Chip Kelly went 10-6 in each of his first two NFL seasons before going 6-9 last year and losing his job. When Kelly left Philadelphia, there were rumblings that he was in over his head in terms of the personnel decisions he made and the moves he made to change the culture in the locker room and on the practice field.
And yet, there is hope. While Colin Kaepernick has dominated Bay Area headlines for several weeks, Kelly enters this first season in San Fran with energy and optimism.
So do 49ers fans.
“I think they’re really eager,” CSN Bay Area 49ers reporter Mindi Bach said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “Think about where we were last year. Everyone really, really liked Jim Tomsula as a person, but the whole season was just a nightmare. (It wasn’t) all of Tomsula’s doing. I mean, he had to start the season behind the 8-ball. He had 15 starters not returning, and you had all the off-the-field issues and then injury after injury after injury. You were starting DuJuan Harris as your running back at the end of the season. There’s no Carlos Hyde, you have no line, Anthony Davis retired right before the season – just one thing after another and it was just a nightmare of a season. So where do you go? There’s nowhere to go but up.”
Still, Kelly will not have as much control in San Fran as he did in Philly.
“I think the one thing that’s been very clear from the outset contractually is Trent Baalke has control over who’s on the 53-man roster,” Bach said. “He has always had that, that is his baby, he’s going to decide who’s on that – he’s not messing with that. So Chip will have influence over some of the players that he likes and he will decide the 46 who suit up and who he will play, but Trent will decide the 53 on the roster. Chip has stayed true to that, and contractually, that’s the way it is. Trent’s not going to give that up. So I think that’s been good. The players have responded really well. They really like the energy. They like the plan that Chip Kelly has. They said he always has a plan. Everything is done with a reason and we know what it is. There’s just a positive vibe there. . . . There was so much positive energy that he built up over this offseason that the players really like and were responding to. They were looking forward to it.”
The 49ers, who finished 5-11 last season, host the Rams on Monday Night Football at 10:20 p.m. ET.