This past week, the 49ers preparations for the Carolina Panthers were interrupted by job interviews for their coaching staff. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and defensive line coach Jim Tomsula all either had a chance to interview for a job, or were on the radar of a team for a job. Now that the 49ers are through to the NFC title game, the interview process comes to a close for 49ers assistants until after the team is eliminated, or the bye week of the Super Bowl (whichever comes first).
Roman interviewed with Penn State for their head coach position on Monday, only to lose the job to Vanderbilt coach James Franklin. Roman and Fangio were both on Washington's radar after they fired Mike Shanahan. Washington ended up going with Jay Gruden for that job. Finally, Roman and Tomsula reportedly both interviewed on Saturday with Minnesota Vikings brass down in Charlotte, the night before the divisional game against the Panthers.
The Washington situation got a little tricky. Adam Schefter reported on Sunday that the 49ers were not happy with Washington for how they handled the process. Roman and Fangio prepared for interviews, but Washington reportedly never cancelled the interviews before hiring Gruden. Washington team spokesman Tony Wyllie said the team requested permission to interview Roman or Fangio, but never scheduled interviews.
While an official may not have been officially scheduled, I have a hunch that Wyllie is playing some word games in talking about never scheduling interviews. It is entirely possible Fangio and Roman were under the impression they would get an interview eventually, and thus prepared accordingly. The 49ers host Washington next season, so we'll see if Jim Harbaugh decides to pile on the scoreboard if possible.
The coaching openings are slowly starting to fill up. The Tennessee Titans have announced Ken Whisenhunt as their next head coach. That leaves the Vikings, Lions and Browns as the only openings left in the NFL.
If the Vikings want to have a second interview with either Roman or Tomsula it would not be until next week at the earliest. However, it is entirely possible the job is locked up before then. According to our friends at Daily Norseman, it seems like Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer is the prohibitive favorite to get the job.
In Cleveland, Mike Munchak reportedly interviewed on Monday. He joins a growing list of candidates. They would not be allowed to interview 49ers assistants until after the team's season is over. But we've heard no connections between the Browns and 49ers assistants, so they would seem to be relatively low on the totem pole at this point.
Detroit was reportedly high on Ken Whisenhunt, but they are left to find their next option. They might have some interest in Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, or they might be focusing in on Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell. They also have not been connected with 49ers assistants to date.
For now, all this stuff moves to the back-burner. We'll keep an eye on these jobs in case hirings happen this week, but for the purposes of 49ers assistants, they will not be interviewing for at least another week. Hopefully it will be even longer, but there should not be job interview distractions this week.
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