Is Chip Kelly Counting On Patriots To Light 49ers’ Smoldering Flame?


The 1-8 San Francisco 49ers and the 7-2 New England Patriots are about as opposite on the success spectrum as it gets. That’s something 49ers coach Chip Kelly could use to his advantage in rekindling what little flame his team has left.

On Monday, Kelly had this to say about the Patriots coming to town.

“That’s about the most passionate thing I’ve heard from Chip Kelly,” Sacramento Bee 49ers beat writer Matt Barrows told’s Michaela Vernava on the “Between the Tackles” podcast.

It’s not to say that Kelly’s cool demeanor is to blame for the 49ers’ eight-game losing streak, but it certainly hasn’t helped.

“He’s gotten a little bit of criticism in recent weeks because this team seems to have really lacked passion,” Barrows said. “There’s nobody really angry in the locker room after these losses. It’s been passionless. It’s been without fire.”

Barrows said coaches of 49ers’ past wouldn’t have dealt with the team’s current situation in the “even-keeled” manner Kelly has. For example, before San Francisco’s bye week, Kelly gave his players eight days off while the collective bargaining agreement requires them to have just four — an odd concession for a team that had just lost six consecutive games by a touchdown or more.

“With the Patriots coming into town, I think Chip Kelly is hoping the opponent and the caliber of the opponent will bring out that fire and the best in his team,” Barrows said.

One thing’s for sure: There’s no lack of fire in New England.

Thumbnail photo via Stew Milne/USA TODAY Sports Images

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