Last night’s rumors became today’s reality as the 49ers fired head coach Chip Kelly after only one season with the team.
Kelly inherited a depleted roster that was beset by injuries throughout the 2016 campaign, leading them to a 2-14 record. He turned Jeremy Kerley and Vance McDonald into threats, and breathed new life into Colin Kaepernick’s play. Unfortunately, the signs of life he brought to an untalented offense weren’t enough to warrant a second yea; he joins Trent Baalke as a casualty of the worst 49ers season in recent memory. It was a year that 49ers fans won’t soon forget, despite wishing they could.
Upon leaving Philadelphia, perceptions around the league painted Kelly as a coach unable to connect with his players, unable to lead. While the record was unacceptable, Chip proved that narrative false during his short stay in Santa Clara, leaving behind a locker room that appeared to respect him. His support of Kaepernick throughout a controversial season was an example of this. In the final game of the season, his players fought for him, coming up just two points short of a win.
The 49ers now face the difficult task of finding the right GM to replace Baalke, one with a clear vision and the ability to bring a quality head coach to lead this team. With any luck, both will be around for more than a year.