Here’s a look at the eight known candidates for the 49ers’ head-coach opening and their connections to general managers and quarterbacks.
Wednesday: Anthony Lynn, interim head coach, Buffalo Bills
The 49ers interviewed Lynn, 48, last year when he was the Bills’ running backs coach and obviously liked him. Since then, Lynn was promoted to offensive coordinator and became interim coach when Rex Ryan was fired in late December. Hiring Lynn would return the 49ers to a run-based power attack, which meshes with their personnel. He also could lure Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who was benched at the end of the season and whose future in Buffalo is uncertain. Why it might not work: Lynn said he wants the permanent head-coaching job with Buffalo. The Los Angeles Rams and Jacksonville Jaguars also are reportedly looking at Lynn. He played running back for San Francisco in 1995-96.
Friday: Kyle Shanahan, offensive coordinator, Atlanta Falcons
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The 49ers also have interviewed Shanahan, 37, in previous cycles. He took over a very good Falcons offense this season and improved it. Atlanta produced the second-most yards in the NFL and Matt Ryan had 38 touchdown passes against seven interceptions. The 49ers wondered whether Shanahan and Kansas City Chiefs personnel man Chris Ballard would make a good coach-general manager pairing, but Ballard declined the 49ers’ interview request. As far as quarterback, Shanahan (and his quarterbacks coach, Matt LaFleur) might be interested in Washington Redskins free agent Kirk Cousins. Shanahan was in Washington when Cousins was drafted in 2012. Shanahan also will meet with the Denver Broncos, Jaguars and Rams.
17-27 Tom Cable’s head-coaching record with the Raiders
Saturday: Josh McDaniels, offensive coordinator, New England Patriots
McDaniels, 40, is another candidate who already has spoken with the 49ers, including after the 2010 season when they hired Jim Harbaugh. The 49ers are curious about a pairing between McDaniels and Nick Caserio, New England’s top personnel executive. They played football together at John Carroll and have been with the Patriots since 2012. It’s unclear whether the 49ers have arranged a meeting with Caserio. If it happens, it obviously will occur this weekend, when the Patriots have a first-round playoff bye. McDaniels also has a fan in GM candidate Louis Riddick, who as an ESPN analyst has been effusive about the former Broncos coach, who had an 11-17 record in Denver. McDaniels also will meet with the Jaguars and Rams.
Monday: Sean McVay, offensive coordinator, Washington
The grandson of former 49ers executive John McVay is seen as a rising star, and his offense finished third in the NFL in total yards. Working against McVay, however, is his age – he turns 31 this month – and the fact he’s been working under offensive-minded coach Jay Gruden. If hired, McVay also might be interested in bringing Cousins to the Bay Area. The Rams, too, are interested in McVay.
Next week: Vance Joseph, defensive coordinator, Miami Dolphins
If the Dolphins win their playoff game, the 49ers would interview Joseph on Monday in Miami. If they lose, there is more flexibility. Joseph, 44, was a defensive backs coach with the 49ers from 2005-10. They tried to hire him as their defensive coordinator under Jim Tomsula in 2015 but were blocked by the Cincinnati Bengals because Joseph was under contract. Going against Joseph: Miami’s defense ranked 29th this season after finishing 25th in 2015. The Broncos – he played at Colorado – also are interested and some believe Joseph is the front-runner there.
Next week: Tom Cable, offensive-line coach, Seattle Seahawks
11-17 Josh McDaniels’ head-coaching record with the Broncos
It’s unclear when Cable will be interviewed, but the former Raiders coach is connected with two members of Seattle’s personnel staff drawing the 49ers’ interest: Trent Kirchner and Scott Fitterer. Like Lynn, the 52-year-old Cable theoretically would bring a more blue-collar mentality to the 49ers’ offense, an approach that might fit the team’s personnel. He could tap former Seahawks assistant and current Falcons defensive backs coach Marquand Manuel as his defensive coordinator. The downside: Cable had a 17-27 record in Oakland – albeit with dubious talent – and his stint included a fight with an assistant coach and allegations of domestic abuse.
Next week: Doug Marrone, interim head coach, Jacksonville
The 49ers also have had previous interviews with Marrone, 52, another longtime offensive-line coach who in 2013-14 served as Buffalo’s coach. Marrone took over in Jacksonville after Gus Bradley was fired last month.
Next week: Sean McDermott, defensive coordinator, Carolina Panthers
McDermott, 42, has been linked to head-coaching vacancies in recent years because of Carolina’s defensive success. The Panthers, however, had a down year and ranked 21st this season. McDermott was a defensive assistant with the Philadelphia Eagles when Riddick worked in their personnel department. McDermott also has drawn interest from the San Diego Chargers and Buffalo.