When Chip Kelly declared that he was determined to stay in the NFL after being fired by the Philadelphia Eagles, it was pretty clear that one of the other six teams still in need of a head coach for 2016 would give the collegiate offensive genius a second shot at his pro dreams—the only question now is which team will it be.
The San Francisco 49ers interviewed the former Oregon Ducks head coach Thursday, and Las Vegas has already given the match 3/1 odds, making him the favorite for the job over Mike Shanahan (7/2).
Kelly is the obvious choice for the Niners who are starting to get fed up with Colin Kaepernick’s increasing lack of production but paid him way too much to cut him. Kaepernick led this team to a Super Bowl and an NFC Championship appearance in consecutive seasons, so no doubt he has that talent somewhere inside him.
The 49ers are right to look for a coach like Kelly, who is able to make the most out of mobile quarterbacks in his up-tempo offensive scheme. If Kelly is the NFL coach people seem to believe he can be, then San Francisco would be the best place to show it.
So while Kelly’s offense makes the most sense for the team, the franchise would need to make some serious changes in order to accommodate the new coach. Did owner Jed York retain nothing from the Jim Harbaugh era?
Kelly and Harbaugh aren’t horribly different, after all. Both guys want to run the team their way without a lot of interference from the front office. 49ers owner Jed York and Eagles owner Jeffery Lurie were not about to grant that liberty, however, and the result was a couple of years of butting heads before a below-average season gave these owners enough support to fire the two coaches.
Imagine if Robert Kraft and the Rooney family were breathing down their coaches’ necks every day. They’d be lucky to have one Super Bowl ring between them right now.
York has also been known to let coaches walk over price, including most recently offensive coordinator Adam Gase. Despite his burnout in Philly, Kelly will come with a hefty price tag. What the situation will come down to is the team’s devotion to Colin Kaepernick. With Kelly the best option out there for potentially making something of the once-great quarterback, York may decide to bite the bullet and hand over the reins.
Or they’ll just fight for three years before starting the cycle again with someone else. I’ll put 2/1 odds on that.