Chip Kelly runs a lighting-fast offense that is designed to gas opposing defenses. An unfortunate side effect the past three years with the Philadelphia Eagles is that Kelly’s defense has also been hurt. San Francisco 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman knows all this, but he isn’t concerned about what kind of impact the fast-paced offense will have on him and his defensive teammates.
Instead, the All-Pro linebacker seems to think the narrative surrounding Kelly’s offense being bad for defenses is out of line, speaking on NFL Network‘s “Around the NFL” on Friday:
“No, I think people are blowing it out of proportion,” Bowman said (h/t CSN Bay Area). “I think any defense you play in, if your offense is getting off the field quicker, then you got to get off the field quicker. You got to hold yourself to that standard.”
The Eagles’ defense played more snaps last year than any other team, averaging 71.8 snaps per game. San Francisco, however, wasn’t far behind. Bowman and Co. averaged 67.6 snaps per game, thanks to San Francisco’s No. 31-ranked offense, which was also the worst scoring unit in the league.
Despite playing so much, the 49ers still managed to finish in the middle of the pack in terms of points allowed, finishing No. 18 with an average of 24.2 points per game.
Even if the defense is forced to play a similar amount of snaps as it did in 2015, the 49ers should at least be better offensively thanks to Kelly’s influence. Last year’s offense, coordinated by Geep Chryst, was as unimaginative as anything we’ve seen in the NFL in a long time, and the defense was oftentimes the only ready the 49ers remained competitive.
Bowman’s leadership and positive attitude regarding what could mean even more playing time for him and his defensive teammates should translate well on the field. This is especially true considering the young players like Arik Armstead, Kenneth Acker, Jaquiski Tartt and Aaron Lynch, who should continue to get better with another year under their belts.