The San Francisco 49ers are interviewing New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels this weekend, and amidst a handful of other interviews, they will reportedly speak with ESPN’s Louis Riddick next week. Jed York told the media he was keeping his options flexible in terms of what roles will be filled first. He said he wanted to focus on getting two people who can work together and will defend each other, rather than battle over turf.
Riddick and McDaniels could end up being that pair. MMQB reporter Albert Breer tweeted that there is, “word in league circles that Riddick/McDaniels could be paired.” He also tweeted that he thinks McDaniels could view the 49ers job as one to seriously considering taking because of the GM/coach reset.
It turns out, McDaniels and Riddick have some history. I have heard they are friends, and over the past few months, Riddick has been complimentary of the work McDaniels does. Here are a few tweets dating back to the beginning of the 2016 season.
Josh McDaniels gets it. Guy knows how to scheme around own weakness and attack vulnerabilities in opponent as well as anyone.— Louis Riddick (@LRiddickESPN) December 13, 2016
If you doubt Josh McDaniels' ability to attack an offense in real time/call plays, you don't know football.— Louis Riddick (@LRiddickESPN) September 18, 2016
These are just a handful of comments, but coupled with the idea that the two of them might be more than just professional acquaintances, it could bode well for the 49ers chances of landing the two candidates.
Back in April, Riddick sat down with Ryan Glasspiegel of The Big Lead to discuss his work at ESPN and the then upcoming NFL Draft. Prior to that he had mentioned interest in returning to the NFL under the right circumstances, and he offered up some details about what would be the perfect situation.
“From the philosophical standpoint it’s gotta be [in a pairing with a coach] who’s been taught the x’s and o’s of the game, the organizational structure as far as it pertains to professional football, and player profiles the same way I have.”
Glasspiegel asked him if ideally he would be have the power to choose his head coach. He said that would be ideal, but offered up a way around that by potentially connecting with the right coach.
“Ideally you would, but I’m saying if I can link up with a coach, that’s what it’d have to be. If I could go and run a front office with the opportunity to choose everybody from the top down, I know the people who I’d go after. I know immediately. That would be easy.
“I’m just saying, if I’m being realistic about it, are there people who I know I’d like to work with who I’d either pick or go in with together? Absolutely. It would have to be people who I have those philosophical commonalities with. I’d never go back to the NFL to be a pro director or personnel director, and I’m never going back to work with someone who philosophically doesn’t see football the same way.”
Riddick discussed the appeal of the 49ers job during an ESPN segment on Monday. When asked if he would take the job, he laughed and said, “Sure I would.” In discussing the job, he said the appeal is based on Jed York following through with what he says. But if he does and if the 49ers have significant interest in Riddick, there is a good chance he could get the job.
Having his interview a few days after meeting with McDaniels is intriguing in light of the potential connection. We won’t get many details from the McDaniels interview, but I am curious to see if the 49ers discuss Riddick with McDaniels. The 49ers will have interviews completed with Eliot Wolf and Brian Gutekunst on Thursday, and will likely do the interview with Nick Caserio the same day as McDaniels. Any head coach interview would seemingly include some discussion of the GM. Since both positions need to be filled, the way the 49ers are going about this, everything could happen in a hurry once the dominoes start falling.