Why Chip Kelly is (Most Likely) Staying Despite the Season
The 49ers are currently 1-10 and are experiencing the longest losing streak in franchise history at ten games. Their current record is actually worse than it was at this point in the season last year. And strangely enough the team is going to be playing against the last team they beat that wasn't the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams. It's been a rough year for 49ers fans everywhere.
With this disappointment of a season going on you'd think that there would be a complete overhaul of the 49ers when really we may only see the general manager Trent Baalke being tossed out. Chip Kelly has won many games, but at the same time when looking at how the team was stacking up before the season had started and with everything that has gone on I wouldn't be surprised if we saw Chip Kelly back on the sidelines coaching for San Francisco. If you don't believe then I'll give you a few reasons to...
He believed he could fix Kaepernick and he did
Kaepernick hadn't been feeling the same amount of success during his time in Harbaugh's last year and in Jim Tomsula's one year as he did when he was guiding the 49ers to Super Bowls. Many analysts and fans doubted him and believed his career to be over as an NFL football player. It even caused a rift in between Kelly and Baalke as to what they would do with the dual-threat quarterback as Kelly wanted to keep Kaepernick because he believed that he can fix him while Baalke wanted to release the University of Nevada product. Eventually when Kaepernick regained his starting job back is when not only Kaepernick's game received a much-needed spark to his game, but also showed much more improvement in his ability as a passer while still utilizing and even excelling his game as a runner.
The Offense has actually improved
It may seem marginal at this point, but when you see how well the offense has been moving in comparison to last year then you will see just how much Kelly has turned this offense around:
- At the end of last season the offense was ranked second to last in total yards; this season they're 28th.
- Kaepernick is currently averaging 240 yards per start since being named the starting quarterback last season as opposed to last season when he averaged 202 yards per start.
- Last season the team was ranked dead last in points per game; this season they've jumped up ten spots to the 22nd ranking.
- And most amazingly the team has improved a 21st ranked rushing game to going up to as high as fourth in the league in that category.
As much as the blame can be placed on this team as a whole for not winning games it isn't a matter of a lack of offense as opposed to last season.
The Defense is just not good
I'm just going to put it plain and simple. This defense is embarrassing on a historic level. They currently rank last in points allowed, yards allowed and run defense just to name a few categories they're horrific in. The run defense is especially bad considering the fact that they made NFL history by allowing 100 yards to a running back a week for seven weeks and allowed an eighth player to get over 100 yards against them in their week eleven matchup against the Patriots. You can't win games when your defense is allowing these types of numbers and you especially can't win with Jim O'Neil coaching your defense.
Injuries have been a major concern
The 49ers currently have ten players on their injured reserve list. Four of who were starters on the defense prior to their injuries including Bowman, Armstead, Armstrong and Reid. This team isn't known for its' depth and considering the impact of these players (including Bowman who was coming off of an All-Pro season) it was just a matter of time before this team would be feeling the effects of these key players.
This team is still competing and trying to win games even though many would rather them tank the rest of the season. Thankfully because of Kelly this team is able to still look like a professional football team and one that clearly doesn't want to be associated with the bottom of the NFL. Hopefully, York makes the right decision at the end of the 2016 season.
Mitchell Blahut is an NFC West writer for the San Francisco 49ers. You can follow him on Twitter @mablahut21.