Chip Kelly met with assembled members of the national media for the first time Wednesday since being named head coach of the San Francisco 49ers back in January. Additionally, he spoke at length, for the first time, about the problems which arose between him and other members of the Philadelphia Eagles’ front office that ultimately led to his firing.
He made a point to say he does not see the same situation arising with the 49ers, in part due to the trust he has for general manager Trent Baalke, and the organization’s personnel department.
“I think our personnel department is outstanding,” Kelly said at the NFL owners meetings. “Trent’s got such a good grasp on this league. He’s been in it so long. He’s got a great feel for how to put together a team.
“Three years ago, San Francisco was on the 5-yard line with a chance to win the Super Bowl. He’s proven he can acquire talent and put talent out on the field. And I’ve known Trent for a long time.”
Howie Roseman, executive vice president of football operations for the Eagles, was not a frequent visitor at the team’s practices, Kelly said. They didn’t see each other often, he added, and had no real structure of communication set up between them.
“It was a weird situation,” Kelly said. “He was there for two years, then he wasn’t there for one year.
“I didn’t like the direction it was headed. I didn’t think we were on the same page.”
He further said he expressed these concerns to Eagles owner Jeff Lurie, and added that he never asked for personnel control over the team. At the same time, he offered no solution, and was ultimately handed said personnel control prior to the 2015 season.
“I didn’t like the way it was, but I didn’t ask for anything. It wasn’t like I was walking out the door,” Kelly said. “I would’ve been content to just go hire a general manager.”
Now, with the 49ers, Kelly said he recognizes the 49ers have set in place what was lacking in Philadelphia, and has complete buy-in and trust for the established system. Specifically, the trust for Baalke, director of pro scouting Mike Williams, director of college scouting Matt Malaspina and senior personnel executive Tom Gamble are what he cited. Gamble was fired by the Eagles in 2014, and it only made his job that much more difficult, Kelly said.
“Whenever you’re working with anybody, (trust) is a huge component in terms of how things work on a daily basis,” Kelly said. “Again, he’s (Baalke) got a proven track record. It’s not like trust without evidence. There’s a ton of evidence in terms of him being able to put together a really, really good football team.”
David Barclay is the 49ers Insider for byteclay.com. He is a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @DJamesIII