It’s been a week and we have some ground on the San Francisco 49ers’ search for their culture change. Some interviews have been wrapped up, some meetings still have to occur, but the 49ers are certainly getting some ground on who can take the reigns of this franchise and change the culture.
We begin with a Michael Silver tweet that came out Monday which gave a good indication of where things stood:
I believe Packers execs Eliot Wolf and Brian Gutekunst are the leading contenders for 49ers GM job at this time.— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) January 9, 2017
This should make fans breathe a sigh of relief. But as we all know, it’s not that easy. As much as Jed York wants things to change, some things always have to stay the same. Just as I sat down to give you your recap, Niners Nation’s own SocaliSteph tweeted this out:
So, I've got a source w a head nod indicating Gamble is York's pick for GM. He's an "unsung hero in scouting". Back to the Bama game.— Stephanie McCarroll (@SoCaliSteph) January 10, 2017
This is reminiscent of 2011’s General Manager search where 49ers Owner/CEO Jed York scoured the country in his private jet, came back with several candidates and settled on the in-house hire of Trent Baalke. The thing to remember on all of this is that at this point in the search, it’s a very fluid situation. These things change hourly, so don’t be surprised if there’s a new front runner tomorrow morning.
But speaking of Gamble; he returned to the 49ers in 2016 after working as the Philadelphia Eagles vice president of player personnel. He also worked under then-49ers general manager Scott McCloughan from 2005-2010 as the 49ers’ director of pro personnel. Upon his return to the 49ers, it was assumed it was so Chip Kelly and Trent Baalke could play nice due to the mutual friendship with Gamble.
That didn’t exactly go as planned.
Again, we’ve had reports that Eliot Wolf is also the favorite, so we’ll definitely get a more clear idea of where everyone stands in the coming days.
The 49ers were said to be very impressed with Green Bay’s Eliot Wolf during their interview of the Packers executive. However, it seems that San Francisco has been caught in a complicated love triangle concerning Wolf, Kansas City Chiefs executive Chris Ballard, and Chiefs general manager John Dorsey. The triangle essentially indicates Dorsey would succeed Ted Thompson in Green Bay, which would make Ballard succeed him in Kansas City, which makes the original clear front runner for Thompson’s job, Wolf, not in succession of anything. For what it’s worth, Chris Ballard turned down an interview request from the 49ers and at the time it was not meant to mean anything. Keep in mind, Eliot Wolf was blocked by Green Bay for a potential GM job last year with Detroit and was left a bit disappointed. If Green Bay were to pass him over for an external candidate, things may get interesting for the Packers.
First it was unknown, then it was a maybe, but now we can officially count Nick Caserio out of the 49ers GM search. The 49ers don’t exactly have a good image for aspiring executives and coaches. With the firings, and leaks and everything, it sounds like many personal networks are warning people to steer clear of the 49ers. Caserio was one of those people.
Onto head coaching candidates. Along with his report that Wolf may be the front runner for the GM job, Michael Silver also offered this nugget:
Sean McVay has had two interviews (Rams, 49ers) and crushed them both. And my sources on this are not Sean McVay or his agent...— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) January 9, 2017
Washington offensive coordinator Sean McVay concluded his interview with the 49ers over the weekend. Despite his young age (if hired he’d be the youngest head coach hired ever), McVay has quite a lot of backing from his players and other coaches for being a freak about football who is quite ready for this. Don’t forget, his grandfather has the 49ers draft room named after him.
The 49ers also completed an interview with Kyle Shanahan. It’s currently believed he’s interested in the Denver Broncos job, but despite interviewing with the Broncos, we’ve heard nothing about if the Broncos plan on moving forward besides a positive tweet from John Elway.
Other finished interviews include Josh McDaniels. McDaniels wrapped up his series of three interviews, the other two being the Los Angeles Rams and Jacksonville Jaguars, however if there was a bidding war, only the Rams would be competing with the 49ers, given Jacksonville’s recent hire (more on that below). Louis Riddick, another 49ers candidate for GM is hinted at possibly wanting to work with McDaniels.
On the general manager side of things, the 49ers have completed interviews with Jimmy Raye III with the Indianapolis Colts, Brandon Beane from the Carolina Panthers and George Paton from the Minnesota Vikings
The first hire of the season has been confirmed with the Jacksonville Jaguars. They have hired offensive line coach Doug Marrone. Marrone came to the Jaguars in 2015 after opting out of his contract as head coach of the Buffalo Bills. Interestingly enough, along with Marrone comes former Jaguars coach Tom Coughlin who will take the role of VP of Football Operations. Coughlin last worked for the Jaguars as head coach 2002 and was fired after a 6-10 season.
Former Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine interviewed with Washington for their vacant defensive coordinator position. While head coach of the Browns, Pettine had former 49ers defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil on his staff in the same role.
Speaking of the Browns, they named former Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams as their new defensive coordinator. You might remember Williams from the bounty-gate controversy during his time in New Orleans, notable for some disturbing talks about injuring 49ers players in the 2011 NFC Divisional Playoff.