The key hire on Chip Kelly’s coaching staff will be defensive coordinator.
Kelly has already met with Eric Mangini, who served last season in that role on Jim Tomsula’s staff, a source told CSNBayArea.com. It is not known what Kelly plans to do with that spot.
The 49ers' ranked 29th in the league in yards allowed. The Philadelphia Eagles were 30th. Bill Davis, who was Mike Nolan's defensive coordinator with the 49ers in 2005 and '06, served as Kelly's defensive coordinator for each of his three seasons with the Eagles.
It's not an easy job, for sure. Because of the fast-paced style Kelly prefers on offense, time of possession can be an issue. The opposition held the ball an average of eight minutes more per game than Philadelphia last season.
Ryan Day, who served as Eagles quarterbacks coach is “thought to be under consideration” for the 49ers’ offensive coordinator position, reports ESPN. He was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Boston College for two seasons before joining Kelly’s Philadelphia staff in 2015. He was a three-year starter at quarterback under Kelly at New Hampshire.
John DeFilippo, who was informed Saturday he will not return as Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator under Hue Jackson, also should be considered a strong candidate. Kelly and DeFilippo have known each other for more than a decade. DeFilippo impressed the 49ers in two separate interviews last week for the team’s head-coaching position. He has also met with Los Angeles Rams coach Jeff Fisher about their opening.
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But whomever Kelly hires will not fill the traditional role as offensive coordinator. Kelly will be in charge of the offense -– from the installation of his fast-paced spread offense, beginning in the offseason program, to assuming the role on game days as the play-caller.
Among the most-likely coaches from his Eagles’ defensive staff to follow him to the 49ers are Jerry Azzinaro, assistant head coach/defensive line, and assistant defensive line coach Mike Dawson.
Outside linebackers coach Jason Tarver is a strong candidate to remain from the previous staff, the Sacramento Bee reported.
Will Rathman be kept? Where does Hyde fit in with Kelly's scheme? (Alex Tran)
Tom Rathman, the former 49ers fullback, has spent the past seven seasons as 49ers running backs coach. It is his second stint with the organization in that role after working six seasons under Steve Mariucci.
Rathman is scheduled to meet with Kelly early next week, at which point his status should become clear. Rathman figures to have other options around the NFL. He did a remarkable job getting such players as Shaun Draughn and DuJuan Harris coached up and ready to play their first games in less than a week’s time as the 49ers experienced a rash of injuries at running back.
Running back Carlos Hyde, who missed the final nine games of the season with a stress fracture in his foot, appears to be a good fit for Kelly’s scheme. Hyde is very comfortable executing zone runs out of the spread dating back to his days at Ohio State.
LeSean McCoy rushed for 2,926 yards in Kelly’s first two seasons, so the opportunities will be there for Hyde to put up big numbers if he can remain healthy.
With Kelly does that assure Kap gets the starting gig again? Do you think Kelly's style of offense will be successful in the NFC West? (Douglas Maybush)
Kelly will sit down with Kaepernick at some point in this offseason, and he will make that call. Kelly looked into the possibility of acquiring Kaepernick in the past. Now he has him.
On the surface, it appears as if Kelly will want to keep Kaepernick around, and he will get to make that call. But Kaepernick will not merely be handed the starting job. Blaine Gabbert remains under contract, too. And the 49ers can be expected to sign or draft another quarterback.
In 2013, Kelly had an open competition with the Eagles between Michael Vick and Nick Foles. Vick was the Week 1 starter, but Foles took over and remained there the following season. Expect a competition in Kelly’s first season with the 49ers, too.
As for Kelly’s style against the NFC West, I’m not sure any style of offense matches up well against these defenses. In his three seasons with the Eagles, Kelly’s teams went 2-4 against the NFC West. They were 1-2 against the Cardinals, 1-0 against the Rams, and 0-1 against both the 49ers and Seahawks.
Of course, the 49ers last season needed an overtime victory against the Rams in Week 17 to avoid their first winless season against the division since 1978 -– the year before Bill Walsh was hired. So just about anything Kelly does with the 49ers' offense will be an improvement.