49ers Mailbag: Rest comes with playoff bye


49ers Mailbag: Rest comes with playoff bye

The 49ers have clinched the NFC West, but that is not good enough.In order for the 49ers to have a reasonable chance to make a playoff run, they also have to clinch a first-round bye in the playoffs. That's why the 49ers can't afford to slow down in the regular season until they accomplish that goal.
Linebacker Patrick Willis is not expected to play Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals due to a right hamstring strain. But all other healthy 49ers players must be ready to go for the remainder of the regular season.
With an eye on the playoffs, we open today's 49ers Mailbag . . . Q: How will the Niners treat their starters the rest of the way? Full go or rest them? @aharris916
My response: The 49ers can't afford to rest anyone who might be able to help them win football games. The difference between finishing second and third in the NFC could make a huge difference during the playoffs.That is why the 49ers must play their best players until, at least, they have clinched the No. 2 seed in the NFC behind the Green Bay Packers.
If the 49ers finish with the No. 2 seed, they'll be able to rest their starters during the wild-card round of the playoffs. That's because the top two seeds in each conference is assured a first-round bye. That's the rest the 49ers are eyeing at this point.If the 49ers finish with the No. 2 seed, they can spend two weeks to get ready for a potential divisional playoff game against the New Orleans Saints at Candlestick.If the 49ers are the third seed, they would not get any break. They'd have to beat a wild-card team at Candlestick for the right to play the Saints at New Orleans. And that's a tall order. Q: If Saints win out and 49ers win out (except for Pitt), who gets the bye? @Arkhams_Razor
My response: If the 49ers and Saints finish with the same record, the 49ers would win any tie-breaker. That's because the 49ers would have a better conference record than the Saints.With four games remaining, the 49ers essentially have a two-game lead over the Saints for the No. 2 seed. Any combination of three 49ers victories and Saints defeats clinches the No. 2 seed for the 49ers.And, then, maybe they can talk about resting some of their players.

Comings and goings: 49ers coaching staff

Comings and goings: 49ers coaching staff

First-year coach Kyle Shanahan is close to completing his 49ers coaching staff.

Shanahan will handle the duties of the offensive coordinator, the position he held with Houston, Washington and Atlanta over the past nine NFL seasons.

Robert Saleh is the 49ers' new defensive coordinator, while Richard Hightower has been hired as the special-teams coordiator.

Here's a look at the 49ers' coaching staffs under Shanahan and last season under Chip Kelly:

Position: Coach (2016 job)
Head coach: Kyle Shanahan (Falcons, offensive coordinator)
Defensive coordinator: Robert Saleh (Jaguars, linebackers coach)
Special teams coordinator: Richard Hightower (Bears, assistant special teams)
Assistant head coach/tight ends: Jon Embree (Buccaneers, tight ends)
Run game specialist: Mike McDaniel (Falcons, offensive assistant)
Quarterbacks: Rich Scangarello (Wagner, offensive coordinator)
Running backs: Bobby Turner (Falcons, running backs)
Wide receivers: Mike LaFleur (Falcons, offensive assistant)
Offensive line: Vacant
Offensive assistant: T.C. McCartney (LSU, offensive assistant)
Senior defensive assistant: Jason Tarver (49ers, outside linebackers)
Defensive line: Jeff Zgonina (N.Y. Giants, assistant defensive line)
Linebackers: Johnny Holland (Browns, inside linebackers)
Defensive backs: Jeff Hafley (49ers, defensive backs)
Offensive quality control: Taylor Embree (Chiefs, defensive assistant)
Defensive quality control: Bobby Slowik
Head strength and conditioning: Ray Wright

* * *

Position: Coach (current status)
Head coach: Chip Kelly
Offensive coordinator: Curtis Modkins (Bears, running backs)
Defensive coordinator: Jim O’Neil
Special teams coordinator: Derius Swinton
Quarterbacks: Ryan Day (Ohio State, quarterbacks)
Running backs: Tom Rathman
Wide receivers: Bob Bicknell
Tight ends: Jeff Nixon (Baylor, co-offensive coordinator/running backs)
Offensive line: Pat Flaherty (Jaguars, offensive line)
Assistant offensive line: Eric Wolford (South Carolina, offensive line)
Defensive line: Jerry Azzinaro (Cal, defensive line)
Assistant defensive line: Vince Oghobaase
Outside linebackers: Jason Tarver (49ers, senior defensive assistant)
Inside linebacker: Joe Bowden
Defensive backs: Jeff Hafley (49ers, defensive backs)
Assistant defensive backs: Roy Anderson (Bears, assistant secondary)
Assistant special teams: Michael Clay
Offensive quality control: Mick Lombardi (Jets, offensive assistant/assistant QBs coach)
Defensive quality control: Tem Lukabu
Senior analyst: Dana Bible
Director of human performance: Mark Uyeyama

Report: 49ers receive permission from Broncos to interview O-line coach

Report: 49ers receive permission from Broncos to interview O-line coach

John Benton, who coached on the same staff during Kyle Shanahan’s four seasons with the Houston Texans, has reportedly received permission from the Denver Broncos to interview with the 49ers.

The Broncos hired Benton on Jan. 15 to work as the team’s assistant offensive line coach under line coach Jeff Davidson.

But Denver coach Vance Joseph and general manager John Elway provided Benton permission to interview with the 49ers, Denver’s 9News reported. The Sacramento Bee was first to report the 49ers were looking at Benton.

The offensive line coach is the last major position that remains vacant on Shanahan’s staff.

Benton worked last season as Jacksonville’s assistant offensive line coach. He worked the previous 13 seasons as offensive line coach with the St. Louis Rams (2003-05), Houston (2006-2013) and Miami (2014-15).

Shanahan’s first NFL coaching job was with Houston in 2006, when he coached wide receivers. Shanahan became the quarterbacks coach with the Texans in 2007 before spending the next two seasons as offensive coordinator under then-coach Gary Kubiak.

The 49ers announced nine additions to the coaching staff on Friday.

Also, the 49ers are expected to hire Daniel Bullocks as assistant defensive backs coach, according to The Sporting News. Bullocks worked in the same role with the Jacksonville Jaguars last season. The Jaguars' linebackers coach last season, Robert Saleh, is the 49ers' new defensive coodinator. Bullocks appeared in 31 games in three NFL seasons with the Detroit Lions in 2006 and '08.