49ers coaching assistants remain fairly under the radar in the NFL head coach search, but director of player personnel Tom Gamble remains a hot name in GM searches. A few days after interviewing with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Gamble is expected to interview this weekend with the New York Jets. Additionally, the Cleveland Browns have reportedly asked permission to interview Gamble. The Chargers apparently also asked permission, but there has been no additional word on that.
The Browns job will be an interesting one because they have been prominently connected to Oregon Ducks head coach Chip Kelly. Virtually every season there is one particularly hot college coach who runs through the NFL rumor mill. Last year, Kelly was offered the Tampa Bay Buccaneers job but turned it down. They eventually went with Rutgers' head coach Greg Schiano.
All the reports out there indicate the Browns are seriously interested in him and are prepared to make him an offer he can't refuse. He is reportedly not looking for total personnel power. The Browns are apparently interviewing him on Friday, and any interview with Gamble would be coming after that.
The big question for the 49ers will be how to replace a guy with Gamble's extensive experience. You can run through the 49ers front office hierarchy to check out some internal options. In his role as director of player personnel, Gamble "oversees both the college and pro personnel efforts." Gamble had previously been director of pro personnel for seven years. During that time, Gamble "monitored every NFL roster with an emphasis on scouting talent of upcoming pro free agents, while also maintaining continuous depth of personnel on the 49ers roster." In 2010, he was assigned additional responsibilities in collegiate scouting. This set him up well for the director job he currently holds.
That should indicate the extensive work he is involved in, and the importance of his role with the team. It is possible the 49ers will promote somebody into a director of pro personnel role, keeping Joel Patten in his college scouting director role, but having them work together and with GM Trent Baalke to keep everybody on the same page. One such candidate might be Ethan Waugh, who is currently a senior personnel assistant. He has only been in that role for one season, so they might look to slowly work him up the chain.