SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Chip Kelly acknowledged after his introductory news conference Wednesday that he had yet to study the San Francisco 49ers roster enough to say the team was ready to make a quick turnaround.
So no, there were no grandiose proclamations from Kelly that he was going to flip the Niners from a 5-11 outfit into a playoff club, not even after the Philadelphia Eagles went from 4-12 the year before Kelly landed in Philadelphia to 10-6 and a division title in his first season.
“For me to make a prediction on January 20 doesn’t benefit anybody,” Kelly said. “It’s a good sound bite. But I’m not a sound-bite guy.”
He might be a realist, though, when it comes to the challenge ahead and the NFC West. The Niners, after all, were a blocked field goal against the St. Louis Rams in the season finale away from going 0-6 in the division for the first time since 1978.
The 49ers were outscored by a combined 158-61 in six games against the Cardinals, Seahawks and Rams, an average loss of 26-10 against NFC West foes.
Kelly said the West is “stacked” and that play in the division is at “an unbelievable standard.”
He also gave a scouting report, of sorts, on the teams.
On the Seahawks: “Seattle’s been to the last two Super Bowls. ... I’ve known Pete [Carroll] dating back to my days of competing against him when he was at SC and I was Oregon.”
On the Cardinals: “Bruce [Arians] has a legitimate chance with his team this year to go to it. We faced Arizona three years in a row when I was at Philadelphia.”
On the Rams: “We played St. Louis last year. They’ve got an outstanding defense. Jeff [Fisher is] one of the coaches, I mean, he’s been in the league for such a long time. It’s a huge challenge.”
On the division as a whole: “I think the NFC West is stacked. But that excites you. If you’re a competitor, you get excited about competing in that ... it’s a league that’s based on parity. If you’re really good, you pick last. If you’re not really good, you pick first. We all have the same amount of money. It’s how you allocate it. Everybody has the same amount of players. It’s just trying to put the right formula together to be successful.”