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Are some 49ers destined to coach?

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Ashley Fox has an interesting article about players becoming coaches. We take a look at some 49ers named in it.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Over at ESPN, Ashley Fox has an interesting interesting article that looks at a few current or retired players who might climb the coaching ladder and one day boast the title of Head Coach. She starts by noting that Matt Hasselbeck, the back up QB for the Indianapolis Colts, is sort of a player-coach for the team, comparing him to player-manager Pete Rose.

This observation leads her to the more compelling observation that players don't seem to become coaches all that often (in fact, only a quarter of the head coaches in the NFL since 2000 have been ex-players) and that players who do become coaches are usually back ups or players who had good, not great, careers. Hasselbeck mentions two ex-49ers in explaining why this might be:

I use Trent Dilfer as an example. He wasn't the player Joe Montana was, but if I was to train a quarterback, I'd probably ask Trent Dilfer. He's been on the up and the down side of it. He's seen it all. He worked at it, studied it. Joe Montana is one of the greatest players of all time, but he didn't have the lows most quarterbacks had to go through. ... Mike McCarthy wasn't a great quarterback, but he's a great quarterback teacher, coach and playcaller. I kind of see it that way.

Fox continues to highlight a few players who might climb the coaching ranks, with two 49ers getting the nod. First is Jeff Garcia, who has become pretty involved in coaching recently, both on Twitter and in real life. We took a look at his new gig recently: Jeff Fisher hired Garcia to be an offensive assistant in May.

The really interesting part of the article, to me at least, is the section on Anquan Boldin. Last summer, George Whitfield spent some time with the 49ers, and he provided some compelling comments about Boldin (and Joe Staley - it's worth checking those out too). Boldin, in an attempt to make seemingly every play in the playbook practically viable, has learned it inside and out: he knows what each other receiver should be doing on any given play, for example, and why. This awareness explains, I think, we he can be so magnificently wide open at times, even though he isn't a speedster. His awareness of what the offense is supposed to do and how they are trying to attack defenses is really quite impressive.

Check out the article - it's certainly worth a read, and it prompts us to consider the different qualities that make coaches successful in contrast to players. Can great players become great coaches? Well, if there is anybody who could do it, it's probably Justin Smith, who recently indicated that he might like to coach in the future. And, as a closing aside, I've always thought that Frank Gore would one day make an excellent coach, following in the footsteps of his coach and very good ex-player Tom Rathman.