A lot has been said about San Francisco 49ers head coach Chip Kelly since his departure from the City of Brotherly Love. Most recently, Eagles veteran Jason Peters talked about the grind of Kelly’s practice schedule, and how it was detrimental to his play on Sundays. This season, however, when asked how the training camp schedule looked, the veterans we spoke to, gave it a positive review, very positive.
One of the first major changes is that practices are being held in the morning. The main reasoning behind the morning practices are the high amount of early kickoffs that the team will have throughout the season on the east coast. (The team travels to CAR, BUF, MIA, CHI and ATL) Players are excited that they will be out of the building while the sun is still up and be able to see their families after practice. There are a lot of new dads on the team so this is important.
Antoine Bethea was asked if he's ever had morning practices. He said, “I haven’t. This is my first and I think I’m gonna like it.”
Members of the media are given the times of practice but not what the players will actually be doing on and off the field. From what WR Torrey Smith explained the practices will not all be in fifth gear but instead will alternate from intense or “getting at it” to lighter. Both he and Bethea said that this is the best camp schedule that they’ve ever seen.
As far as OTAs go, it was a little different. Training camp-wise, from him, what the schedule is, might be the best since I’ve been in the league. Just his approach of tough days and toning it down a couple of days. Obviously, I have to see once we get into training camp but from the schedule it seems like it will be be pretty [good]. Then once we go through the year, I’ll just have to figure out how it goes.
For me looking at camp, it looks like the best camp schedule I’ve ever been apart of. Harbaugh, in Baltimore, you get it in and you work your tails off so a lot of guys were used the the Harbaugh here as well. Last year, coach Tomsula, we worked our tails off and the biggest difference is going to be with this tempo. But me, just glancing at the schedule? It’s going to be the best camp schedule that I’ve ever been a part of. I mean we actually get to see daylight when we get out so that’s going to be another cool thing.
You see the way practice...I guess during camp you can have three hours max a day right? I think that’s the rule. Obviously, with our tempo, we wouldn’t make it to...three hours (laughs) if that’s how it was but just the way he goes about...not every day is a drain you out day. We’re not going to maximize the time each and every time because with that tempo you will be worn out so you know he’s strategic in the way he does it. The biggest thing for us is to trust the process.
It’s new for us so they don’t need to hear us complaining from what we heard or things from beforehand. All we have to do is deal with what we see now and everyone is all in on it and we’re trying to win. This is what he thinks is going to get it done so whether we complain or not, he’s still going to do it so we just need to do our part and make sure we’re all in line.
And if there are issues then he’s a guy we can talk to about it. It’s not like he’s been a brick wall or someone we don’t feel like we can talk to about issues. He’s been very open to it. He’s a big communications guy so we’ve been able to have open dialog with him especially a lot of the older guys.
NaVorro Bowman also added:
I’m sure Chip has heard the rumors and things like that and I’m sure he’s made a few tweaks and doesn’t want to have the same comments at the end of this year. You know, we’re players. We have to go out there and do whatever the coaches ask us to do and it’s his job to know his team and to watch his team and make sure they are ready on Sunday’s to play the game. I think he’s done that and learned from his mistakes if there were some and I’m looking forward to it.
Kelly is an intelligent man who would seem to have learned from his past, whether he will admit there were mistakes or not. It looks as though he is already winning the players over, a little bit at a time.