Former San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Nolan has become a regular on NFL Network lately, and naturally, he gets plenty of questions about his former team. Last week, he was part of a roundtable discussing the top training camp storylines to watch. When his turn came up, he was asked which of the six new coaching hires presents the most interesting storylines. His choice was Chip Kelly. He started with this quick discussion about Colin Kaepernick and the offense:
"I think the one to watch is Chip Kelly and the San Francisco 49ers and how he manages that quarterback situation. Obviously he's got two quarterbacks in Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert, that he's picking from. Personally, I think Kaepernick's the better choice, because I think he fulfills all of what Chip Kelly's offense utilizes. So I think he'd be the best choice. But I think that's something to watch closely."
People continue to focus on the athleticism, and don’t really discuss the short and intermediate accuracy aspects of Chip Kelly’s offense. It seems without fail anytime someone talks about Kelly’s offense and Kaepernick’s potential to do big things in it, they focus on the athleticism. That’s certainly quite valuable, but it’d be nice to see the discussion extend beyond that. Such is life.
Nolan follows that by talking about the personality issues with Kelly and the team that came up when he was in Philadelphia. Nolan keeps it fairly general, and hits on the usual stuff we’ve heard before.
"The other thing that I think is really important for Chip, in my opinion, is he's got to dismiss some of these personality things that he's got with his football team. I think he's got to get a structure in place, and he's got to build that chemistry on that football team because that's really what they've lost. This is still a semi-talented football team. They're not off the charts as far as like some teams that are trying to get back. They could, with good offense and good defense, they could very likely get in the middle of that pack. And if nothing else, maybe fight for a Wild Card. But like I said, I think the big issues are gonna be re-establishing some structure and the chemistry in that organization, as well as deciding on the quarterback to be ... After what they've been for two years, through the last two years, that's exactly what he’s got to do, in my opinion. It's not about X's and O's, it's really going to be solely about how that head coach stands in front of that group and what they think."
Considering how Nolan’s tenure ended with the 49ers, it seems like there would have been some value pressing on that and how it impacted him moving forward. Kelly had more success as a head coach than Nolan, but things still went south, so Nolan would be eminently qualified to speak on that.