San Francisco 49ers

Chip Kelly’s 49ers coaching staff starting to fall into place

Five reasons Chip Kelly makes 49ers the most interesting team

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee offers five things to look forward to with the San Francisco 49ers new head coach Chip Kelly.
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Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee offers five things to look forward to with the San Francisco 49ers new head coach Chip Kelly.

New 49ers head coach Chip Kelly is in his home state of New Hampshire this weekend attending to a family matter, but his staff is falling into place nonetheless.

According to Fox Sports, the team will hire former Eagles wide receivers coach Bob Bicknell for the same position with San Francisco. The 49ers tried to hire Bicknell, who has an NFL Europe background like Jim Tomsula, last year but were blocked from doing so.

He is one of several Eagles assistants expected to follow Kelly from Philadelphia to Santa Clara.

Ryan Day, the Eagles quarterbacks coach, could have that job or another offensive title with the 49ers. Day, 36, played quarterback for Kelly at the University of New Hampshire and joined Kelly last year with the Eagles.

Kelly is expected to run the 49ers' offense, including calling his own plays. Another young assistant the 49ers have interviewed, former Browns offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, also could join the staff in some capacity. DeFillipo, 37, also interviewed with the Rams and could have more responsibility running Los Angeles’ offense. DeFilippo is another former college quarterback. He was recruited by Kelly to play at New Hampshire but went to James Madison instead.

Another Eagles assistant, defensive line coach Jerry Azzinaro, also is expected to join the 49ers. Michael Clay and Matthew Harper played for Kelly at the University of Oregon and were assistants under him with the Eagles. They also could move over from Philadelphia.

Kelly met with current 49ers assistants, all of whom are under contract, on Friday.

Several already have found jobs elsewhere. That includes receivers coach Adam Henry, who, according to, will be hired by the Giants in the same capacity. Henry coached Giants star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. when he was at LSU.

Offensive line coach Chris Foerster was hired by the Dolphins, tight ends coach Tony Sparano will coach the Vikings' offensive line while inside linebackers coach Clancy Pendergast takes over as USC's defensive coordinator. Defensive backs coach Tim Lewis interviewed for the same role with the Bengals.

The 49ers could retain several assistants, including outside linebackers coach Jason Tarver and running backs coach Tom Rathman.

With Kelly being very hands-on offensively, his most critical hire will be defensive coordinator.

The fast pace of his offense means his defense tends to be on the field more than a typical team's, which can be taxing to the unit. The Eagles defense, for example, played the equivalent of two and a half extra games in 2016.

Fox Sports reported Monday that there’s a “strong possibility” Eric Mangini retains his job as defensive coordinator. With Mangini running the defense in 2015, the 49ers ranked 29th in yards allowed and 18th in points. The 49ers ranked 31st with just 12 takeaways last season. Kelly met with Mangini on Friday.

Bill Davis, who was the Eagles defensive coordinator all three years Kelly was in Philadelphia, is an option but also could be retained by the Eagles. Davis ran the 49ers' defense under head coach Mike Nolan in 2005 and 2006 before being replaced by Greg Manusky in 2007. Davis is scheduled to interview for another job this week.

Others who are available include Nolan, Manusky, Lewis, ex-Lions head coach Jim Schwartz and ex-Buccaneers and Bears head coach Lovie Smith.

On special teams, Eagles coordinator Dave Fipp was an assistant coordinator for the 49ers from 2008-10.

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at

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