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.