Patriots' Day could be pivotal in 49ers' coach-GM search

Patriots' Day could be pivotal in 49ers' coach-GM search

The 49ers’ search to piece together their next coach-general manager combination is in Day 3.

Team executives Jed York and Paraag Marathe interviewed Minnesota assistant general manager George Paton in the morning. York and Marathe are scheduled to travel to Atlanta in the afternoon to meet up with Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.

The key day of the search will take place on Saturday, when the 49ers are scheduled to be the last of three teams to interview New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

Widely considered the hottest of the NFL coaching candidates, McDaniels is scheduled to have three-hour interviews with Jacksonville, Los Angeles and the 49ers. He will have one-hour breaks between those interviews, a source told CSNBayArea.com.

The Patriots’ playoff schedule dictates that the interviews will last an hour less than typical. Because New England opens its Super Bowl quest on Saturday, Jan. 14, coach Bill Belichick requested his coaches conclude all their interviews in time to get back to work full time on Sunday to begin preparations on a normal seven-day work week.

The 49ers have received permission to interview Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio, a source said. But it’s still unclear whether Caserio will take part in an interview for the 49ers’ general manager position or whether he is content to remain as the Patriots’ top personnel executive.

One league source described any talks that take place with the top candidates: “You’re not interviewing them as much as they’re interviewing you,” he said.

If Caserio remains with New England, it does not appear to be a deal-breaker for McDaniels, who could be comfortable working with ESPN analyst Louis Riddick or Green Bay director of football operations Eliot Wolf. The 49ers interviewed Wolf and Packers director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst on Thursday.

McDaniels declined to interview for the 49ers’ vacancy in 2011, shortly after he was fired as coach of the Denver Broncos. He agreed to interview with the 49ers two years ago but ended up remaining with the Patriots while then-general manager Trent Baalke chose Jim Tomsula over Adam Gase.

So what makes the 49ers’ situation more attractive this time?

The 49ers have completely torn down the football structure at the time. Baalke was fired, along with coach Chip Kelly. So a top-coaching candidate, such as McDaniels, will get an opportunity to start building with a GM with whom he is comfortable.

Moreover, the 49ers will have an expected $80 million in salary cap room – nearly twice as much as the No. 2 team among those with coaching openings – and 10 draft picks, including the No. 2 overall selection.

NFL rules allow teams to conduct only one interview with an assistant coach before the two-week break before the Super Bowl. If an assistant coach has already interviewed with a team, he may have a second interview no later than the Sunday preceding the Super Bowl. The league’s anti-tampering policy states that no contact agreement can be agreed upon until after the conclusion of the coach’s season.

49ers interviews
Wednesday
Buffalo interim head coach Anthony Lynn (coach)

Thursday
Green Bay director of football operations Eliot Wolf (GM)
Green Bay director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst (GM)

Friday
Minnesota assistant general manager George Paton (GM)
Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan (coach)

Saturday
New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels (coach)
*New England director of player personnel Nick Caserio (GM)

Sunday
Indianapolis vice president of football operations Jimmy Raye III (GM)

Monday
Washington offensive coordinator Sean McVay (coach)
Carolina defensive coordinator Sean McDermott (coach)

Tuesday
Carolina assistant general manager Brandon Beane (GM)
ESPN analyst Louis Riddick (GM)

Next in line
Miami defensive coordinator Vance Joseph (coach)
Seattle offensive line/assistant head coach Tom Cable (coach)
Seattle co-director of player personnel Scott Fitterer (GM)
Seattle co-director of player personnel Trent Kirchner (GM)

*-The 49ers have received permission from New England to interview Caserio, but it’s uncertain if Caserio will take part in the interview.

Bowman guarantees he will not be odd-man out of 49ers' competition

Bowman guarantees he will not be odd-man out of 49ers' competition

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers’ biggest free-agent acquisition on defense and one of the team’s first-round draft picks play the same position.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said he is holding off on thinking about how everything is going to play out this season at the linebacker position.

“I really try not to envision it too hard because I see a lot of good players there,” Shanahan said Tuesday during the 49ers’ first week of organized team activities.

The 49ers awarded weakside linebacker Malcolm Smith guaranteed money as an unrestricted free agent totaling approximately $12 million. Then, on the first day of the draft, the 49ers’ No. 3 rated prospect experienced a free fall, and the club traded into the back end of the first round to select him.

While Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster has been sidelined through the offseason program as he recovers from shoulder injury, he figures to compete with Smith for the starting job. Foster will also learn middle linebacker, where NaVorro Bowman has earned first-team All-Pro honors in four seasons.

Bowman looks to be nearly all the way back from a torn Achilles that limited him to just four games last season.

“You don’t know what’s going to happen,” Shanahan said. “Seeing Bow out here and how healthy he’s been, knowing we’ve added some good free agents, and the way the draft worked out, having a linebacker we had ranked very highly fall to us at the end of the first round. We got a lot better pretty fast.

“When you ask me how it’s going to play out, I’m not sure. It’s a good problem to have. It’s something you’d like to have any every position. There’s going to be a very good player who’s not out there all the time. That’s not a bad thing. That makes the two guys who are out there go a lot harder and play better. It makes special teams better and it allowed you to survive injuries, which almost always happen.”

Bowman’s vision for the upcoming season includes him retaining his role in the middle of the 49ers’ defense.

"I won't be on the sideline, I'll tell you that right now,” Bowman said.

Bowman said he was not fazed with the 49ers selected Foster in the first round. Foster is likely considered the heir apparent to Bowman.

Shanahan called Bowman after the selection of Foster was made, but Bowman said he did not need to speak with the coach about why the selection was made.

“I wasn’t expecting it,” Bowman said of the phone call, “but it was good to hear from him, to see that he had something to say or an idea of what he wanted to get across to me.

“But we haven’t talked about it. I did that on purpose. It doesn’t matter to me. I’ll compete with anyone, whether he’s 21 or 35. It doesn’t matter. I’m a guy who’s going to give my best effort and have full confidence in my abilities to play this game. I know how much I study this game. I know how good I am and that’s what was going to bring back here.

“It’s always a competition. There’s always someone trying to take your spot. As a player, if you keep that in mind, you’ll always put the work in that’s needed.”

 

49ers reissue Bryant Young's number

49ers reissue Bryant Young's number

SANTA CLARA -- For the first time since Bryant Young retired following the 2007 season, the 49ers have placed his old number back into service.

Linebacker Dekoda Watson was issued No. 97 for the team’s organized team activities this week.

Young was a four-time Pro Bowl selection and eight-time winner of the Len Eshmont Award as the 49ers’ most inspirational and courageous player. No 49ers player has worn No. 97 in the past nine seasons or offseasons.

Rookie defensive lineman Solomon Thomas is now wearing No. 94 after being issued No. 96 for the rookie minicamp. Linebacker Reuben Foster is wearing No. 56.

Rookie defensive tackle D.J. Jones now wearing No. 96. Cornerback Rashard Robinson switched back to No. 33 after an earlier change to No. 26. Running back Kapri Bibbs is now 26. Rookie running back Joe Williams is No. 32 after wearing No. 33 at the NFLPA Rookie Premiere in Los Angeles over the weekend. Veteran running back Tim Hightower is wearing No. 22.