While the 49ers search for an offensive coordinator hasn't quite been a soap opera, it's certainly taken a strange turn. As discussed yesterday, Scott Linehan formally turned down the offer to be the 49ers offensive coordinator. As PFT put it, apparently beggars CAN be choosers.
While I understood the personal reasons for not taking the job, I'd imagine his actions confused the 49ers a little bit. If he decided he didn't want to uproot his family I'm surprised he went through two interviews. While it bugs me a little, there's nothing we can do about it.
Following that disclosure, Mike Singletary released a statement:
"I believe and have faith in the process we have set forth in our search for an offensive coordinator," Singletary said. "While we'd like to fill this position sooner than later, we will remain patient in our approach. The right person for the 49ers is out there."
Seeing as I thought Linehan would have been a great fit (maybe even the "best" fit), I'm feeling a bit conflicted now. When Singletary says the right person is out there, I assume he means that in the sense of who is meant to be in a fate/destiny sort of way. I really don't know if I buy that or not, but clearly the 49ers OC is somewhere out there.
MM indicated that he had no idea what Plan B is. Barrows pointed out that either Clyde Christensen or Rob Chudzinski would be seen as a Plan B, or maybe the team could try to interview someone at the Senior Bowl.
In hiring an offensive coordinator I don't necessarily think a Plan B option will take deep personal offense. They've been through the interview process and sometimes that's how it plays out. In fact, it's possible they would be motivated by such a decision timeline. I know I had at least one experience where I wasn't the first choice, but ended up with the position eventually. At first it seems a little weird, but a job is a job and if a good opportunity comes along, you take it.
As we go forward, there is always the chance of some candidate sitting behind door #3 that we don't know about yet. For now, we'll look at what's left. In the middle of last week, Barrows did a solid run down of the 4 original candidates. Of our remaining two candidates, he said:
Last/current job: Browns' offensive coordinator
- Up-and-coming offensive coordinator who helped resurrect Cleveland's offense in 2007.
- Former tight ends coach whose protégés have flourished in his system
- Might give the 49ers an inside edge on landing a quarterback, Derek Anderson, who can push Hill.
- 49ers could hire Rip Scherer, who worked under Chudzinski as quarterbacks coach.
- One-year wonder? Browns faltered badly last season as Chudzinski stuck with Anderson, who was a disappointment.
- System appears to lean heavily on the passing game
- Not a lot of experience as offensive coordinator.
Last/current job: Colts receivers coach
- Been a component of a consistently excellent passing attack for the last eight seasons.
- Would mesh well with offensive line coach Chris Foerster; They worked together for eight seasons, first in Tampa Bay and later in Indianapolis.
- Spent only one season, 2001 in Tampa, as an offensive coordinator.
- Does not come from a smash-mouth system; Indianapolis ranked 31st in rushing this past season.
The team clearly has no problem taking their time figuring this out, so it's hard to tell how soon we'll have any new info. Could be today, could be next week. One potential mystery candidate (based on pure speculation) is Eagles QB coach Pat Shurmur. His time just freed up quite a bit. Barrows mentioned Shurmur, and a Philly newspaper suggested maybe Steve Spagnuolo would bring him to St. Louis to be the offensive coordinator. So just one more option to ponder.
FOOCH'S NOTE 11:30AM - Apparently Linehan might have turned down the 49ers job for more than just personal reasons. A St. Louis newspaper is reporting he's in the mix for the Buccaneers OC position and possibly the Jets position as well. Glad he was up front about that.
Also, Barrows is indicating the 49ers will expand their search with more interviews in Mobile, Al, during Senior Bowl week.