The Chip Kelly regime is in full effect, with the new San Francisco 49ers head coach canning defensive coordinator Eric Mangini.
According to Alex Marvez of FOX Sports, Chip Kelly won’t be retaining Mangini’s services and the quest to find his replacement is on.
— Alex Marvez (@alexmarvez) January 22, 2016
Worse yet, Eric was not even sure of his situation even though rumors surfaced that Kelly had already offered the job to Mike Vrabel.
Eric was in limbo since Chip’s hiring. Wasn’t sure whether he was being kept or not. Word came down today https://t.co/FFWRh1CWoY
— Alex Marvez (@alexmarvez) January 23, 2016
According to New Jersey Online, Kelly did indeed offer the Houston Texans’ linebackers coach Mike Vrabel the job even though Mangini was technically still under contract.
“As a former 3-4 linebacker and current coach in a hybrid 3-4 system in Houston, Vrabel would have likely brought the philosophy and style of defense Eagles fans got used during Kelly’s three years in Philadelphia.”
According to the article, there were a number of reasons Vrabel turned down the role, the first being the lack of roster talent.
“In Houston, he can keep coaching J.J. Watt until another coordinator in position opens,” the article explained. “In San Francisco, the talent has deteriorated quickly since three straight NFC Title Game trips from 2011-2013.”
Another factor was the style of offense Chip Kelly runs, which ends up putting a lot more pressure on the team’s defense than with any other team. The break-neck pace Kelly chooses to execute his offense under invariably leads to several quick stalled drives. In fact, the Eagles could run successive first downs and still end up back on the sideline in the same amount of time a normal offense goes three and out.
So Mike Vrabel passes on Chip’s offer to be 49ers DC. Running a NFL D for Chip is a tough sell. You’ll never look good and people are aware
— Kevin Negandhi (@KNegandhiESPN) January 22, 2016
For that reason alone, ESPN thinks the defensive coordinator is the most important position for Chip to hire if he hopes to avoid the same outcome that befell him in Philadelphia.
“From that vantage point, defensive coordinator is the most important hire Kelly is going to make, and you might say he’s already 0-for-2. Yes, I realize Mangini was technically fired by Kelly, but Mangini represented familiarity and probably should have been given the opportunity to improve his defense, which was not the Niners’ glaring issue last season and showed flashes despite finishing 29th in total defense.”
Kelly, known as an offensive guru, will also be facing questions at quarterback. While Colin Kaepernick was riding high as the 49ers quarterback just two years ago — leading his team to back-to-back Championship appearances that included a trip to the Super Bowl — Blaine Gabbert’s play with Kaepernick on the sideline has many speculating the job is up for grabs.
As reported by SF Gate, Kelly said at his press conference that he likes both Gabbert and Kaepernick.
“Obviously, Kap is an extremely talented football player,” Kelly said when asked another Kaepernick question in the final stages of a 35-minute press conference. “And you need to have a good quarterback to win. But I was also impressed, in the film that I watched, in terms of how Blaine played this year also. So I think statistics will bear out that you probably need two quarterbacks in this league with the injury rate that quarterbacks have. I think both of those players make this an attractive situation.”
Another possibility, as reported by Inquisitr, could find last year’s Eagles QB Sam Bradford reuniting with Chip Kelly in San Francisco.
[Chip Kelly photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Eric Mangini photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images]