers:
The weather, obviously. I've been in nothing but cold weather states. But no, just the opportunity to come back and play in the same system two years in a row. I haven't been able to do that since my junior and senior year of college. Even in the NFL. Again, the opportunity to come back and be in the same system two times in a row was a great selling point for me.
On realizing he made a good enough impression on Kelly:
You know, that's just like any true professional. You come in and you are expected to do a job, and m role was to learn the system as quickly as I can because I was already behind the 8-ball coming in Week 2, and I did that. Obviously, I made an impression on him, and he made an impression on me, because I kind of liked the offense and how he did things. I respect him as a coach. Obviously, I was looking for that again when I had the opportunity to come here to San Francisco."
On what he likes about Kelly offense:
I mean it's the same as any offense, you gotta remember the Xs and Os, concepts and run plays are the same. It's just a different terminology. But you have an opportunity to switch it up. You can go slow, you can go fast, and once you have a defense on its heels and you're pushing the tempo, that's an advantage for the offense. When you can do things like that in the offense, and incorporate some of the things I've been around, and I've been around for a minute, we incorporate all aspects of different offenses and making your own, it's very good. And that's what I like about it.
On what Kelly is like as a coach:
Very smart, intelligent man that knows the game of football. He's had success because of that, and you get a sense of that when you sit down with him and talk X's and O's. And then you see that on the football field when your game plan is working pretty well, and when it's rolling. And so, those are the things that I saw firsthand last year, and I was happy with that. I was glad to see that, not knowing him beforehand, and it made an impression on me.
On expectations of QB room in Santa Clara, who might be here:
I have no inclination of what's going to happen in the quarterback room. I don't know. My expectation is to help this football team, better them, in the sense of us winning the NFC West first, taking care of that, and then getting to the playoffs, and letting everything else take care of itself. But that's what I want to do. Come in and be the guy who can help this football team get to where it needs to be. And whatever role that is for me, I'm fine with it.
On former players comments about simplicity of offense and Kelly's people skills:
The game is made to be easy, so it's not for a coach to go out and make the game harder than what it needs to be. So you can talk about the simplicity of offense, it's simple enough for the guys to be out there, to go out there and do the things they need to do to the best of their abilities and play fast. That's why it's a fast-tempo offense. And his people skills are great. He treats you like a professional. You come to work and do your job how you're supposed to, and that's how you're treated.
On disappointment being unable to grow roots in one place:
Hey man, that's the nature of the beast. It's the business, and that side of it you can't worry about. Just have to worry about the things you can control, so when I had the opportunity to play, I made sure I made the best of it. And if that opportunity presents itself again, I want to make sure I'm prepared and ready for it as well. But that's how this business is, that's how it goes, and so you just have to be ready for whatever is thrown your way.
On what he brings to Kelly offense:
I would say, like any quarterback, you have to be knowledgeable about the game. You have to be able to see coverage, read coverage, and be able to identify what the defense is in very fast in order to be successful, especially when you're going tempo. And then being able to sometimes, they don't expect the quarterback to run, but sometimes you might have to run a little bit to get the first down. Some of those attributes that I've been able to continue to develop, my skill set over the years, should help me to be successful in this offense.
On Kelly offense requiring quick decisions:
Yes, especially when you're going fast. You have to make that split-second decision because now you're going fast. Now, that comes from your preparation from the whole week, knowing what the defense is going to be in, when they're uncomfortable, or when they're on their heels, you know they're gonna go back to what they're known to do. So some things like that, you have to know comes from preparation during the week, so it makes the game that much easier.