SANTA CLARA -- Chip Kelly is considering at least two assistant coaches with running backgrounds to be his offensive coordinator.
According to Fox Sports, Kelly is interested in Bills running backs coach Anthony Lynn, whom the team previously interviewed for its head-coach opening. Lynn once played running back for the 49ers and he has the additional title of assistant head coach in Buffalo.
Kelly's pending interview with Lynn is interesting in the sense that Lynn last year coached Kelly's most vocal critic, Bills running back LeSean McCoy. Kelly traded McCoy to Buffalo last year in exchange for linebacker Kiko Alonzo, leading to charged accusations from McCoy that Kelly “got rid of all the good players. Especially all the good black players.”
McCoy has since softened his rhetoric about Kelly. On Tuesday, he went on NFL Total Access and said he thought the 49ers would have offensive success under Kelly.
“He’s very, very intelligent,” McCoy said. “The offense, they’ll find ways to get the big numbers, they’ll find ways to put the stats up offensively. With him coming in there, no matter how good of a player or low player you are, if you just automatically believe him – no matter if it sounds crazy, you’re like what is he talking about – if you just automatically believe and buy in, I think you’ll be fine.”
Additionally, Kelly is looking at Lions running backs coach Curtis Modkins as a possibility at offensive coordinator.
Modkins joined the Lions in 2013 when he was given the title of run-game coordinator. He was retained the following year when Jim Caldwell took over for Jim Schwartz but his title was reduced to running backs coach.
Still, when Detroit's running attack began sluggishly last season, Modkins was promoted to manage that aspect of the offense with more positive results. He also has served as running backs coach on the Chiefs and Cardinals and in 2012 was the Bills’ offensive coordinator.
Kelly is expected to call his own plays for the 49ers. And while a potent running game has been part of his attack -- the Eagles, for instance, ranked first in rushing in 2013 -- he has done so mostly with a zone-blocking scheme. Lynn and Modkins specialize in power blocking.
The 49ers did both last season, although they leaned more heavily on the power-based approach as the season went on.
San Francisco also had looked at former Browns John DeFilippo as a possible addition to their offensive staff. DeFilippo will join the Eagles as their quarterbacks coach, according to multiple reports.
Former Eagles quarterbacks coach Ryan Day is expected to rejoin Kelly in San Francisco in the same capacity.
None of Chip Kelly's hires have been announced and he is expected to continue interviewing candidates throughout the week. But here is a projection of his staff as well as some of the names he is considering:
Coordinator: Curtis Modkins or Anthony Lynn or …
Quarterbacks: Ryan Day
Offensive line: Pat Flaherty*, Assistant offensive line coach, Eric Wolford
Receivers: Bob Bicknell
Running backs: Tom Rathman
Tight ends: ?
Coordinator: Mike Vrabel or Eric Mangini or ….
Defensive line: Jerry Azzinaro
Outside linebackers: Jason Tarver
Inside linebackers: Hardy Nickerson?
Defensive backs: ?
Coordinator: Thomas McGaughey Jr.
Assistant: Richard Hightower
* Fox Sports reported that Flaherty, the former Giants offensive line coach, is interviewing for the same position with San Francisco. Flaherty also has coached tight ends in his career.