Mike Nolan endorses Terry McDonough for 49ers' GM job

Mike Nolan endorses Terry McDonough for 49ers' GM job

Former 49ers coach Mike Nolan, who hired Scott McCloughan to handle the team’s personnel department in 2005, has a clear top choice for San Francisco’s vacant general manager position.

And one day after writing about Arizona Cardinals vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough on social media and talking about him on KNBR, McDonough has landed on the 49ers’ list of candidates.

The 49ers plan to interview McDonough for the vacant general manager post to replace Trent Baalke, multiple sources told CSNBayArea.com on Tuesday night.

“He was groomed under (Baltimore general manager) Ozzie Newsome and (Baltimore assistant general manager) Eric DeCosta, as well as (Arizona general manager) Steve Keim,” Nolan told CSNBayArea.com on Wednesday morning. “He will follow their example. He will not meddle in coaching. He will focus on getting players.”

More than half of the 49ers' starters from their three consecutive teams that advanced to the NFC Championship Game under coach Jim Harbaugh were acquired under Nolan and McCloughan. Nolan was fired during the 2008 season. McCloughan and the 49ers parted ways just prior to the 2010 draft.

The 49ers hired Nolan after he served three seasons as Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator. Nolan played the key role in hiring McCloughan, who was the Seattle Seahawks director of college scouting. Nolan and McCloughan did not know each other before working together for 3 1/2 seasons.

Nolan overlapped with McDonough for two seasons while both men worked for the Ravens in the early 2000s. Nolan said he has spoken with McDonough on “limited occasions” through the years but has closely followed his career and has spoken to people he trusts who speak highly of McDonough.

Around the league, McDonough is known as fiery and opinionated but universally respected for his ability to evaluate talent.

“He has good people skills and most of all can set his ego aside when it comes to doing what's best,” Nolan said. “In other words, conflict is a good thing as long as there is compromise.”

McDonough completed his fourth season with the Cardinals and his third in his current position, in which he oversees the college and pro personnel departments while assisting on the negotiations of player contracts. He began his career as an intern with the 49ers in 1989.

The 49ers have already interviewed Eliot Wolf and Brian Gutekunst of Green Bay, Minnesota’s George Paton, Carolina’s Brandon Beane, Indianapolis’ Jimmy Raye III and ESPN analyst Louis Riddick. The 49ers are also scheduled to interview Seattle co-directors of player personnel Scott Fitterer and Trent Kirchner.

CEO Jed York and Paraag Marathe, the 49ers’ chief strategy officer and vice president of football operations, are conducting the team’s interviews for the coach and general manager positions. 

"We need to make sure that the head coach and the general manager know each other, have a good understanding for each other," York said last week.

Among the most logical coach pairings with McDonough, according to league sources, would be Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and Washington offensive coordinator Sean McVay.

Harbaugh goes Biblical, responds to Jacobs' criticisms of his coaching

Harbaugh goes Biblical, responds to Jacobs' criticisms of his coaching

Former NFL running back Brandon Jacobs spent one season with the San Francisco 49ers in 2012 under head coach Jim Harbaugh.

Jacobs only played in two games and gained seven yards on five carries. The results were nothing like his 5,087 yards and 60 touchdowns over eight years with the Giants. 

Apparently being pushed to the bench as a 31-year-old veteran running back didn't sit well with Jacobs. 

“Going somewhere where they don’t have route conversions into certain coverages was just absurd,” Jacobs said Thursday on the Tiki and Tierney Show. “They’re just running routes in the defense, getting people killed. Size and strength is what they had, and that’s why they won.

"Let’s be real. They had great assistant coaches, but Jim didn’t know what he was doing. Jim had no idea. Jim is throwing slants into Cover-2 safeties, getting people hurt. That guy knew nothing, man."

On Saturday morning, Harbaugh responded to Jacobs with a tweet to him. 

Harbaugh went 44-19-1 in four seasons as the 49ers' head coach. He also added five playoff wins and a trip to the Super Bowl in the 2012-13 season, the one that Jacobs played for him.

Shanahan: Brooks earns place on 49ers' first-team defense

Shanahan: Brooks earns place on 49ers' first-team defense

SANTA CLARA – The eldest non-kicker on the 49ers’ roster is learning a new position this offseason.

But Ahmad Brooks has plenty of experience adapting to new positions during his 12-year NFL career. He has played inside linebacker, outside linebacker in a 3-4 and defensive end in pass-rush situations.

Now, Brooks has moved to the strong side linebacker position -- the “Sam” -- in the 49ers’ new 4-3 scheme under first-year defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.

“He’s getting them (first-team repetitions) because he deserves them,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said this week. “Watching how he played last year and then going into this offseason, you never know when a guy who has been around a bunch, if they’re going to feel that they need the offseason like other people do. And Ahmad’s been here every day and he’s needed it just like everyone has anytime you’re learning a new scheme.

“But anytime you have a veteran like that, you worry that, hey, maybe they won’t think that they do need it. But Ahmad has and he’s been here. He’s worked at everything. He’s in good shape. He’s done what we’ve asked in the weight room with Ray and he’s done everything with the position coaches and coordinator on defense. So, I think he’s learning it and he should because he’s putting the work in.”

Brooks, 33, has entered the past three offseasons with his place on the 49ers seemingly in jeopardy. But the 49ers have not been able to find a younger, better player to replace him. Brooks has tied for the team-lead in sacks in each of the past four seasons with 27 sacks over that span.

Eli Harold, Dekoda Watson and undrafted rookie Jimmie Gilbert were the other players who lined up at the Sam position during the first week of 49ers organized team activities.

Brooks and Aaron Lynch, starters at outside linebacker for the 49ers in the previous systems, have the steepest learning curves in the transition to a new defense. Lynch has moved to the team’s pass-rush defensive end position, known as the “Leo.”

“I think techniques are totally different,” Shanahan said. “How you want to take on blocks, how you want to play the run. Ahmad has been around a little longer than Aaron. So he’s probably had a little bit more crossover, some similar schemes.”