The San Francisco 49ers are interested in recent Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil, according to Bleacher Report's Jason Cole. O'Neil served as DC for Mike Pettine, and will not be joining Hue Jackson's coaching staff. For those wondering about Pettine, Jason Cole said he is considering taking a year off.
Last season, the Browns ranked No. 29 in defense according to Football Outsiders. They dealt with a lot of injuries, which might be one potential explanation for the drop from No. 11 in O'Neil's first season. Here is what his Browns bio says about 2014:
Despite missing the final five games in 2014, S Tashaun Gipson finished second in the NFL with six interceptions, while earning his first trip to the Pro Bowl. CB Joe Haden earned his second Pro Bowl nod after finishing second in the league in passes defensed, while S Donte Whitner also earned Pro Bowl honors. It marked the first time in team history that three defensive backs were selected to the Pro Bowl and the first time the Browns had at least three defensive players selected to the annual all-star game since 1995.
The 49ers offered the DC job to Mike Vrabel, who declined it to stay in Houston. The team released Eric Mangini from his contract, but Jason Tarver remains a candidate for the job. The team is reportedly also interested in Baltimore Ravens linebackers coach Don Martindale. The team is hoping to have the coaching staff sorted out by the middle of this coming week.
Here is O'Neil's resume:
2014-2015: Cleveland Browns - Defensive Coordinator
2013: Buffalo Bills - Outside Linebackers
2010-2012: New York Jets - Assistant Defensive Backs
2009: New York Jets - Defensive Quality Control/Defensive Backs
2006-08: Eastern Michigan - Safeties, Recruiting Coordinator
2005: Towson - Defensive Coordinator
2003-2004: Northwestern - Graduate Assistant/Defensive Backs
2002: Pennsylvania - Assistant Offensive Line
2001: SUNY Albany - Assistant Offensive Line/Tight Ends