The San Francisco 49ers hired former Jacksonville Jaguars assistant linebacker coach Mike Rutenberg to serve as their pass game specialist, per Field Yates. Rutenberg previously worked under 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh in Jacksonville when Saleh was the defensive coordinator for the Jaguars.
Rutenberg replaces Joe Woods, who left after helping out the Niners defensive backs and served as the pass game specialist. Woods helped transform the 49ers’ defense. They added Cover 7 principles on the backend that kept the defense out of situations where they were outnumbered. Instead of having a linebacker on the No. 3 receiver, one of the weaknesses of a traditional Cover 3, the 49ers had “ 4 on 3” an 3 on 2” at all times last year. The four and three represent Cover 7 and was a big reason why the 49ers didn’t give up the big play and were stout for the majority of the season in the red area.
Rutenberg has big shoes to fill, but 49ers likely will keep the same principles Woods brought, and Rutenberg will tweak as he sees fit. Rutenberg also served as an assistant defensive backs coach for the Jaguars, as well as a defensive assistant. He coached in Jacksonville from 2013 to 2019. Rutenberg was “Assistant to the Head Coach in Washington from 2004-05. Rutenberg also was a defensive graduate assistant at UCLA while he earned his Masters Degree in Education.