I’m still holding out hope for Eric Mangini, just for comedy’s sake. But that would be a PR disaster, and based on Jed York’s press conference, it appears that PR is at least part of the decision-making process this offseason.
At this point, if forced to predict who they’ll hire (and in this case I’m forcing myself), I’ll pay attention to Adam Schefter, who said the 49ers will decide to hire Chip Kelly or Mike Shanahan within the next 24 hours. He later reported that Tom Coughlin withdrew his name from consideration for the Eagles job, and Ian Rapoport says Coughlin isn’t coming to out to the West Coast to coach the 49ers either. Good for you, Tom Coughlin. Retire and enjoy life.
If Schefter is correct, the 49ers have made a surprising decision to spend big money on a famous coach. But which famous coach will they choose? Perhaps the one who’ll promise to let Trent Baalke choose the roster and name this guy as his offensive coordinator …
People shrugged and let out a collective “huh?” when the 49ers interviewed him. The offensive coordinator for the BROWNS? How would this even be more than a slight upgrade from the Geep Tricks we saw in 2015? However, even though Hue Jackson was probably the leader when it came to checking off whatever boxes people assumed the 49ers wanted filled, DeFilippo checks off some different ones that appeal to the ones who sign the checks.
He’s young: DeFilippo is 37 years old.
He’s local (in a sense): “DeFilippo is from Youngstown and his family has known the DeBartolos and Yorks for decades.”
He coached at the best school in the world (according to Fitz, Teddy R and Jeddy Y): DeFilippo was a graduate assistant at Notre Dame in 2001-02.
He’s on the right side of the ball: DeFilippo was a quarterbacks coach for the Raiders, Jets, San Jose State and back with the Raiders before serving as the Browns offensive coordinator in 2015.
He’s in demand (as an offensive coordinator): The Rams interviewed DeFilippo yesterday.
He’s connected: DeFilippo worked as the offensive quality control guy for Coughlin in 2005-06.
But Coughlin would appear to be off the board, as the leading candidates — according to Schefter — are Shanahan (“interest has ramped up considerably”) and Kelly, who Bovada had as the favorite a week ago.
What about Josh McDaniels?
reports are #Titans closing in on Jon Robinson for their GM opening…if that happens, hearing he’ll tap Josh McDaniels for head coach
— shalise manza young (@shalisemyoung) January 14, 2016
When people ask if 49ers might be waiting for OCs still in playoffs, I’ve said I think McDaniels is only one Jed really likes and… (1/2)
— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) January 14, 2016
And I’ve guessed that McDaniels has signaled he’s not interested in 49ers at this time. Very explainable if TEN is available for JM (2/2)
— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) January 14, 2016
What about Darrell Bevell?
Other than speculation by Ted Robinson and Tim Ryan, I’ve heard nothing linking Bevell to the 49ers.
What about Dirk Koetter?
Source: Dirk Koetter is telling assistant coaches in Tampa he has the head coaching job.
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) January 14, 2016
What about Mike Shula?
Via Matt Barrows:
The team also has inquired about Panthers offensive coordinator Mike Shula, whose agent has said that he will not interview for openings while Carolina still is in the playoffs. Shula seems to satisfy a number of the 49ers’ criteria having worked extensively with NFL quarterbacks. The Panthers’ Cam Newton is a favorite to be named MVP this year.
Barrows also reported this today: “John DeFlippo + Mike Shanahan for the
#49ers is a possibility just as DeFlippo + Tom Coughlin was an option.”
Let’s say the 49ers are limited to two choices …
1. Swallow hard and offer $7 million per year to an established coach with a large ego and personnel power in his last job, a coach who probably wouldn’t be happy without some form of personnel say in Santa Clara, either immediately or over time. Choose one, and you satisfy college football fans who are starving for interesting, fast-paced offense. Choose the other, and you win the PR war as former 49ers greats like Steve Young, Brent Jones and Ronnie Lott praise the team in ways that haven’t been heard since 2011-13.
2. Offer a young, up-and-coming, offensive playcaller with whom the York family is quite familiar, a Tomsula-like contract. Then, dig in for another offseason of questions from the media and fans, all while imagining how great it’ll feel to say “I told you so” when the relative unknown makes the Yorks and Baalke look like geniuses several months down the road.
Are the Yorks and Baalke more concerned with feeling comfortable when they check out newspapers, talk shows and social media, or how they feel inside their own building and when they look at their overall payroll? I would always assume the latter, which is why I started writing this to explain why I thought DeFilippo might come out of this as the 49ers head coach.
But Schefter is connected, and I’m just a “fan blogger,” so my assumption has changed. If Shanahan or Kelly do one of two things: (1) agree to take a cut in pay compared to their previous job (good luck) or (2) agree to sign the dotted line with DeFilippo in tow, it could make the 49ers’ decision that much easier. My guess: they’ll hire Shanahan, just because there’s been so much noise surrounding him over the last couple of days. But Kelly has obviously been in play since the Eagles fired him. (And if the Yorks change their minds and make DeFilippo the head coach, that wouldn’t shock me either.)