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Chip Kelly: Don't pat 49ers on back for getting close


Niners coach Chip Kelly subscribes to the no medals for trying theory.

When asked about moral victories after Sunday's 31-24 loss and how players have credited themselves with not packing it in amid a one-win season and 10-game losing streak, Kelly's response was just about what you'd expect.

"They're professionals and I think they're all competitors so I don't know what they'd gain from packing it in," Kelly said, via CSN Bay Area. "Is that going to make them feel better? They want to straighten this thing out so they're going to go out and compete and we've got a bunch of competitors in there that want to go win.

"I don't want anybody to pat them on the back and tell them that 'Hey, you did a good job. You were close.' They're grown men, they want to win and they'll continue to work that way. They've practiced great all year long. They've had great attitudes in terms of what they've got to do when we go out to the practice field and I don't think that's in anybody's mindset. I think it is questions that are asked from the outside, but there's never been a question about that from the inside."

Even if his players aren't saying it, at some point we wonder if they'd like some sort of emotional assurance from Kelly. Sunday's game against the Dolphins was fantastic, and included some pretty incredible plays from San Francisco's defense, wideout Jeremy Kerley and quarterback Colin Kaepernick. While it doesn't fit with Kelly's football-Navy Seals milieu, some acknowledgement that they nearly beat a potential playoff team with a severely abbreviated playbook and pared-down roster would probably make them feel a little better.

NFL players are grown men but they're different than the kinds of players Kelly was able to cultivate and mold as a college head coach. Maybe, after getting your emotional savvy attacked by a former owner, trying something different can help.