49ers general manager, head coach fired

Louis LaVenture,

It only lasted one year, but the Chip Kelly experiment is officially over for the San Francisco 49ers.

On Monday, San Francisco Owner and CEO Jed York announced that the team let go head coach Kelly and also the team’s general manager Trent Baalke.

The performance of this team has not lived up to my expectations or those of our fans, and that is truly disappointing,” York said at a press conference on Monday. “We all expected to see this team progress and develop as the season went on, but unfortunately that did not happen. That is why now is the time to find a new direction for this team.”

This is the third year in a row the 49ers have fired their head coach: Jim Tomsula was fired last year and Jim Harbaugh the year before. Harbaugh was let go in 2014 mainly because he wanted some control over personnel decisions, which at the time were completely up to Baalke. Tomsula went 5-11 in his one season as head coach and there were no specific reasons given for his firing other than the poor record and York citing the team’s desire to go “in a different direction,” according to a press conference last year when the announcement of Tomsula’s firing was made.

With Kelly, however, it had a different feel. He was an innovative, offensive-minded coach who relied on college-style option running plays and a fast-tempo offense. He was expected to have a few years to get the guys he needed in the organization in order for his strategy to be successful.

However, that didn’t happen and after a dismal 2-14 season that ended with a 25-23 loss to division rival the Seattle Seahawks, it seemed evident a change was coming.

“Despite my feelings for Trent and Chip, I felt the decision to change our football leadership was absolutely necessary,” York said on Monday.

The team’s current personnel is geared toward Kelly’s fast-paced college-style offense that he perfected during his time at the University of Oregon. However, in two stints in the NFL with the 49ers and the Philadelphia Eagles previously, it hasn’t worked out for Kelly.

San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick can opt out of his contract and the new leaders of the franchise could influence his decision. Kaepernick was perfect for Kelly’s offense, a mobile quarterback who can run and throw; however, McDaniels and some of the other potential quarterbacks prefer traditional pocket passers who stand tall and pick apart a defense with their arm, not their feet. A pocket passer Kaepernick is not: the sixth year quarterback has been criticized and plagued his entire career for his lack of accuracy and touch in the pass game.

The rumor mill began to circulate immediately after the announcement on Monday and several NFL insiders mentioned various members of the New England Patriots coaching staff as potential candidates for the head coaching position. Patriots offensive coordinator and former Denver Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia were the first two names suggested to fill the head coaching vacancy.

On Tuesday, several ESPN NFL correspondents confirmed that their current analyst and former Washington Redskins general manager Louis Riddick could be a candidate for that same job now vacant with the firing of Baalke.