San Francisco 49ers

49ers lose assistant, who will join the staff of another ex-San Francisco coach

49ers QB coach on why Jimmy Garoppolo will be even better this year

San Francisco 49ers quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello talks about why Jimmy Garoppolo will be even better this season.
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San Francisco 49ers quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello talks about why Jimmy Garoppolo will be even better this season.

Kyle Shanahan’s offensive assistants have been hot commodities this offseason, and it appears one of his most valued position coaches will be leaving to become a coordinator.

Quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello has been named offensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos, where he’ll join new head coach Vic Fangio, widely regarded as one of the best defensive coaches in the league. The news was first reported Wednesday by ESPN.

Scangarello’s hiring is arguably Denver’s most important of the offseason after settling on Fangio, who was San Francisco’s defensive coordinator for four seasons (2011-14) before moving on to the Chicago Bears.

Scangarello played a critical role in helping Shanahan develop quarterbacks Jimmy Garoppolo, Nick Mullens and, to a lesser extent, C.J. Beathard. Scangarello helped Garoppolo learn Shanahan’s complex offense well enough to go 5-0 as the starter in 2017 after being acquired in the mid-season trade with the New England Patriots.

He did similar work with Mullens, a former undrafted rookie who joined Joe Montana as the club’s only quarterbacks to throw for at least 220 yards in eight consecutive games. Mullens’ 2,277 passing yards in his first eight starts rank fourth in the NFL since the 1970 merger.

Scangarello was largely responsible for scouting and identifying Mullens out of Southern Mississippi in 2017 before San Francisco signed him. Mullens spent his first NFL season on the practice squad and was elevated to the active roster when Garoppolo sustained his season-ending ACL tear in September. Mullens’ 284.6 yards per game ranked seventh among qualified starters.

Scangarello had autonomy coaching up the quarterbacks. Shanahan often allowed him to handle film sessions on his own while Shanahan was the offensive coordinator. But Scangarello has never called plays at the NFL level. Shanahan was largely responsible for devising the offensive game plan each week and dialing up plays on Sundays.

Other 49ers assistants have garnered interest from other teams for possible coordinator jobs, but San Francisco denied requests to interview.

The Packers submitted a request to interview Shanahan’s receivers coach and passing game coordinator Mike LaFleur, the brother of Green Bay’s new head coach, Matt LaFleur. The Vikings and Browns were also prevented from interviewing Mike LaFleur, according to ESPN.

Additionally, Shanahan denied requests for the Arizona Cardinals and Packers to interview running game coordinator Mike McDaniel. LaFleur and McDaniel are key pieces to Shanahan’s staff, and each was elevated before the start of this season.

Scangarello joined Shanahan as a quality control coach with the Atlanta Falcons in 2015. He was previously the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Northern Arizona and Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss. Scangarello is a native of Roseville and graduated from Sacramento State in 1996.

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