The San Francisco 49ers announced on Tuesday that they have begun their interview with Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott. The team is meeting with him in New York City, and are expected to follow that up with an interview of ESPN analyst Louis Riddick.
McDermott is the first defensive coach the 49ers are interviewing in this process. They reportedly asked permission to interview Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, but there is no word on that status of that at this point. Joseph is interviewing with the Denver Broncos on Tuesday.
Last week, Steve Young made an appearance on KNBR to discuss the 49ers search process. In his comments, he talked about the need to hire an offensive-minded head coach. He focused more on the 49ers history of offensive head coaches, comparing it with Pittsburgh and Chicago being places you hire defensive head coaches.
In reality, I think that short-changes the process. I do think an offensive head coach makes sense in a league that is constantly changing rules to benefit the offense. And it feels like we see more significant philosophical changes on the offensive side of the ball. At the same time, you need a quality defensive coordinator if you want to keep up with the NFL’s offensive evolution.
If the 49ers were to hire McDermott, the offensive coordinator position becomes critical. The coordinator positions are usually important, but when you have a coach who has focused on one side of the ball, finding that offsetting mind for the other side of the ball is oh so critical. The 49ers (and the other teams still interviewing candidates) will be behind the curve already in hiring coordinators. It will make for an interesting decision as the team moves into the next stage of its interviews.