Chip Kelly: 'There’s good depth' on 49ers offense


Chip Kelly: 'There’s good depth' on 49ers offense

Chip Kelly’s offenses with the Philadelphia Eagles ranked in the top-five in total yardage and scoring in his first two seasons.

Even while the Eagles dropped to 6-9 under Kelly last season before his firing, the Philadelphia offense ranked 13th in total offense and 13th in scoring.

When asked last week at the NFL owners meetings about the offensive talent he inherits with the 49ers, he did nothing to soften expectations for the 2016 season. The 49ers ranked 31st in total yards and 32nd in points per game. But to hear Kelly talk, it seems he has set the bar high for a dramatic improvement.

“There’s good depth there, without seeing them all run around physically,” Kelly said.

While it might be true that the 49ers have a lot of players -- and some with potential -- the 49ers are lacking individuals who have been productive in the NFL. Left tackle Joe Staley is the team's most-decorated offensive player. Newly added guard Zane Beadles is the only other offensive player who has been selected to a Pro Bowl (2012).

The 49ers will enter the offseason program with most starting spots on offense completely unsettled.

Running back Carlos Hyde, wide receiver Torrey Smith, Staley and Beadles are virtually assured starting jobs. Center Daniel Kilgore appears to be in good shape to reclaim his job.

Every starting and backup position, including quarterback, appears to be wide open.

“Obviously, you look at what Carlos Hyde can do,” Kelly said. “He’s one of the really good young running backs. There’s a bunch of guys at receiver, led by Torrey, and Torrey really has a skillset because he can run. He’s kind of a matchup problem for people."

The 49ers have shown no urgency in re-signing Anquan Boldin. The list of receivers on the roster includes Quinton Patton, Bruce Ellington, Jerome Simpson, Eric Rogers, DeAndre Smelter and DeAndrew White. 

“There are four quality tight ends that have played, so that will be a fun group to work with, in terms of how you disperse them and try to figure out what’s going on," Kelly said, referring to Vance McDonald, Garrett Celek and Blake Bell. The 49ers do not have a fourth tight end who has caught a pass in the NFL. Busta Anderson and Je'Ron Hamm are the other tight ends on the roster.

The 49ers have lost starting offensive linemen Mike Iupati, Alex Boone and Anthony Davis the past two seasons. The 49ers drafted seven offensive linemen over the past four years. Four of those players – Marcus Martin, Brandon Thomas, Ian Silberman and Trent Brown -- remain with the organization to compete for spots.

The offensive line was considered one of the 49ers’ biggest weaknesses last season, but Kelly did not lead on that he is concerned with that unit. The 49ers replaced free-agent departure of Boone with the signing of Beadles.

“Obviously, the O-line, led by Joe Staley, there’s a lot of talent there, too,” Kelly said. “I think it’s a good group.”

Davis has guaranteed for months on social media that he plans to make a comeback this season. But with the 49ers’ offseason program set to begin on Monday, Davis has yet to officially file for reinstatement off the reserve/retired list.

The 49ers are not banking on Davis’ return or if he will be committed or in sufficient physical condition even if he does decide to attempt to play again.

With the 49ers’ new up-tempo offense, there will be new requirements from their offensive linemen. Kelly said Staley, a five-time Pro Bowl selection, is perfect for his system.

“Joe Staley is one of the most fit, athletic big people you ever want,” Kelly said. “I met Joe about a week ago. He came in. He fits perfect. It (the offense) fits to his skillset set. I’ve always been a big fan of big people. Somebody once told me, ‘Big people beat up little people.’ I think we fit philosophically.”

Why 49ers couldn't get football to George Kittle to break NFL record


Why 49ers couldn't get football to George Kittle to break NFL record

SANTA CLARA -- The task seemed simple enough.

George Kittle needed just 5 yards to break the NFL record for single-game receiving by a tight end. And he had 30 minutes to get it done.

But after a seven-catch, 210-yard first half, Kittle was held without a reception in the second half of the 49ers’ 20-14 win over the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

“The only people that were happy were probably Shannon Sharpe and my dad,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said Monday.

Sharpe owns the single-game record for a tight end with 214 receiving yards, and set that mark while with the Denver Broncos in 2002. His coach was Mike Shanahan, Kyle’s father. In that particular game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Oct. 20, 2002, Sharpe caught one pass for 8 yards in overtime. The Broncos won 37-34.

So, Kittle does have the NFL record for most receiving yards from a tight end in regulation. But through two quarters, it appeared he would be no problem shattering Sharpe’s record.

So, what prevented the 49ers from getting the record for Kittle?

“First of all, I wish that we did, and I definitely could have just said, ‘Hey, my goal in this half is to get George the record,’ ” Kyle Shanahan said. “We had a number of plays called to him. One, we had a lookey call to him, and he got doubled, so you go to Dante (Pettis) on it. That was good.

“Fourth play of it, we had a play called, and they got under it in zone coverage, so we threw it away. After that, I think you have to think in a very humble way when you call games. You try to win the game, and you try to do what’s right.”

There even was a play call in which Shanahan said he wanted quarterback Nick Mullens to get the ball to Kittle on a shovel pass.

“It was covered,” Shanahan said. “If we would have forced it, then he would have lost 3 yards, and now he would have needed 8 yards instead of 5."

[RELATED: Even Broncos sing Kittle's praises after big game]

The 49ers ran 66 total plays in the game, but just 27 of them came in the second half, as the team had difficulty getting first downs and staying on the field.

“I thought it would happen naturally throughout the game,” Shanahan said.

“Every play mattered there at the end, so you’re just trying to call plays to try to win the game, not to break a record. That’s what you feel bad about. I wish he could have broken the record. He deserved to.”

49ers' Pierre Garçon will have season-ending knee surgery, head to IR


49ers' Pierre Garçon will have season-ending knee surgery, head to IR

SANTA CLARA -- 49ers wide receiver Pierre Garçon will undergo a season-ending procedure on his knee on Tuesday. 

Garçon, 32, missed the past four games with a knee condition and will go on injured reserve this week, coach Kyle Shanahan said Monday.

The veteran wideout appeared in eight games this season and caught 24 passes for 286 yards and one touchdown, but Garçon’s future with the 49ers is in question. He is scheduled to earn $6 million in salary and bonuses next season.

The 49ers have three wide receivers on the practice squad who are candidates to be promoted for the final three games: Victor Bolden Jr., Max McCaffrey and Steven Dunbar.

[RELATED: NFL Power Rankings Week 15]

In other injury news, defensive end Cassius Marsh reported to the team facility with concussion symptoms on Monday and was placed in the NFL’s return-to-play protocol.

Cornerbacks Ahkello Witherspoon (ankle) and Tarvarius Moore (shoulder) are day-to-day. Running back Matt Breida (ankle), safety Jaquiski Tartt (shoulder), cornerback K’Waun Williams (knee), and linebackers Mark Nzeocha (groin) and Malcolm Smith (Achilles), will be re-checked on Wednesday.

Rookie defensive lineman Kentavius Street, a fourth-round pick who tore his ACL in the pre-draft process, might practice this week, Shanahan said. Street remains on the non-football injury list. He will not play this season, but the 49ers can get him on the practice field for the final three weeks.