The San Francisco 49ers have requested permission from the New England Patriots to interview offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Reports have the 49ers fairly active in pursuing head coach candidates, with McDaniels likely joining offensive coordinator Adam Gase and defensive coordinators Dan Quinn and Todd Bowles as potential candidates.
Prior to his OC job, McDaniels was an offensive consultant with New England. He took that job after a pair of poor years, first as head coach of the Denver Broncos, and then as offensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams. He has had extensive success with the Patriots, but struggled outside of New England. His time in Denver was marked by reports that he was a tough guy to get along with, and a bit of a hot-head. I think he can learn from that, but Belichick assistants have not had much success away from The Hoodie. He has received praise from Patriots players, but it is hard to tell if he can build on that with a second chance as a head coach. Earlier this week, I put together some thoughts on McDaniels with help from Mile High Report.
The 49ers can inerview McDaniels, Gase and Quinn this week, but have to wait until next week to interview Bowles. NFL tampering rules prevent teams from interviewing coaches until after their season is complete, but there is an exception for playoff teams. This week, the 49ers can interview coaches on playoff teams with a first round bye. That would cover McDaniels, Gase and Quinn. Next week, they could interview coaches from teams that have won their wild card round matchup. That would cover Bowles. For any of these interviews, the 49ers would have to travel to the given team's city and conduct the interview.
Any other coach whose season has come to a close can interview for a head coaching job with no such restrictions. The 49ers will ask permission for anybody still under contract, but that is usually just a formality. It would be interesting with Bowles if the Cardinals win. The 49ers could get permission to interview him, but one has to wonder if Bowles would decline until after the playoffs end. He would be busy preparing the game plan for a divisional round playoff game, so he might prefer waiting, which likely would cost him a chance at a head coaching job.