Report: Jim O’Neil to be 49ers defensive coordinator


49ers head coach Chip Kelly has reportedly found his defensive coordinator.

Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area reports that the 49ers have decided to hire Jim O’Neil to fill the role. O’Neil served in the same position with the Browns for the last two years. The Browns dropped from 9th in points allowed in 2014 to 29th in 2015.

O’Neil worked under head coach Mike Pettine in Cleveland after also serving on the staffs for the Jets and Bills when Pettine was with those teams. O’Neil played high school football for Pettine’s father, so it’s a relationship that goes back a long way. 

His charge with the 49ers will be devising a defense that can improve on last year’s results while being asked to be on the field more than other units thanks to the uptempo offensive scheme employed by Kelly. The Eagles defense was on the field for the most plays in the league in two of Kelly’s three seasons in Philly and they came in second during Kelly’s other year on the job.

Maiocco also reports that the 49ers have hired former Dolphins running backs coach Jeff Nixon as the team’s tight ends coach. The 49ers have not formally announced any hires yet, but these two additions should push that announcement closer as Kelly has reportedly put together most of his staff at this point.

88 responses to “Report: Jim O’Neil to be 49ers defensive coordinator

  1. Lol
    Kinda like the great hire for their offensive coordinator that was the lions running back coach, because their running game was so good this last year.
    Chip will get Kaep hurt running a college system and he’ll be out by week 9.
    Keep shining those rings, that’s all ya got.
    Who has got it better then 5-11?

  2. They’re going to have to pick up some defensive help on the free agent market. I realize the NFL isn’t Oregon, but Kelly had defenses there that could still play. If he can get the right athletes with the right mindset, they can still be respectable. Maybe.

  3. Oh good grief. It’s as if the 49ers are aiming for the first overall draft pick in 2017.

    Jed York says “O’Neil got the Browns to 29th in points allowed?.. Hire that guy NOW!!”

  4. Look at what Paul Kruger said about him. The guy sticks with a defense that doesn’t adapt to the team they are playing, but rather just a scheme for every team. This guy is terrible.

  5. If anyone thinks this is an upgrade over Mangini, they haven’t paid attention to O’Neil’s work. He absolutely destroyed that defense. The players pretty much admitted they didn’t think he knew what he was doing. I cannot believe this is who Kelly would hire.

  6. My condolences San Fran.

    O’Neil kept calling tight man coverage even with guys who better at off coverage. He had pass rushers two gap to stop the run and had fast aggressive linebackers sit back passively and try to read the play.

    But other than that he worked out fine.

  7. Bbbbbbwwwhhhhaaaaaaahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

  8. Either this is just a smoke screen and we intend to snag one of the remaining DC from either Super Bowl team or Kelly truly has no grasp of the defensive side of the ball.

    Dumpster Diving, the 2016 49ers coaching search.

  9. It’s probably a good career move for him. I mean if you were already at the bottom, it’s not like the Chip system could make you look worse. Chip might have trouble attracting the good D coordinators due to how he runs his offense, so guys like this with almost nothing to lose were probably the only options available.

  10. Skins fan here. It could be worse, you could be stuck with a lousy defensive coordinator like Joe Barry who coached the Lions thru the 0-16 season allowing 517 points. He was out coached nearly every game this season for the skins. So San Fran it could be worse.

  11. As a lifelong browns fan…. I know …save the tears… I feel sorry for you 9rs fans.
    Once Pettine stepped away from the defense and let O’Neil run it, the wheels came off.
    This guy shouldn’t even be coaching the cheerleaders.

  12. Bravo is the poster that speculated it may be hard to get a good DCor with the offense they run. 100% the issue. Any defense should be prepared to spend a lot of time on the field, even when the offense is doing well.

  13. No one can, or will ever win in Cleveland. I mean NO ONE.
    It’s a curse.
    O’Neil is a great choice for SF.

  14. This is what Jed York hath wrought: retreads up the wazoo. We had a decent coaching staff and you fired it dumkoff.

  15. Well this feels like settling because they couldn’t get anybody better. Like when the 9ers hired Eric Mangini… and Geep Chryst… and Jim Tomsula… and Mike Singletary… and Jimmy Raye… and Dennis Erickson… and…

  16. I’ve been reading PFT for years and I can honestly say I’ve ever read an article with 100% anti posts for a coaching hire. You usually get at least 1 positive spin. Wow. It’s gotten this bad for the red and gold.
    There are a lot of dusty unworn 9er jerseys out there. Sad indeed.

  17. Good GAWWWWDDDDDD. This guy shouldn’t be working again until 2020, then be a beer vendor. Good luck SF. you deserve better as a great old franchise…..

  18. Chip got rid of Mangini in favor of the guy, lol. Probably doesn’t want anyone with head coaching experience on his staff undermining his bad decisions.

  19. If you want to be mediocre then you get that, we went a step below that…from 9th to 29…interesting

  20. As a browns fan I can say I’m shocked. I really thought this guy would have to go to a middle of the road college team to get a position coaching job. I thought he’d never coach again on the NFL, he’s horrendous and had to be bailed out time and time again. Manginis forgotten more than this guy knows. Wow!! First chip hired pat shurmur in Philly who was the worst browns coach ever and now he hired O’Neil who was the worst browns DC ever. Wow!

  21. All you Idiots that can’t read should of stayed in school. It says the Browns defense went from 9th in points allowed to 29th in points allowed that means the defense improved by 20 spots LEARN TO READ YOU LIBERAL MORONS

  22. Hey figure8v8racer,

    The browns defense is 29th in the league for points against. They are ranked in the bottom you idiot. Learn how to read.

  23. hey figure 8v….relax man….I’m sure that’s not the 1st time someone told you that.

  24. I checked the stats and the Browns were better than the 49ers in some Defensive stats, this isn’t that huge upgrade one would want considering the up tempo the offense will have. I think when you hear the Cleveland Browns you think of a team that is mediocre, but the 49ers sure weren’t leading the NFL or even top 15 in defense. DC’s are important, but the DC is more than likely to leave a team if they’re aren’t playing up to NFL standards. Will hold off on judgement

  25. Gotta question this hire. He was in charge of the highest paid defense in the NFL and they ranked almost dead last in most stat categories. 9er fan check out the Browns vs Ravens Monday night game from earlier this year. Listen to Jon Gruden’s comments about the Browns defense throughout the game. As a Browns fun I suffered through watching every snap this year and I can’t recall a worse defense in the last 15 years.

  26. Eagles fan here. I like the 49ers, but man, you guys are SO screwed between Kelly and O’Neil. This is going to flame out fast.

  27. As a browns fan… Your defense will only be running one play from here on out. Master it… Or not. Your players will be guessing their assignments. You will be gashed in the run game. Your corners won’t stand a chance. Your best pass rusher will be dropping back into coverage; all the time. Your veterans will begin going to the media saying they don’t know the one play.

    You fired harbaugh for this? Should’ve kept mangini. On the bright side, this will quicken the departure of chip. This will not end well.

  28. Wow. The 49ers found a DC with NFL experience… I didn’t think anyone already in the NFL would take the job.

    Always figured we would be reading a story about Joe Plumber, a life-long union welder who was picked as DC for his love of sushi and the 49ers… Personally hired by Jed when he yelled, “I bleed red!”… Jed being moved said, “I want you to be our defensive coordinator / travel coordinator / special assistant to Trent Balke.”

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Kelly jumps ship even before the season starts…

  29. figure8v8racer says:
    Jan 26, 2016 8:22 PM
    All you Idiots that can’t read should of stayed in school. It says the Browns defense went from 9th in points allowed to 29th in points allowed that means the defense improved by 20 spots LEARN TO READ YOU LIBERAL MORONS

    Um nope. Take it from a Browns fan( or anyone who watches football) We used to have a top ten D until ONeil came along. Definitely slipped 20 spots. Using your logic, our 32nd ranked run defense was the best in the league.

  30. Oh good, retreads for the worst team in the league.



  31. Worst defensive coordinator in the world. Merrill Hoge was literally laughing at O’Neil plan to double team Antonio Brown.

    Gruden on the Monday Night game vs the Ravens, I have no idea what the Browns are trying to do here LMAO.

    Good luck 49ers


    I can’t believe my eyes!!!!

    49ers are SCREWED!

  33. Guess Chip Kelly’s strategy is to not have a defense. They could’ve at least hired Pettine!?

    Jim O’Neil is the worst D-Coordinator I have EVER seen.

  34. Jim O’neil is a good hire. Good football mind, great intensity and desire for greatness, and will energize the defense. I don’t like their OC hire if he was looking for a running game coordinator should have gone O Line coach like Mike Bloomgren at Stanford, but this DC hire is good.

    As far as their OC/running game coordinator..they better bring in Alex Gibbs to school him.

  35. I swear, the NFL has the fans with the shortest memories and most reactionary comments possible.

    ‘B-b-but muh 2 year d rankings….’
    In his first season as defensive coordinator, O’Neil’s unit made significant increases in nearly every major defensive statistic, including red zone defense (29th in 2013 to fifth in 2014), third down defense (31st to 11th), points per game (23rd to ninth) and quarterback rating (16th to first). The team led the NFL in opponent completion percentage (57.1), opponent passer rating (74.1) and passes defensed (99). The Browns finished second in the league with 21 interceptions, the team’s highest total since 2008, while also finishing tied for fourth in takeaways (29). Cleveland’s defense also finished in the top-10 in the league in pass defense (fifth with 6.44 yards per attempt) and total defense (ninth with an average of 5.24 yards per play).

    Then their entire secondary got hurt, left via free agency, or no-showed, and they had major depth injuries @ LB and on the line.

  36. Nobody wants to work with Chip. Go figure. The problem is with Chip himself. He thinks he can do it better than everyone, and it doesnt matter what his players or staff says.

    I was wrong to think he can lead a professional NFL team.

    – Eagles Fan

  37. Chippy has a penchant for finding a DC with the worst stats imaginable and hiring him! Get ready San Fran! Your defense will be on the field the entire game gasping for air while your offense burns through a series of three and outs! Worst football I ever saw in Philly!

  38. seatownballers says:
    Jan 26, 2016 6:10 PM
    Kinda like the great hire for their offensive coordinator that was the lions running back coach, because their running game was so good this last year.
    Chip will get Kaep hurt running a college system and he’ll be out by week 9.
    Keep shining those rings, that’s all ya got.
    Who has got it better then 5-11?


    Sheattles window well and truly closed. But as usual anything 49ers related they arrive. The Bandwagon rolls up. A few sad, lonely and dejected “fans” fall off. Desperately the search and scramble, looking for reasons to become relevant to 49ers fans. They crave recognition, frantically clawing at any shred of an opportunity to create their chance of a rivalary. A faux rivalry, only outshone be their faux dynasty, but still they cling to this imaginary float. Truth is they have nothing. An empty shell. Their only glow a single Lombardi for their “years of dominance”. They are dark, lonely,sad characters. Craving the Red and Gold reverence, seeking the history of a storied, world wide brand, only to be trodden on and forgotten like the majority of their fellow “followers”. Their final despair, a scared ignorance of reality. AFC? NFC? No one knows – no one cares. They are of no significance, even in their own city. Their stadium, old, decrepit, hollow. Stolen nickname, stamped on by a school. Their greatest ever players remain unknown to the throng. One day, in an NFL far, far away, they hope to be important. For now they are bitter, pained, denied status. Denied a stage. Denied real fans. They grasp frantically and kneel at the 49er alter of greatness. Dazzled, transfixed, wide eyed at our 5. Unfit for purpose they crawl back to the rain. Loss is tragic. Show pity fellow Faithful. They are worthy of pity at least. Just pity, nothing more. They are worthless.

  39. Short the franchise: in the words of the great Charles Barklay this guy is “terble”

    I’ve been watching incompetent Browns teams for years in Cleveland: this defense – which had (4) pro-bowl starters -was the second most pathetic Browns defense I’ve ever seen. (2009 was worst.)

  40. IF you were a DC and knew your squad would be on the field for 75% of the snaps would you want to come in and work for Kelly? It is a losing proposition from the get go.

  41. figure8v8racer says:
    Jan 26, 2016 8:22 PM
    All you Idiots that can’t read should of stayed in school. It says the Browns defense went from 9th in points allowed to 29th in points allowed that means the defense improved by 20 spots LEARN TO READ YOU LIBERAL MORONS

    First off, not sure what politics have to do with the SF DC hire as you feel to yell at us for being liberal
    Secondly, the Browns last year were at the bottom of the league in defense in almost every category.
    So before yelling at us all, maybe you should recheck your information.

    Thank you and have a good day.

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