Depending on who you ask, the San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator hire could have been better or worse. Take it away, Matt Maiocco:
Ex-49ers coach Mike Nolan said he expressed interest to Chip Kelly about DC job. Kelly called him back as courtesy when he hired Jim O’Neil.— Matt Maiocco (@MaioccoCSN) February 6, 2016
For those unaware, Mike Nolan was fired in the middle of his 4th season as 49ers head coach based on the overall performance of the team. You know him best as taking Alex Smith over Aaron Rodgers with the first pick of the 2005 draft. Beyond that hindsight, Nolan was partially responsible (depending on who had "the trigger") for drafting future superstars like Frank Gore, Patrick Willis, and Joe Staley among others. His successor, Mike Singletary, didn't fare much better in winning football games and the 49ers continued a downward spiral until the arrival of Jim Harbaugh.
When you think about it, this sequence of events shouldn't be all that surprising. According to Tim Kawakami, Jed York was in tears when he had to let go of Nolan, and the former coach is still a favorite of 49ers management.
Nolan coached a dominant Baltimore Ravens defense in the 2003 and 2004 seasons before coming to the 49ers. Since the Ravens, Nolan's defenses have struggled for consistency with his 2009 season with the Denver Broncos and 2012 season with the Atlanta Falcons being anything noteworthy. His last stop was in San Diego, where he was not a defensive coordinator, but a linebackers coach.
I went ahead and attached a poll to get some thoughts, but feel free to make a case for or against Nolan/O'neil in the comments.