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San Francisco 49ers open OTAs, Chip Kelly says everything is TBD

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The Sports Xchange
San Francisco 49ers head coach Chip Kelly. UPI/John Anderson
San Francisco 49ers head coach Chip Kelly. UPI/John Anderson | License Photo

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- As far as the San Francisco 49ers' new head coach is concerned, results from the OTAs, and just about everything else, are still TBD.

That was the opinion, or lack thereof, of Chip Kelly on Tuesday when the team went through its first of three days of what the league refers to as Organized Team Activities.

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Noting that players are "catching passes against air" and "blocking against barrels," Kelly said, "I don't have an idea about anybody. ... There's no rankings of the depth chart or anything like that."

And that includes the quarterback position, where the attention is on Colin Kaepernick, who is not medically cleared to practice.

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"He's still in the middle of rehab," Kelly said. "Obviously, he had a shoulder and a thumb and a knee in the offseason, so working extremely hard at the rehab aspect of things and that's where he is right now."

And Kelly does not know when Kaepernick will be cleared.

"I don't have that answer for you," the coach said. "I know he's working really hard at rehab and when they tell me we can start putting him into drills, we will."

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Regardless, Kelly scoffed when asked if Kaepernick was falling behind, a question that probably referenced competition with Blaine Gabbert for the starting job. But that is not how Kelly understood the question.

"Behind what?" Kelly said.

Well, how about in terms of learning the new system?

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"No, he's great in the classroom and has a great grasp of what we are doing," Kelly replied. "I was really impressed with both him and Blaine in their intelligence and being able to pick up what we are trying to do. There is no fall behind, because there is no behind. There's not a race. The first day we actually get to go against the defense is today. We're not naming the starting lineup for the Rams game today."

Kelly added that he did not think the injury would impact Kaepernick's ability to win the starting job in training camp and there was no timetable on making such a decision, at least not now.

"You can't put a timetable on it," he said. "It has to express itself and let it happen organically. That's the only way it can happen. And I've been involved at every level in quarterback battles, just like there's battles for every other position. But it's going to be won on the field. It's not going to be won because we have a timetable of it has to be set by May 17th or May 18th."

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Although the OTAs are voluntary, Kelly said only two players were missing, nose tackle Ian Williams, who is rehabbing, and guard Josh Garnett, who is in school.

Kelly said he was surprised by the so-called retirement of running back Jarryd Haynes, who wants to compete in the Olympics.

"Not many people have the ability to actually participate in the Olympics, so it's a pretty cool thing for him to be a part of," the coach said.

Although Kelly's view of the team still seemed to be coming into focus, he did admit to an obvious difference being with the 49ers after spending the last few years in Philadelphia. Well, sort of. He was asked how things were different for him now.

"The ocean is on the other side, so if I was facing north in Philly, the ocean is on the right," he said. "Now the ocean is on the left. I don't feel like I'm different. I think that's a question to ask the coaches who have been around me before and been with me now to see if there's any change."

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