Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase is viewed as one of the hottest offensive minds in the NFL, and he has a rather prominent spokesman willing to vouch for him.
“I’m excited that he has the opportunity that he’s going to have this weekend,” Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning told Denver-area reporters Wednesday. “He deserves it. I think the teams that he talks to will be impressed.”
Gase, whose Broncos have a playoff bye this weekend, will interview with the 49ers on Friday and also has meetings planned with the Atlanta Falcons and Chicago Bears.
The 36-year-old Gase is two years younger than Manning, and he’s been an offensive coordinator for only two years. During that span, however, the Broncos have finished with the first- and fourth-ranked offenses in the NFL, and last season that offense took Denver to the Super Bowl.
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He’s seen as someone with a sharp mind and a strong personality who studied for years under maverick offensive coordinator Mike Martz, including the 2008 season, when they were with the 49ers.
The flip side? It’s hard to pinpoint Gase’s impact on Denver’s offensive success considering the team’s starting quarterback is perhaps the NFL’s best in the past two decades. It’s also hard to target a coach who may be preoccupied until the first week of February.
That’s what happened last year when the Cleveland Browns were considering Gase for their head-coaching position. He eventually withdrew his name to concentrate on his team’s Super Bowl run.
“I’m excited about it,” Gase told The Denver Post about his upcoming interviews. “But I’m also excited about the fact that we (the Broncos) have another chance to make a run. We have a good team. Last year we fell short, and this is another opportunity for us to try to get one.”
The 49ers already have looked at two defensive-minded assistants, in-house candidate Vic Fangio and Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. They also have expressed interest in former Raiders, Broncos and Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan, as well as Shanahan’s son, Kyle, who runs Cleveland’s offense.
Former New York Jets coach Rex Ryan, who once worked on the same staff as Fangio in Baltimore, reportedly will interview with the 49ers next week. The 49ers also are hoping to have a session with Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles next week. The Cardinals play the Carolina Panthers in the wild-card round Saturday.
Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers.