Davis ... football's most compelling figure


Davis ... football's most compelling figure

It's difficult to imagine the NFL without Al Davis.It's impossible to imagine the Raiders without Al Davis.The news Saturday morning of Al Davis' passing should not come as a huge surprise, given his obvious physical decline over the past few years. But it still is shocking because of the huge impact he had on professional football.It's difficult to think of another organization in all of sports that has been as closely associated with one person. There was "Papa Bear" George Halas, who owned the Chicago Bears from 1922 until his death in 1983. He was a player, and coached the organization from the beginning until 1967.
FAN FEEDBACK: Share your memories of Al Davis
Somehow, the Bears managed to keep going without George Halas, though many in Chicago wondered how that would be possible.This morning, the football world is wondering the same thing about the Oakland Raiders.How is it possible the Raiders will continue without one of sports' icons through the decades at the helm?Of course, the Raiders will continue.
RATTO: Davis' legacy impossible to measure
The team will be on the field Sunday to face the Houston Texans, all right. It's just difficult to think that Al Davis will no longer be around to manage and micro-manage every move.The Raiders were always so much more interesting because of Davis' influence and perceived influence on every aspect of the football team.Through the years, nearly every significant coaching decision, especially lineup changes, in some way was traced back to Davis. Nobody every really seemed to know how much he inserted himself into football decisions, but that was all part of the Raiders' mystique.Now what happens?The 49ers have plans for a stadium in Santa Clara that can accommodate two home teams, such as the Giants-Jets arrangement in New York. Davis always demonstrated zero interest in a project that the 49ers spearheaded.Regardless of whether the shared stadium makes financial sense, Davis had his own ideas. He liked the plot of land on which the Raiders currently call home. Davis was a man accustomed to doing things himself, so he wasn't about to go along with a plan not of his design.
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As AFL commissioner, he forced a quick merger with the NFL in 1966. He was the only person who served in such varied capacities in professional football as personnel assistant, scout, assistant coach, head coach, general manager, commissioner, team ownerchief executive officer.There is little doubt that Al Davis was the most interesting man in sports. And he didn't have to resort to any schtick to get attention.All he had to do was be himself.

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.