Chip Kelly was fired by the Philadelphia Eagles before the end of the 2015 NFL season and ended up being hired by the San Francisco 49ers this offseason. Colin Kaepernick was benched last season by the 49ers, but appears to be the starting quarterback for San Francisco looking ahead to the season unless something changes.
Both men have been tossed to the side in the past year, but they are hoping to unite and pick each other up. Kelly is excited to coach Kaepernick and is hoping to help turn the struggling quarterback’s career around in 2016.
During a recent interview with the Sacramento Bee, Kelly talked briefly about Kaepernick and his excitement was obvious.
“If he’s here on April 4 we’re going to coach the heck out of him and he’s going to work his (tail) off. He says he’s doing well, progressing nicely.”
If there is any offense that can help Kaepernick turn things around, it would be Kelly’s fast-paced offense. Kelly had some success with it in Philadelphia, but simply didn’t have the athleticism at the quarterback position like he is set to have in Kaepernick.
Throughout the entire offseason, Kaepernick’s name has been linked to trade rumors. Recently he was rumored to be traded to either the Cleveland Browns or Denver Broncos and that the 49ers were seriously looking to move him. He hasn’t been moved yet, however, and it appears that Kelly has him in his plans.
Last season in the nine regular season games that Kaepernick played in with the 49ers, he didn’t put up awful numbers. He ended the season completing 59.0 percent of his pass attempts for 1,615 yards, six touchdowns, and five interceptions. Kaepernick also picked up 256 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
At 28 years old, Kaepernick still has plenty of time to turn things around with the right coaching staff.
Kelly will look to make Kaepernick feel comfortable in the offense and will try to allow the quarterback to play his game. He is a dual-threat quarterback and Kelly will be more than happy to utilize his ability to make plays on the ground.
There is no question that running a faster offense will help Kaepernick make some improvements. He is one of the most athletically gifted players in the NFL and that will show this coming season. Kaepernick will be able to make shorter passes, while also getting into the open field himself on the ground.
Looking back at Kaepernick’s entire career with San Francisco, he hasn’t played poorly at all. He has a career 59.9 completion percentage and has compiled 10,030 passing yards, 56 passing touchdowns, 26 interceptions, 1,832 rushing yards, and 11 rushing touchdowns. Those numbers aren’t shabby at all, but for some reason the 49ers seemed to lose faith in him last year.
Like many other quarterbacks before him, Kaepernick does struggle with accuracy at times. He can miss wide open throws, which is part of the frustration that was shown last year. Despite that flaw, Kaepernick has shown that he can come back and make up for those mistakes with beautiful passes as well.
If Kelly takes a serious interest in turning Kaepernick around, there is nothing holding him back from doing so.
That being said, this news has set the stage for an intriguing remainder of the offseason. Just because Kelly is excited to work with Kaepernick doesn’t mean that the front office will keep him around. Trade rumors are going to continue to fly and there is a chance that the 49ers could pull the trigger on a trade before training camp arrives.
Kelly will want a quarterback who can thrive in his system, but there are a few out there that the 49ers could bring in. Kaepernick needs to decide whether he wants to stay or not, although Kelly does give him the best chance at success.
Can Chip Kelly help turn Colin Kaepernick’s career around in 2016 with the 49ers? Do you think he will be traded, or will the 49ers bring him back as their starter one more time?
[AP Photo/Ben Margot]