49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

January 6, 2009
Ruminating about Rathman

Great column today in the Merc by Ann Killion, who advocates Tom Rathman for the 49ers' vacant OC job. As Ann (and, yes, many faithful blog commenters) pointed out, hiring Rathman would satisfy two big concerns. 1.) Rathman would bring that hard-nosed attitude that Mike Singletary covets in an OC. 2.) The 49ers finally would have a tie to their glorious past. Singletary has said that his ideal offense would be a Bill Walsh-era attack that can pound the ball down an opponent's throat. Rathman seems to personify that philosophy to a T ...

Of course, the downside is that Singletary would be taking a leap of faith with someone who has never been an OC before. The beauty of Scott Linehan, for instance, is that there's no question he can whip an offense into shape quickly. His track record in that regard is outstanding. How do you reduce your risk when it comes to Rathman? Remember that the 49ers are seeking to have built-in continuity when the dust settles on this issue. That is, they'd like to bring in an OC-QBs coach duo with the idea that should the OC leave, his pupil would take over. What if that arrangement were tweaked? Instead of the QBs coach being the heir apparent, what if it was the running backs coach? A Greg Knapp-Rathman combo deal perhaps? Just throwing it out there ...

All of this, of course, is mere musing. Rathman is still under contract (for now) with the Raiders and it's entirely possible he'll be retained or promoted in Oakland. It's also entirely possible that he and Knapp, the Raiders OC, leave for the big 49ers reunion in Seattle....

So who's on the 49ers' list? The team's been so stingy about the info, it might be easier to ask who's not on the list. My sources in the frozen North tell me that Packers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements has not been contacted. The 49ers might like Brian Schottenheimer, but there's a sense that he'll either wind up as the NY Jets' head coach or at the very least their OC. Jim Fassel's and Brian Billick's names have been bandied about. But both seem to be intent on a head coaching job. Ken Zampese's name has been mentioned in the past in conjunction with the 49ers' OC job, but I'm told he's not on their list, either ... The suspense continues, and I imagine it will for weeks ...

-- Matt Barrows

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Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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