Five Candidates to Replace DeFilippo for Oakland Raiders QB Coach

4 of 6

August 24, 2014; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback coach Geep Chryst during the third quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Levi

3. Geep Chryst

Geep Chryst is currently the quarterbacks coach in San Francisco, although that staff looks in flux now with Jim Harbaugh gone and Jim Tomsula having taken over the reins. Chryst may want out, or Tomsula may want to replace him, so Chryst may be a free agent in one way or another in the coming days.

Chryst is another coach with extensive experience, beginning his college coaching career in 1987. His first NFL job was in 1991 with the Chicago Bears, serving as the Quality Control coach and Director of Research, taking a leave midway through the 1992 to both coach and play in the World Football League (he was a long-snapper).

Chryst joined the staff of the Arizona Cardinals in 1996, serving at first as Tight Ends coach for head coach Vince Tobin before being promoted to Quarterbacks Coach to work alongside offensive coordinator Marc Trestman in 1998. Chryst worked with second-year quarterback Jake Plummer in his first full season as a starter (he had started 9 games in 1997), as Plummer led the Cardinals to a 9-7 record, throwing for over 3,700 yards (a mark he wouldn’t reach again until 2004 in Denver) and 17 TD’s while completing 59.2% of his passes (a mark he wouldn’t exceed until 2003 in Denver).

Plummer, always interception-prone, also threw 20 picks that season. Chryst’s work with the young Plummer impressed enough people to land him an offensive coordinator job in San Diego under head coach Mike Riley.

In San Diego, Chryst, who served as both OC and QB’s coach, worked with quarterbacks Jim Harbaugh and Erik Kramer, who were both very late in their careers at that point. Ryan Leaf, who the team had drafted second overall the year before, had to sit out the entire 1999 season due to a training camp injury.

Jim Harbaugh, who started 12 games in the 1999 season, enjoyed the second-highest passing yards total of his career up to that point with 2,761 yards to go along with 10 TD passes. Harbaugh also had 14 INT’s that year, however, which was also good enough for second-highest in his career. Erik Kramer, who started four games that year and attempted 141 passes, threw an astounding 10 interceptions as well.

The two quarterbacks struggled to make decisions in Chryst’s no-huddle offense, but Harbaugh also got a lot of production out of it.  In 2000, Ryan Leaf returned and started week one – only to complete less than half his passes and throw five picks to only a single touchdown in two weeks. Ryan Leaf ultimately saw significant action in eleven games that season, starting nine. Leaf completed 50% of his passes, threw eleven touchdowns and eighteen interceptions.

Harbaugh, in his final season as a player, started five games that year, completed about 61% of his passes, and threw 8 TD’s and 10 INT’s. Third year backup QB Moses Moreno started two games and threw another two picks and no TD’s. The Chargers could not run the ball either, and the team went down in flames, 1-15.

Chryst did not survive the abysmal 1-15 season, and returned to Arizona, where he spent three years as the quarterbacks coach again. He spent two more years working with Jake Plummer, who in 2001 had his best season as a Cardinal, throwing more TD’s than INT’s for the first time in his career. Plummer remained in Arizona one more year, then left for Denver.

In 2003, Chryst worked with veteran QB Jeff Blake and rookie QB Josh McCown. The two combined for 3,265 yards, 18 TD’s and 22 INT’s in 2003, and the team went 4-12. Chryst was was fired along with Head Coach Dave McGinnis and the rest of his staff.

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Current NFL free agent Colin Kaepernick is not in Madden 23
Current NFL free agent Colin Kaepernick is not in Madden 23 /

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  • Chryst resurfaced a couple years later in Carolina as a TE’s coach and Quality Control man for John Fox. He stayed and excelled in the role from 2006 through 2010 before getting back to quarterback coaching for his former player, Jim Harbaugh. Harbaugh hired Chryst to be the Quarterbacks Coach in San Francisco in 2011, working under OC Greg Roman.

    Former #1 overall pick Alex Smith, in his seventh season, had the best year of his career in 2011 under Chryst, Roman and Harbaugh’s tutelage, completing 61.3% of his passes for 3,144 yards and 17 TD’s, all career highs.  He also threw only five INT’s for a career low 1.1% INT percentage.

    The 49ers went 13-3 and made a deep playoff run behind the dramatically improved Alex Smith, a playoff run that saw Smith throw 5 TD passes and no interceptions before the 49ers were bounced in a dramatic overtime loss to the Giants. Smith was on pace for another great season in 2012, completing over 70% of his passes for 13 TD’s and 5 picks before suffering a concussion during the ninth game of the year. He was benched for Colin Kaepernick, and the rest is history.

    The second-year man Kaepernick played out of his mind in the remainder of 2012, leading the team all the way to the Super Bowl and setting a playoff rushing record by a QB in the process. He completed 62.4% of his passes in 7 regular season starts, for 10 TD’s and only 3 picks while adding some value as a runner as well. In the 2012 playoffs, he completed 61.3% of his passes and threw 4 TD’s and 2 INT’s and added another 3 TD’s on the ground.

    Kaepernick had another standout year in 2013, becoming a real star in the NFL. While his completion percentage slipped to 58.4%, he still hit 21 TD passes to only eight picks, and added over 500 yards rushing and 4 rushing TD’s. Kaep led the team to the NFC Championship, where he threw 2 picks to a historically good Seattle defensive unit in the team’s memorable season-ending loss.

    Kaepernick’s completion percentage was up a bit in 2014 as the team struggled all season, and he had a career high in passing yards with 3,397.  He threw a respectable 19 TD passes to 10 INT’s, and ran the ball a career high 104 times for 639 yards but only scored once on the ground. While it was a step back for him, and questions have arisen regarding his accuracy and decision-making, he still had respectable starting QB numbers.

    Chryst of course only deserves some of the credit for the last few years in San Francisco. Much of that credit falls to Jim Harbaugh, who is a respected quarterback mentor. Still, Chryst was brought in by Harbaugh for a reason, and Chryst did spend every day working directly Smith and Kaepernick.

    The fact is that, between Harbaugh, Roman and Chryst, they figured out how to use Alex Smith and allowed him to play the best football of his professional life, and they managed to use the tools and skills that Colin Kaepernick has to mask some of his weaknesses and deficiencies as the team made two very deep playoff runs with him at the helm.

    Chryst has been around, he’s worked with a lot of quarterbacks and he very recently worked with one of the best offensive head coaches in the NFL, a man who he once coached and who clearly has respect for him. It’s hard to tell what Geep Chryst will do next. Will he stay and coach with Tomsula? Harbaugh has already filled his Michigan staff, but perhaps Geep can join his brother, Paul Chryst, on the Wisconsin Badgers staff? Will the long-time coach just sit this one out?

    There is no way to tell, but he’s certainly a candidate the Raiders should at least keep an eye on, especially given that they’re apparently already raiding the 49ers coaching pantry, having hired Brad Seely and interviewed Eric Mangini.  He’s worth a look.

    Next: Candidate #4: Todd Downing