Last year, then-new 49ers coach Jim Tomsula’s introductory press conference was followed by a very different interview with CSN Bay Area, during which he came off as a guy who had no desire to be there as he at times grunted his way through the one-on-one.
This year, there was no grunting from new 49ers coach Chip Kelly when he sat down with CSN Bay Area, but his first answer contained a colorful phrase.
“When you fall out of a boat, sometimes you land in crap and sometimes you land in San Francisco,” Kelly said.
He also said, “For me, it was the best opportunity out there.” Which probably is true, since there was no other opportunity out there for Kelly. Unless he turned down the chance to interview with other teams, the 49ers were the only team that talked to him in a face-to-face setting.
During Wednesday’s press conference, Kelly evaded a question about the lessons learned from getting fired in Philadelphia, calling the process an “autopsy” that he had not yet completed. With CSN Bay Area, he initially tried to defer on the topic as well, but then he shared one specific observation about his experience in Philadelphia.
“Communication is key no matter what organization you’re in,” Kelly said. “And how you communicate your vision in terms of what’s going on. And for me it was to make sure in my next situation that collaboratively I was on the same page. And I really feel like I am with [owner] Jed [York] and [G.M.] Trent [Baalke].”
Kelly said that the communication applies in all directions, above him and below him in the organization. Later in the interview, he coincidentally (or not) mentioned “collaboration” on multiple occasions when talking about his coaching staff in Philadelphia.
Specifically, he said his offense at Oregon was different from his offense with the Eagles because the offense in Philly was a “collaboration” of various offensive philosophies, and he added this “oh by the way” at the end of his response: “We finished first, sixth and 12th in total offense in all three years, and we’ve been really ranked in the top five in almost every category.”
Those numbers won’t matter if the 49ers can’t compete with the Cardinals, Seahawks, and Rams for division titles — and if the 49ers can’t become the serious contender they were under coach Jim Harbaugh. York has said he wants a coach who will win Super Bowls, and Kelly’s three NFL seasons entailed a single one-and-done wild-card appearance.
Unless things change quickly, he’ll be falling out of the boat again. And landing in San Francisco won’t be an option the next time.