With all the talk about Jim Harbaugh’s future, hardly any time has been spent on the question of who will replace him in San Francisco.
Chris Mortensen of ESPN reports that the team is expected to look for a young offensive specialist to take over the team. Mort specifically mentioned Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase.
The last time the job was open, the 49ers tried the opposite approach. As Bill Parcells discloses in his new book, the 49ers tried to hire the then-69-year-old defensive specialist to coach the team in 2011.
From 2009 to 2010, McDaniels coached the Broncos to an 11-17 record. In a stint perhaps best known for the selection of Tim Tebow with a first-round pick, a 5-17 slide after a 6-0 start greased the skids for McDaniels’ termination with four games left in his second season.
But McDaniels has recovered nicely. Despite coach Bill Belichick’s background as a defensive guru, it’s Belichick and not McDaniels who has gotten the credit for a masterful run of offensive game plans (with the exception of the loss at Lambeau) since the team fell to 2-2 after a Monday night blowout in Kansas City.
It has been believed that 49ers defensive line coach Jim Tomsula has the early inside track to the job, in large part because Tomsula was pegged to take over for Harbaugh if he’d been traded to the Browns in February. With the offensive side of the ball needing a kick in the pants, maybe the change of plans makes sense.
The 49ers also will be looking for someone who can get along well with G.M. Trent Baalke, who somehow has escaped scrutiny for the team’s collapse in 2014. If, as it appears, Baalke will be back, a far bigger factor than X’s and O’s will be whether the new coach can work and play well with his boss.