And I thought the 49ers' offseason last year was bad. As they try to pick up the pieces in 2016 and re-build, though, they have probably set themselves back a couple of more years with the hiring of Jim O'Neil as their new defensive coordinator.
Source: Coach Chip Kelly hires former Browns DC Jim O’Neil to same position with 49ers. https://t.co/BEs7Yn5hM2— Matt Maiocco (@MaioccoCSN) January 26, 2016
In his two years with the Browns, O'Neil was viewed as Mike Pettine's buddy who was suddenly given a title promotion as "defensive coordinator." In 2014, the Browns' secondary was stout, but the run defense was among the worst in football. What little success the Browns had was attributed to Pettine anyway, who was a defensive coach. This year, Pettine stepped away from the defense, allowing O'Neil a chance to grow into his role. Instead, pretty much every facet of the defense was terrible.
The run defense was gashed most of the year. The secondary was as bad as I've seen since 1999, and that includes CB Joe Haden when he was in the lineup. None of the team's rookies had breakout seasons, and players like Paul Kruger and Barkevious Mingo were utilized in roles that didn't seem to play to their strengths. The stunning lack of development of the team's young players also stood out as a negative on O'Neil's resume. I thought he'd be lucky to walk into a job as a position coach again, but to lock up a defensive coordinator position again? Preposterous. To me, it seems like Chip Kelly is hiring another castoff from the Browns who isn't prominent, and therefore can't overshadow him:
You can't hire Jim O'neil when defense is your biggest weakness/question mark as a head coach. Just can't happen— John Middlekauff (@JohnMiddlekauff) January 27, 2016
Or, maybe O'Neil's defense had the most timely effort imaginable on December 13, when the Browns defeated the 49ers by a score of 24-10. In that game, the Browns' defense erupted for 9 sacks, but that was more-so indicative of the 49ers' awful offensive display, not the Browns' defensive prowess.
What do you think, Browns fans? Are you stunned to see O'Neil pick up a premiere gig again so quickly?