49ers

Chip Kelly: 49ers' starting QB? 'I have no idea'

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Chip Kelly: 49ers' starting QB? 'I have no idea'

The competition for the 49ers’ starting quarterback job will not truly begin until the team reports to training camp in late-July.

And 49ers coach Chip Kelly said he is taking a wait-and-see approach to the battle that’s expected to match Blaine Gabbert against Colin Kaepernick for the starting job.

“I have no idea,” Kelly said Friday morning on KNBR 680-AM's "Murph and Mac" show. “We’re not playing a game until September. At this point in time, it’s early. And one of the players, Colin, is injured right now, so he’s not been a full participant in everything.”

Kaepernick has not been cleared for full participation in practices during the offseason program after undergoing surgeries on his left shoulder, right thumb and left knee. He could be ready to participate in the team's mandatory minicamp set for early June.

“Kap’s at every meeting. Kap’s at rehab. Kap’s at every practice, doing what he can,” Kelly said. “We don’t know exactly what we have until we get those guys up and running. That won’t be determined until preseason camp.”

As he has stated repeatedly this offseason, Kelly said the request Kaepernick’s agents made for a trade in February is part of the business side of the sport. Kaepernick remained with the 49ers this offseason after his representation and the Denver Broncos could not work out details on a new contract that would have facilitated a trade.

“On a football level and on a day-to-day basis and how we get along, it’s been fantastic,” Kelly said. “We set that kind of parameter to begin with: when you’re here, we’re going to coach the heck out of you. He understands that and he’s been great with that.

“We haven’t had any ‘elephants in the room’ or anything to speak of from that standpoint. … I’ve had great interaction with Kap, and so has our quarterbacks coach, offensive coordinator and everybody in the building.

“The first thing that struck me about Kap is he’s really intelligent. He’s got a great grasp of what he did in college and what he did in the couple different coordinators he had here at San Francisco, and what we’re doing now and installing. He can put the things together really quickly. I was really struck how intelligent and how sharp he is in the classroom.”

Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana this week said Kaepernick’s lack of communication with teammates makes it difficult for him to be a leader.

Said Kelly, “The first thing in being a leader is being authentic. There’ve been many great leaders that were quiet, but their actions, their ability to care about other players, their ability to put themselves in the back and put others in the forefront, are qualities.”

Kelly entered the NFL in 2013 with the Philadelphia Eagles after being associated with such dual-threat quarterbacks as Jeremiah Masoli, Darron Thomas and Marcus Mariota during his four seasons as head coach at Oregon.

Kaepernick, Gabbert and rookie Jeff Driskel provides Kelly with a group of quarterbacks who have good size and exceptional speed.

Kaepernick has rushed for 1,834 yards in while starting 47 career NFL games. Gabbert demonstrated his running ability with a 44-yard touchdown run against the Chicago Bears last season. And Driskel clocked the fastest time among quarterbacks at the NFL Scouting Combine.

“The one thing that jumped out right away was how athletic Blaine is,” Kelly said. “I didn’t see, we did not play against him while I was in Philly, so this is really my first exposure to him. His athleticism is the first thing that jumped out at me.

”If you look at Driskel, Blaine and Kap, they’re all 6-4 plus, and all can run. All of them are at 4.6 (seconds in the 40-yard dash) or under 4.6, which is kind of rare to have three guys that can kind of do the same thing. But it’s beneficial to you.”

Kyle Shanahan sees Jordan Reed as big 49ers contributor, if healthy

Kyle Shanahan sees Jordan Reed as big 49ers contributor, if healthy

Veteran tight end Jordan Reed seemingly is taking a huge risk with designs on a return to football after sustaining a seventh documented concussion a year ago.

But it is a risk that could pay off big for Reed and the 49ers this season, his first NFL coach said on Monday.

Kyle Shanahan was in his final season as Washington’s offensive coordinator during Reed’s first season after entering the league as a second-round draft pick. Now, Shanahan and Reed are back together after Reed agreed to a one-year contract on Monday.

“I know he hasn’t been on the field for a little bit. I know he’s very hungry to get back out there,” Shanahan said.

“When you have a talented guy who’s hungry to play football, it works out if they can stay healthy. And Jordan has had some bad luck over the years. I know he’s ready to go. I hope he has some good luck here. And if he does, I think it’s going to be a hell of a deal for the Niners and a really good deal for him, also.”

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Reed, 30, has appeared in just 65 games over the past seven seasons with Washington. He has 329 career receptions for 3,371 yards and 24 touchdowns. His best season came in 2015, when he saw action in 14 games and caught 87 passes for 952 yards and 11 touchdowns.

He did not play last season after sustaining a concussion in a preseason game. The Washington Football Team released him in February.

“Everyone is aware of Jordan’s ability,” Shanahan said. “When he’s been healthy, he’s played at an extremely high level. And he’s been one of the first third-down tight ends in the league when he’s been healthy.”

[RELATEDShanahan optimistic 49ers, Kittle will get contract done]

Shanahan said he typically likes to bring six tight ends to training camp. It was a little more difficult this summer because teams have to trim to 80 players instead of the usual 90-man limits. But the 49ers found a way to add Reed, who figures to join a competition to become George Kittle’s backup.

Reed will compete with Ross Dwelley, Daniel Helm and sixth-round draft pick Charlie Woerner for the backup job.

“It's well-documented that he’s had multiple concussions prior,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said. “So in situations like this, there’s a reason that a guy like Jordan Reed is out there, right? There is some risk-reward. We got to a point where we felt the risk that we’re taking on was worth it with the potential reward.”

Trent Williams thrilled 49ers signed former teammate Jordan Reed

Trent Williams thrilled 49ers signed former teammate Jordan Reed

Trent Williams isn't the only former Washington Football Team player joining the 49ers this offseason.

San Francisco signed free agent tight end Jordan Reed to an incentive-laden one-year contract on Monday, hoping to put a steady backup behind All-Pro George Kittle. Formerly a third-round draft pick by Washington in 2013, Reed was a teammate of Williams in the nation's capital for each of the past six seasons. Williams expressed his excitement for Reed on his Instagram story Monday afternoon.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

A Pro Bowl selection in 2016, Reed missed all of the 2019 season after getting a concussion in the third preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons. Like Williams, Reed finished the 2019 season on injured reserve. Washington released Reed in February.

Reed could see his role increased significantly early on with the 49ers if Kittle's contract negotiations continue to stall, as general manager John Lynch didn't give much of an update Monday on the conversations.

[RELATED: 49ers rule D.J. Reed out for year after surgery on torn pec]

“We’re working diligently to come to a resolution,” Lynch told reporters over Zoom on Monday afternoon.

Reed's concerning history with concussions wasn't lost on Lynch, but the 49ers clearly see the upside in a tight end with four 50+ catch seasons out of his six healthy NFL seasons.

“It's well-documented that he’s had multiple concussions prior,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said. “So in situations like this, there’s a reason that a guy like Jordan Reed is out there, right? There is some risk-reward. We got to a point where we felt the risk that we’re taking on was worth it with the potential reward.”