San Francisco 49ers

Mike Shanahan dines at SF Chevy’s and other 49ers coaching-search items

Former Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan is considered one of the top candidates to be the 49ers’ nexty head coach.
Former Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan is considered one of the top candidates to be the 49ers’ nexty head coach. AP

First, the news of the morning: Mike Shanahan dines at Chevy’s.

According to a KPIX viewer, the former Broncos head coach was seen dining at a San Francisco Chevy’s at 3:30 p.m. Sunday. The 49ers interviewed Shanahan Thursday in Denver and were scheduled to interview ex-Jets head coach Rex Ryan on Sunday, according to reports.

A possible explanation for Shanahan’s presence (wearing a suit) in a San Francisco eatery: NBC 4 in Washington, D.C. reports that he also has interviewed with the Raiders, which could prompt a Battle of the Bay for his services. Shanahan coached the Los Angeles Raiders from 1988-89, a stint marked by controversy and confrontation. He almost immediately clashed with then-owner Al Davis and was fired four weeks into the 1989 season. He reportedly also is on the Buffalo Bills’ radar as far as their head-coach vacancy.

The 49ers cannot hire a head coach until they interview a minority candidate. They have asked to speak with a pair of defensive coordinators, Arizona’s Todd Bowles and Detroit’s Teryl Austin. Austin is scheduled to meet with the 49ers on Thursday, NFL Network reported. Bowles is expected to come in Friday, his agent said. Upstaging the weekend slate of playoff games in frowned upon, so the earliest the 49ers could be expected to announce their new head coach is next week.

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A number of you have asked which assistants the head-coaching candidates might bring in. Matt Maiocco recently mentioned a few, including Scott Linehan, Dirk Koetter and Marc Trestman.

That's a good list, especially the Cowboys’ Linehan, whom the 49ers pursued in 2009 and who wisely foresaw Mike Singletary's regime hitting a reef and opted not to come aboard. Linehan also has been a head coach, which is significant because, under Vic Fangio or even Jim Tomsula, the offensive coordinator would have carte blanch to run the offense (like Fangio had with the defense). Five of the offensive coordinators in the playoffs are former head coaches.

One name to add should Fangio become head coach -- former Browns coach Rob Chudzinski, who is currently an offensive assistant with the Colts and who has been an offensive coordinator with the Browns and Panthers. Chudzinksi shares an agent with Fangio. He also was Frank Gore's offensive coordinator at the University of Miami. The 49ers are trying to convince Gore to sign a contract extension -- two years? -- with them.

The other way the 49ers could go, of course, is with Shanahan as head coach. The 49ers have not had an interview with his son, Kyle Shanahan, who served as his father's offensive coordinator in Washington. Kyle is the current offensive coordinator in Cleveland. Would he be able to make a lateral move if his pops becomes head coach here? That usually doesn't happen but could if the younger Shanahan makes it clear he doesn't want to be in Cleveland.

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As far as defensive coordinators ... Fangio would make secondary coach Ed Donatell his defensive coordinator if he gets the top job. Reports from Maiocco and Tim Kawakami suggest that Tomsula might bring in Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver, with whom he's worked in the past, should he get the top job. If Tomsula is made head coach, Fangio would leave. If Tomsula made Tarver defensive coordinator, Donatell likely would want out as well.

While Fangio was the team's first interview, Tomsula has not been interviewed yet. Is that significant? Maybe it is. Or maybe Tomsula is such a known quantity to Jed York et al. -- he's already been the team’s interim head coach, albeit briefly in 2010 -- that he doesn't need an extensive interview.

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Meanwhile in Seattle, former Packers and Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren told KJR Radio that he might have been interested in the 49ers’ job but that the team hasn’t contacted him. He said he’s decided he’s through with coaching.

Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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