Chip Kelly’s 49ers are on track to be one of the worst teams not just in franchise history but NFL history. Still the coach isn’t planning any dramatic moves.
Kelly said Monday he wasn’t contemplating a shake-up to his staff, denied a report the 49ers were shopping left tackle Joe Staley and indicated Colin Kaepernick would remain the starting quarterback when the team returns from its bye Nov. 6 against the New Orleans Saints.
Kelly also gave his players the week off. The league’s collective bargaining agreement requires players to have four consecutive days off during their bye week. The 49ers will get seven, which is what Kelly did with his Philadelphia Eagles teams.
“I think at this point in time, we need to heal up,” Kelly said. “ … There’s some other guys that have played through a lot of issues so far and have continued to play and stay in games. But I think it’s a good break for them to do what they need to do. And that’s the way I’ve always done it, and I think we’ve been fresh coming out of the bye week.”
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The 49ers (1-6) have lost six consecutive games and rest at or near the bottom of several offensive and defensive categories. Among the most significant:
▪ They are on pace to allow 501 points, 48 more than the franchise’s all-time high set in 1999 and 114 more than last year’s 5-11 squad allowed. According to The Associated Press, the only teams to allow 500 points in a season are the 1966 New York Giants (501 points in 14 games), the 1981 Baltimore Colts (533) and the 2008 Detroit Lions (517). Detroit went winless that season.
▪ The defense is on track to allow 2,962 rushing yards, the most by an NFL team since the 1980 Saints, who went 1-15 and were so bad that fans at the Superdome wore paper bags over their heads and called the home team the “Aints.”
▪ The 49ers lead the league in punts with 43, six more than the second-place team, the Baltimore Ravens. At his current pace, Bradley Pinion would finish the season with 98 punts, nine fewer than the team record set by Andy Lee in 2005.
Kaepernick has exemplified the 49ers’ inconsistent offense the past two games. He led a quick, almost easy touchdown drive that took less than two minutes to begin Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But for the second consecutive game, he completed fewer than half of his pass attempts, and his 66.2 passer rating after two starts is lower than Blaine Gabbert’s 69.6 after five starts.
Still, Kelly said he saw improvement in Kaepernick from his first start against the Buffalo Bills. As he did at Buffalo, Kaepernick led the 49ers in rushing against Tampa Bay, and Kelly said the quarterback’s ability to pick up first downs made an impact.
“I think Colin’s ability to escape on third down kind of took them out of man coverage situations because you have to defend the quarterback,” he said. “When everybody has their back turned to the quarterback, they can’t see when he takes off and goes.”
Kelly also said Monday he wasn’t planning on going anywhere.
Before Sunday’s game, Nike co-founder Phil Knight, a major donor for Oregon, visited with Kelly, who coached at Oregon from 2007 to 2012 and was the Ducks’ head coach the last four years of that span. Kelly said he and Knight met because they are friends, not because they discussed a possible coaching change at Oregon. He said he hasn’t been contacted by any schools.
“I’m the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers,” he said. “I’m not looking at anything else. I’m here.”