SANTA CLARA -- This week is the seventh time in four seasons Chip Kelly has prepared a team to face the Dallas Cowboys.
Kelly’s first three seasons as an NFL coach came in the NFC East with the Philadelphia Eagles. His teams went 3-3 against the Cowboys. This is different, he said, because he is preparing a different team -- the 49ers -- with different strengths and weaknesses to face a Cowboys team that has not changed dramatically.
“It’s different because you’re always putting in a game plan based on what you believe your personnel can do whether it’s defending Dallas or attacking Dallas,” Kelly said.
The biggest difference this season from the past three years is the Cowboys’ change at quarterback with Dak Prescott taking over this season for injured Tony Romo.
“A lot of the things in the passing game are very similar to what Tony did,” Kelly said. “I would say the only difference between Tony and Dak is that they’ll run a little zone read with Dak just because of where he is and what he can do athletically with his legs.”
Kelly then gave a tutorial when a reporter incorrectly referred to the “read option.”
“Zone-read is where the quarterback is reading the defensive end whether to give the ball or keep the ball,” Kelly said. “Zone-read-option would be you read the defensive end and now you’re going to another phase and there’s a pitch back for you.
“Not every run out of the shotgun is a zone-read, which is another huge misconception from everybody. There’s a lot of times where there’s a tight end there blocking the defensive end, and the quarterback’s not reading anybody. He’s just handing the ball off but then everybody says, ‘They run zone-read all the time.’ . . . They’re handing it off. It’s just, they happen to hand it off from the shotgun as opposed to being underneath the center.”
A reporter wanted to know what term is used to describe that?
Kelly deadpanned: “I call that a handoff.”