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San Francisco 49ers: Chip Kelly can't figure out what's wrong with his offense

Maybe it's his defense?

By
Dave Del Grande, The Sports Xchange
San Francisco 49ers Head Coach Chip Kelly had 14 days to figure out what's wrong with his offense, but came up empty. Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI
San Francisco 49ers Head Coach Chip Kelly had 14 days to figure out what's wrong with his offense, but came up empty. Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

San Francisco 49ers coach Chip Kelly went looking for a way to ensure offensive consistency when reviewing the game films from his team's first seven contests during the bye last week.

He admitted Wednesday he couldn't find it.

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"At times there's a breakdown up front. At other times there's a drop. At other times we're not accurate with the throw," Kelly critiqued of his offense. "It's not like, 'Hey, it's just this. We make this maneuver here and everything is going to be great. We're going to come out and score 50 points.'"

So much for having a chance to win a shootout with the NFL's version of a pinball machine, the New Orleans Saints, on Sunday (4:05 p.m. ET, FOX).

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The 49ers are doing a good of putting up big numbers on the scoreboard this season. But almost always, it is on the opponent's side.

They are coming off games in which they allowed the Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, three rather mediocre offenses, to roll up 112 points. That is more than the Minnesota Vikings (104) and Seattle Seahawks (109) have given up all season.

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Some would say the bye week came at the perfect time for a team that was becoming less and less competitive. But that is only if the coaches find solutions over the 14-day break.

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Kelly admitted Wednesday the break did nothing more than allow the team to take a Christmas-type break from the grind.

"I thought (Tuesday) they had a really good mindset in terms of getting back out on the field," Kelly said of the club's first practice since a disheartening 34-17 home loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that dropped the 49ers to an NFC-worst 1-6 record. "I think it's kind of the first day of school again after having a vacation over the wintertime, and now they're back going to work. I think (Tuesday), they were really good."

The extensive review did nothing to shake Kelly's confidence in quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who is winless in two starts.

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"I think Colin's ability in the run game has given us a little bit of an added bonus," he said. "It forces you to say, 'Hey, if I'm a defensive coordinator, do I want to play man and now not have our back turned to the offense and then have the quarterback be able to take off?' So now we get more zone in some situations. So I think there's been some aspects of our offense that Colin's helped and made an impact on."

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--Running back Carlos Hyde took a step -- albeit it a small one -- toward returning to the lineup Tuesday when he was cleared to participate in the non-contact portions of the 49ers' practice.

Hyde strained his right shoulder in the 49ers' Week 6 loss at Buffalo and sat out the Week 7 home defeat at the hands of Tampa Bay.

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"He needs to be fully cleared by our medical staff to play in a game," Kelly said. "We'll see how that goes and what he can do."

--There aren't a whole lot of defensive players who look forward to facing the New Orleans Saints, but 49ers outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks is in the minority.

Heck, he would be a lock for the Hall of Fame if he had more than five shots at the Saints in his career.

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Brooks has recorded at least one sack in all five of those games, totaling 5.5.

He also found time for two interceptions, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.

His personal highlight came in the 31-21 win at New Orleans on Nov. 25, 2012, when he snatched a Drew Brees pass and raced 50 yards for his first career touchdown.

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--Cornerback Rashard Robinson (sprained knee) has not practiced this week and seems unlikely to be cleared to face the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

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