The San Francisco 49ers and head coach Jim Harbaugh likely remain connected for at leas another week and a half, but that has not stopped either side from having their name in the rumor mill mix for the future. Jim Harbaugh has been repeatedly connected to the Michigan job, and now the 49ers are getting in the mix. According to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, the team will be looking for a "young offensive specialist" as their next head coach.
Mortensen's report mentioned Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase and New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Gase has no head coaching experience, while McDaniels was head coach of the Broncos in 2009 and 2010. There were reports McDaniels was a candidate for the 49ers in 2011, although Matt Maiocco says he reportedly turned down an opportunity to interview because of potential concerns over the organization's management structure.
Jim Tomsula has been the primary internal name mentioned as an option, with Vic Fangio also getting some discussion. However, given the 49ers offensive struggles, and the weapons they have at their disposal, it makes a lot of sense to find an offensive mind. If they went with Tomsula or Fangio, they would still have to find a strong offensive mind to run the offensive side of the ball. We saw that under Jim Harbaugh, just in reverse. He thought he, Roman and the monster offensive staff could handle the offensive of the ball, so he left Vic Fangio with free reign of the defense.
The key now is just finding some semblance of balance. Gase is a tough one to figure out because we don't know exactly how much of Denver's success is Gase, as opposed to having one of the greatest football minds ever at quarterback. As for McDaniels, he crashed and burned in Denver, before returning to offensive coordinator work in St. Louis and New England. It is easy to poo poo his name, but maybe he learned something from his first failure. The Belichick coaching tree has not exactly been all that fruitful, so I get why people are down on McDaniels.