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SANTA CLARA -- Cornerback Perrish Cox will help the 49ers compensate for season-ending injuries to Kyle Williams and Kendall Hunter.Ted Ginn will continue to handle the main duties on kickoffs and punts. Cox has been tabbed as the team's new backup return man, he told CSNBayArea.com on Friday, just prior to the 49ers' departure to play the St. Louis Rams.Williams and Hunter are the only other players on the roster who have returned kicks this season. Williams led the 49ers with averages of 13.0 yards on four punt returns and 27.2 yards on 13 kickoff returns.Hunter averaged 23.6 yards on seven kickoff returns. Ginn has averaged 10.6 yards on 25 punt returns and 23.0 yards on 11 kickoff returns.Williams (left knee) and Hunter (left Achilles) were placed on injured reserve this week and are officially out for the season."I really feel bad for both of those guys," Cox said. "Now, I have to step up whenever I'm called on."Cox, who did not have any kick returns in the exhibition season, has been practicing punt and kickoff returns all season, he said. He returned kicks with the Denver Broncos in the 2010 regular season and in training camp the following year. In 2010, he averaged 2.3 yards on three punt returns, with a 19.1 average on nine kickoffs.Rookie running back LaMichael James has been listed on the 49ers' depth chart as the No. 2 man behind Ginn on both kickoffs and punts. James has not been active for a game this season.Coach Jim Harbaugh on Friday declined to comment on the team's backups on punt and kickoff returns. Harbaugh did reveal, however, that Ginn takes over for Williams as the team's emergency quarterback. Ginn played quarterback in high school.With David Akers limited this week in practices due to a pelvis injury, Harbaugh said the emergency kicker is Andy Lee or Isaac Sopoaga. Akers has been cleared to play Sunday.

Waiting for Shanahan could be a good thing for 49ers

Waiting for Shanahan could be a good thing for 49ers

The 49ers were willing to be patient in securing their next head coach.

Depending on the outcome of the Atlanta Falcons’ game Sunday against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game, they could be required to wait another two weeks.

The other five organizations with vacancies after the regular season have filled their head-coach positions with four assistants from teams that did not qualify for the playoffs and former Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, whom the Denver Broncos hired after his team was bounced in the AFC wild-card round.

Early in the 49ers’ search to replace Chip Kelly, the top targets appeared to be Josh McDaniels and Kyle Shanahan, the offensive coordinators for two of the top-three scoring teams in the NFL.

The coach-general manager team of McDaniels and New England Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio was the runaway favorite to be the package deal, according to sources close to the 49ers’ coaching search.

But when Caserio chose to remain as Bill Belichick’s top personnel lieutenant – just has he has in the past when other opportunities presented themselves – the job became less attractive to McDaniels, according to those sources. McDaniels announced on Monday he would remain with the Patriots for at least another year.

With McDaniels out of the picture, Shanahan became the clear favorite over Seattle assistant Tom Cable. And once Cable publicly stepped aside due to suspicions he was only being used to secure a commitment from Shanahan, only one candidate remained for the job.

Since the middle of this week, Shanahan has been the presumptive coach of the 49ers. Falcons coach Dan Quinn was the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator two years ago when he was officially hired just hours after the Super Bowl. He knows he drill. And this week he announced to the Falcons staff that Shanahan would be the next coach of the 49ers, according to the NFL Network.

Regardless of the outcome of Sunday’s game, the 49ers will be allowed to interview Shanahan next week – most likely, Tuesday in Atlanta. Shanahan will be involved in the process to hire the next general manager. Minnesota assistant general manager George Paton appears to be the favorite. The 49ers expect the general manager position to be filled early in the week.

If the Falcons lose, the 49ers would be able to hire Shanahan on their own time frame. It would not be expected to take long.

But if the Falcons win, the 49ers would have to wait until after Feb. 5, when the Super Bowl will be played in Houston, to hire Shanahan.

There is an advantage of being forced to wait. In the long term, the 49ers could benefit from their next head coach gaining the experience of a Super Bowl week and calling a game on the biggest stage in all of sports.

Report: Bradley accepts Chargers defensive coordinator job

Report: Bradley accepts Chargers defensive coordinator job

Former Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley reportedly agreed Friday night to become defensive coordinator of the Los Angeles Chargers.

The 49ers were reportedly in pursuit of Bradley to join the staff of presumptive coach Kyle Shanahan. Bradley spent four seasons as Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator prior to landing the Jacksonville job in 2013. The Jaguars were 14-48 during Bradley's tenure.

Bradley was also reportedly the top candidate for Washington’s defensive coordinator position.

Bradley agreed to join Anthony Lynn’s staff, ESPN reported. Bradley was selected for the Chargers position over defensive backs coach Ron Milus, according to the report.

Shanahan, the offensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons, confirmed this week he intends to take part in a second interview with the 49ers early next week after the NFC Championship game Sunday against the Green Bay Packers. He remains as the only candidate for the 49ers' opening, which became open when Chip Kelly was fired after the team's 2-14 season.

The 49ers are not allowed to officially hire Shanahan until the Falcons’ season is over. Shanahan is expected to be involved in the process to hire the 49ers’ general manager, who replaces fired Trent Baalke. Minnesota assistant general manager George Paton appears to be the front-runner. He is scheduled for a second interview, likely on Tuesday in Atlanta.

Arizona vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough is the only other individual the 49ers interviewed who remains “in play” for the GM job, according to sources.