Saturday morning, Chris Mortensen reported that the San Francisco 49ers had hired former Jets and Browns head coach Eric Mangini to serve as "Senior Offensive Consultant". Since Mortensen's report, Mangini himself has confirmed the news. He was hosting his annual football camp and DC-based sports reporter Dianna Russini had a chance to briefly discuss the new job with him.
Why offense? He will be working to help breakdown opponents defense. He says he feels refreshed and ready to get back into the NFL #mangini— Dianna Russini (@DRussNBC) June 1, 2013
Mangini hasn't spent much time in the Bay Area but is looking forward to living in another great city. #49ers— Dianna Russini (@DRussNBC) June 1, 2013
This doesn't tell us a whole lot of much, but it does confirm much of the speculation surrounding Mangini. He is a defensive-oriented coach and this gives him an opportunity to use that skill to help the 49ers offense prepare for opponents. It is worth noting that offensive coordinator Greg Roman actually started his career as a defensive coach. Roman was a defensive lineman in college, and then worked for the Carolina Panthers as Defensive Quality Control/Strength & Conditioning Assistant in 1995 and Defensive Assistant in 1996.
ESPN's Mike Sando raised the idea that Mangini could potentially be a future replacement for defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. He brought up some interesting connections that make it something people have at least considered. That being said, he did not mention 49ers secondary coach Ed Donatell.
Earlier this year, the 49ers blocked him from interviewing with the New Orleans Saints, and a year ago they blocked him from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Donatell is under contract, and unless he is interviewing for a head coaching job, the 49ers have the right to deny him interviews. Of course, one has to wonder if it's simply to keep him in-house, or if they see him as a potential successor to Vic Fangio at some point. There has been no indication one way or another, but it has been something I've pondered each time the 49ers have denied other teams an interview opportunity.