NFL teams with new head coaches are allowed to open their official offseason programs on Monday.
Coach Chip Kelly envisions the 49ers’ two-week head start being an invaluable evaluation tool for him and his new 49ers staff.
“It’s huge,” Kelly said last week at the NFL owners meetings. “We haven’t had any interaction with the players except, ‘Hey, how you doin’?’ You’re not allowed to talk any football with them. They’ve been very superficial conversations, to be honest with you, in terms of dealing with them.”
Kelly and his staff can begin having in-depth football talk with their players, but the coaches are not allowed on the field until Phase Two. The on-field activity during the first phase of the voluntary program consists solely of work with the team’s strength and conditioning coaches.
Except for the 10 allowable days of organized team activity (OTAs) and minicamps, players may be at the team facility no more than four hours per day and no more than four days per week.
The 49ers will hold a voluntary three-day minicamp beginning on April 26. The camp concludes just hours before the start of the draft, and it could slightly alter Kelly’s thinking about his team’s needs.
“We get three weeks, and then we have a minicamp,” Kelly said. “So you get time to see them, meet them, talk football with them, and then you get that minicamp. So you actually get a chance to get on the field and see them run around. So you can make an assessment of everybody.
“It’s still a tough assessment because there are no pads on, but it’s better than what we’ve had so far.”
Kelly said seeing the players in person and being able to coach them will be more beneficial in his assessment of the roster than anything he has watched on film from last season’s games.
“It’s the day-to-day interaction, and also your coaches get an opportunity to actually coach them and get them on the field and see how they can perform certain physical skills and how they pick things up,” Kelly said.