Lost in all the news about the San Francisco 49ers winning their first playoff game in the Kyle Shanahan era was some NFL coaching news. The Denver Broncos have fired offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello after one season and hired Pat Shurmur for the vacancy.
That leaves Scangarello looking for a job. Many of you remember him as quarterbacks coach for the 49ers last year. While in San Francisco, he helped introduce and train the recently acquired Jimmy Garoppolo in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. Keep in mind, Garoppolo would step in within weeks to take over the team for that five-game winning streak to close out the 2017 season.
Scangarello left in the 2019 offseason to work with another former Niners defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. He was originally blocked for the job, but Shanahan reconsidered and let Scangarello test the waters with the Broncos.
The Broncos offense started awful, but as time went on—and Drew Lock was inserted into the lineup—it started to be serviceable. Denver drafted a quarterback in the second round whose top two targets were a rookie tight end and a second-year wide receiver. It didn’t seem like Scangarello got a fair shake. With Brandon Allen as his quarterback, the Broncos nearly put up 400 yards of offense in November against Minnesota while averaging 5.3 yards per play. I wonder if Kyle Shanahan picked Scang’s brain leading up to last week’s game.
In any case, Scangarello is out, and Shurmur is in which leaves the former unemployed. Do you think the 49ers should make a point to bring him back? They have their quarterback’s coach vacancy filled by Shane Day at the moment, but his background is more in tight ends. The 49ers could do some reshuffling, or they could fill the long invisible “offensive coordinator” role on the team with Scangarello. Shanahan has said he is the de facto offensive coordinator, and it makes sense when he’s one of the brightest offensive minds in the league.
He could make Scangarello an offensive coordinator akin to those many promotions Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid makes. Reid clearly runs that offense, but he helps groom offensive coordinators as play-callers and expands their role running an offense to make them further a coaching asset. Or the 49ers could forget the whole idea and not welcome Scangarello back. Scangarello was a huge help with the quarterbacks in 2017 and 2018, which is why one has to wonder if the 49ers might look for a way to bring him in.
I would look to bring him back right away, even if it’s an “offensive consultant.” The Broncos played the Chiefs twice this season and the Titans once. Scangarello has put extensive work into both teams the 49ers would face in the Super Bowl. That alone is reason enough for me.