Jim Tomsula

Vic Fangio (according to Mike Silver): If 49ers don’t choose me or Mike Shanahan, I’m outta here

Matt Maiocco wrote that Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase “appears to be emerging as a leading candidate to replace Jim Harbaugh.” Maiocco also wrote in the same story that “defensive line coach Jim Tomsula is considered the team’s top in-house candidate, multiple league sources told CSNBayArea.com.”

If the 49ers indeed choose Gase (about whom I asked five questions in a post written shortly after it was reported that the 49ers would meet with him for a second time), Tomsula, or just about anyone else besides Vic Fangio, the current 49ers defensive coordinator might head elsewhere.

It’s difficult to figure out how to process this information, mostly due to the 49ers’ well-known lack of transparency throughout their coaching search.

— Does this mean Fangio is out the door?

— Or, does he still consider himself a serious candidate to fill the 49ers’ head coaching vacancy?

— Or, does this mean Mike Shanahan — who we haven’t heard much about since he was seen dining at Chevy’s in San Francisco, other than Greg Papa ripping the Raiders a couple days later for having the gall to interview him — is still very much in play?

If what Silver heard is true, the idea that the 49ers can bring in a younger offensive mind (like Gase or Josh McDaniels), while at the same time maintaining continuity on the other side of the ball with Fangio remaining as the team’s defensive coordinator, is extremely unrealistic. And it was pretty obvious from the beginning that Fangio would almost certainly take a hike if Tomsula was promoted over him.

Assuming Jed York, Trent Baalke and Paraag Marathe aren’t incredibly concerned with appeasing Fangio, they’d better hope the guy they choose to become the team’s next head coach doesn’t suffer any growing pains in his first year with the 49ers. York may not care about “winning the press conference,” but Fangio’s preferred coaching structures — either with himself at the top, or a former 49ers offensive coordinator from the glory days as the head coach and Fangio in his familiar spot running the defense — represent the easiest and most effective ways to assuage what’s been a pretty cranky fan base since Harbaugh left.

The offense was never all that impressive with Harbaugh and Greg Roman running things, but they won enough games to keep people from complaining until things went sour in 2014 — largely because Fangio’s defenses were so consistently strong. If Harbaugh, Roman and Fangio leave, and the 49ers offense stays stagnant while the defense regresses, things could get even messier in Santa Clara.

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