SANTA CLARA -- Greg Cosell says the 49ers' hire of Chip Kelly makes them the most interesting team in the NFL in 2016. The biggest question for Cosell, the senior producer of NFL Films who lives outside of Philadelphia and who has studied the Kelly-led Eagles closely: Will Kelly change during his second NFL stint? Here are some of Cosell's thoughts on the union between Kelly and the 49ers.
Is Colin Kaepernick a good fit for Chip Kelly?
GC: Yes and No. Because ultimately in the NFL your quarterback still has to be able to make different kinds of throws and make quick decisions and throw it accurately. Those are not Colin Kaepernick's strengths. ... The one thing I can tell you, every time Chip Kelly talked about quarterbacks in Philadelphia, he used the same phrase, "repetitive accuracy." He said that a thousand times in Philadelphia. Now unless he was just applying it to Philly because he didn't have a quarterback who could run and he was just being practical, no one can answer that. But if he truly believes that, you've kind of answered your own question.
On importance of running ability for a Chip Kelly quarterback:
Never miss a local story.
GC: I think ultimately he needs a quarterback who does have some running ability. But what I just don't know with Chip Kelly is how much he sees the quarterback running in the NFL. What I find interesting is that now you find a lot of people assuming automatically that you're going to see Colin Kaepernick be like, let's say, a Russell Wilson or a Cam Newton. What's fascinating is that this year the reason why those guys took another step is the way they threw the ball from the pocket, not because they could run around.
On Blaine Gabbert being a fit:
GC: I could easily see Gabbert being more effective in Chip's offense than Kaepernick. Now one of the problems that Chip has had in the NFL is he likes to get five (pass catchers) out, which increases the pressure on your quarterback. And that's not Gabbert's strength. And you need a really good o-line, which he did not have in Philly and which he certainly does not have in San Francisco as we speak right now.
On Kelly's ability to adjust and adapt:
GC: All you can do is go by what he did here. I can't speak to what happened in the 17 days from when he was hired to when he was fired, but when he was here he was totally beholding to speed and tempo and he played that way every game no matter what the game was. I think that most NFL people would say that each NFL game plays out a little bit differently and that you have to be able to play different kinds of games. I don't think that would be viewed as a bold or controversial statement. Up to this point, you could easily say he hasn't shown that. Where he goes from here is anybody's guess.
On Carlos Hyde being a fit:
GC: Again, I'm just going by Philadelphia where this (past) year in particular, which was not the case as much in his first two years, but this (past) year in particular there was a ton of hard, outside zone (runs) and sweeps, which I don't think fits Carlos Hyde. I think inside stuff is really good for Carlos Hyde.*
On the type of players Chip Kelly prefers:
GC: That's hard to know because you don't know who's making the picks. In the last two years, they drafted three wide receivers. They drafted Josh Huff, Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor, Agholor in the first round. I think most people would say all those guys are sort of complementary guys, probably No. 3s, maybe a No. 2 at best. Which raises the question that a lot of people have asked about Chip: Is he beholden to his scheme more than he is to players, which, by the way, works great in college. I don't know? That's a tough question to answer as well. There's a lot of unanswered questions with Chip.
Is that the root critique about Kelly -- that he's too inflexible when it comes to his scheme?
GC: That's the ultimate question. A lot of people would believe that now. I guess we wait and see if he learned.
* Cosell said that Kelly called more inside running plays in 2013 and 2014 when LeSean McCoy was the running back but curiously moved away from that when DeMarco Murray was the primary runner in 2015.