Jeff Hafley left the San Francisco 49ers for a promotion a month ago, becoming co-defensive coordinator at Ohio State. One month later, he may have been up for another one via defensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals.
Per Mike Garafolo and Ian Rapoport, the Bengals wanted to interview Hafley for their open defensive coordinator position, but Hafley declined. The reason was because Hafley didn’t want to renege on his commitment to the Buckeyes.
This is interesting for a couple of reasons. The obvious one is that another San Francisco 49ers coach is going places. Hafley left the team a month ago to become co-defensive coordinator in college and is already being talked about as a potential NFL defensive coordinator replacement. Granted, Hafley was being interviewed as a DC after several others turned down the role, but he’s still getting looks.
Which brings us to the other area of interest: no one wants to be the defensive coordinator of the Bengals. We’re into mid-February and the Bengals have had plenty of time to fill out that coaching staff. It’s not like they were hiring a coach playing in the Super Bowl like the 49ers did. And Kyle Shanahan had Robert Saleh decided on by February 17th.
So why are we talking about the Bengals? Well, the most painful departure from the 49ers’ coaching staff this year may go to quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello, but Jeff Hafley was one of the few coaches on defense to get a promotion elsewhere. It’s nice to see coaches coming out of the 49ers system growing their careers. While it hurts as a fan, to see progress indicates they may have done something right.
But the reason I wrote about this is: isn’t it nice the 49ers don’t have to deal with any of this? After Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers mutually parted ways, the coaching staffs assembled were patchwork at best. When Jim Tomsula took over, a number of refusals followed when he gathered assistants. Just look at the names for offensive coordinator. Chip Kelly had some issues as well with the 49ers, and even Kyle Shanahan had to settle with Plan B in Robert Saleh, but at least he wasn’t scraping at the bottom of the barrel.
No one wants to be the defensive coordinator of the Bengals and it’s not a great look. The 49ers have gone through their own versions of this several times. Thank goodness they don’t have to do it this year.