Bruce Miller plays a position that simply does not exist on a Chip Kelly depth chart.
But that does not necessarily mean the 49ers’ fullback for the past five seasons will be looking for a new job in 2016. Kelly said last week he is constantly adapting his offense and will encourage new ideas from his coaching staff.
That’s what Kelly said he did with the Philadelphia Eagles, as he brought together assistants from different backgrounds to come up with an offense that evolved from what he ran at Oregon.
“I really want to replicate that and bring in some people that have some different viewpoints and different ideas,” Kelly said last week after being introduced as 49ers head coach. “And we collectively as a group come together, and (ask) what’s the best, based on the personnel we have, to be successful offensively.”
During his three seasons with the Eagles, Kelly never employed a fullback. In fact, the Eagles lined up a tight end in the backfield as a blocker only 66 times in three seasons, according to Pro Football Focus.
The Eagles listed three starting wide receivers on their depth chart. Kelly kept seven wideouts and four tight ends on his 53-man roster.
But one of the new hires to the 49ers’ coaching staff could help convince Kelly that there is value to be gained from a fullback on the roster. Curtis Modkins, the 49ers’ new offensive coordinator, was hired off the Lions’ coaching staff.
Modkins was the Lions’ running backs coach and run-game coordinator. His input into the 49ers’ run game could open the door for a fullback. The Lions’ Michael Burton played 244 snaps – 10th-most of any fullback in the NFL last season. Miller ranked ninth, as he saw action in 253 offensive plays.
Miller played fewer snaps last season in Geep Chryst’s offense than he ever played in four seasons with Greg Roman as offensive coordinator. Miller led all NFL fullbacks with 473 snaps in 2014.