The 49ers are setting up a meeting this weekend with Patriots offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Josh McDaniels, who can begin interviewing for head coaching openings because New England has a first-round bye in the playoffs.
McDaniels, 40, also has interviews with the Los Angeles Rams and Jacksonville Jaguars. The Patriots have the best record in the NFL this season and are expected to go deep into the postseason. Any team seriously interested in McDaniels has to be willing to wait until perhaps February to hire him.
The meetings with McDaniels will occur at the Patriots facility in Foxborough, Mass. The NFL Network reported the team also has requested to speak with Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, whose unit led the NFL in scoring this season, and Bills intirem head coach Anthony Lynn, whom the 49ers interviewed last year.
Shanahan’s Falcons, who also have a first-round bye, accumulated 550 yards against the 49ers in a Week 15 blowout. Three other teams -- the Rams, Jaguars and Broncos -- also reportedly will meet with Shanahan, 37, whose father, Mike, coached the Broncos for 14 seasons and won two Super Bowls in Denver.
At the same time, the 49ers will begin their hunt for a new general manager. They have an interview set up Thursday in Green Bay with the Packers’ Eliot Wolf, who is the son of former Packers general manager Ron Wolf. The elder Wolf, a mentor to former 49ers general manager Scot McCloughan, was voted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame last year. The NFL Network reported the trip also will include a meeting with Packers director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst
According to ESPN, San Francisco also has requested permission from the Patriots to interview director of player personnel Nick Caserio. In addition, the team is interested in speaking with Trent Kirchner and Scott Fitterer, both of whom work under Seahawks general manager John Schneider. The 49ers wanted to speak with Kansas City personnel man Chris Ballard, but Ballard decided to remain with the Chiefs.
Caserio, 40, has been working in New England’s scouting department since 2003 with a one-year hiatus in 2007 as the team’s wide receivers coach. He presumably has strong ties to McDaniels because of their time on the Patriots and also because they were teammates at John Carroll University outside of Cleveland. Youngstown, Ohio native Jed York, the 49ers’ CEO, has ties there as well.
Other teams have requested to speak with Caserio in the past for their general manager position and he either has turned down the job or not taken the interview.
McDaniels served two tumultuous seasons as the Denver Broncos’ head coach in 2009 and 2010, succeeding Mike Shanahan at the position. Denver went 8-8 his first season and were 3-9 before he was fired with a month to go in his second season. McDaniels and the Broncos were fined $50,000 each for a videotaping incident that involved a 49ers walk-through practice prior to the teams’ game in London in 2010.
McDaniels served as the Rams offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2011 and has had the same title with the Patriots the last five years.