SAN FRANCISCO CA - JANUARY 07: Jim Harbaugh speaks at a press conference where he was introduced as the new San Francisco 49ers head coach at the Palace Hotel on January 7 2011 in San Francisco California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
I wanted to provide some sort of update about the 49ers coaching staff even though information is actually a bit light at this point. After speaking with some if not all of the 49ers current coaches, we've seen reports that offensive coordinator Mike Johnson is headed to UCLA and defensive coordinator Greg Manusky is in the midst of the Manusky World Tour looking for a job. Jim Harbaugh has yet to make any official hires, but the news reports indicate several things can be inferred at this point. The most recent recap of much of this can be found HERE. Thanks to nocal81 for posting this in a FanShot.
Vic Fangio: Although Fangio has yet to accept the defensive coordinator position with the 49ers, it sounds like it's his for the taking. He interviewed with the Cowboys but we have yet to
here hear why exactly. Is it a matter of getting some contract leverage with the 49ers? Is it just to do his due diligence and see what's out there? I can't blame him for that at this point. Also, Barrows briefly addressed the issue of regression in Fangio defenses.
OC position: According to the nfl.com article linked above, Jim Harbaugh would be the de facto offensive coordinator. He'd hire a running game coordinator and passing game coordinator, but he'd be in charge of the offense. If that's the case, I definitely think research is in order for coaches that handle OC duties and how they've performed. The 49ers haven't had a person in that role recently so it's something worth researching a bit more. It has worked with some coaches but not with others who have seen those duties stripped from them at some point during their tenure. Any thoughts on Harbaugh calling his own plays?
Jim Leavitt: The latest reports have the 49ers considering former University of South Florida coach Jim Leavitt for their linebacker coach job. Leavitt was fired after allegedly striking a player in 2009 and would likely be using this position to rebuild his reputation and eventually get back into a higher position. That's a bit of speculation on my part but the ambition to be a head coach would seemingly still be there. Working with an up-and-coming head coach like Harbaugh could boost Leavitt's image if it's a successful pairing.
Current 49ers coaches: The nfl.com article mentions that RB coach Tom Rathman, DL coach Jim Tomsula, and OL coach Mike Solari are expected to remain with the 49ers. Rathman is interesting because of his previous experience in the west coast offense. I'm wondering if the "running game coordinator" that was mentioned would be his new role, or if he would coach linebackers with an additional coach brought in as some sort of running coordinator. The article wasn't really clear about that.
As for Solari, I'd be interested to see what he could do with guys like Mike Iupati and Anthony Davis in a second season. Both showed strong improvement at times in 2010 and will hopefully build on that in 2011. Additionally, if the offensive line could actually remain healthy, one has to wonder how they might perform as a cohesive unit. There's no guarantees they'll remain healthy, but it's worth considering.