The San Francisco 49ers will interview Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin on Thursday, according to NFL Network reporter Aditi Kinkhabwala. The interview is scheduled to happen the day after Austin interviews with the Atlanta Falcons. This comes after the 49ers interviewed New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels on Saturday.
The 49ers said the coach search would likely take 7-10 days, but they also said they would take as much time as necessary to find the right guy. If Austin is scheduled to interview on Thursday, it makes me think this search lasts into next week. There is nothing wrong with that if it is a well-thought out process, and thus far that process appears to include casting a very wide net.
McDaniels spoke about his two interviews (49ers, Falcons) during a conference call with Patriots media.
"They were fine. It's part of the process," McDaniels said. "Always obviously privileged that anyone wants to speak with you about anything like that. At this point, I've moved on and hopefully can help us put together a great plan for our guys heading into this week."
"Honestly, I just had an initial meeting with them. It hasn't really got any farther in either direction," McDaniels said. "I'm just focusing on the next task at hand for us, which is the Ravens. I'm sure they'll do what they need to do on their end. I'm sure those things will take care of themselves in the future."
It is not surprising he would be fairly low key about the interviews, but if they were simply preliminary, it might indicate more about where the process might move. If the Patriots win this Saturday in their divisional round matchup with Baltimore, the 49ers would have to wait until after the AFC Championship Game to conduct a follow-up interview with McDaniels. If the Patriots lose to Baltimore, the 49ers would likely be able to interview him as soon as they wanted.
I suppose this could end up dragging through conference championship weekend, but I interpret this as indicating McDaniels probably is not a major option. I could very easily be proven wrong on this, but an internal hire or Mike Shanahan seems like the most likely result of all this. I am still leaning toward the internal hire, but we'll see what the coming week brings.