San Francisco 49ers

Denver offensive coordinator Gase draws further interest from 49ers

Denver quarterback Peyton Manning (18) talks with offensive coordinator Adam Gase between plays during the third quarter against the New York Jets in East Rutherford, N.J.
Denver quarterback Peyton Manning (18) talks with offensive coordinator Adam Gase between plays during the third quarter against the New York Jets in East Rutherford, N.J. AP

The first candidate to get a second interview request from the 49ers is Adam Gase, the young Denver offensive coordinator whose Broncos squad was knocked out of the playoffs Sunday.

The Broncos on Monday parted ways with their head coach, John Fox, and reportedly will at least consider Gase, a favorite of quarterback Peyton Manning, for the opening there.

According to the NFL Network, the 49ers will meet Tuesday with Gase, who has run the Broncos’ offense the past two years. They first interviewed Gase in Denver on Jan. 2.

Gase, 36, is the youngest and least experienced candidate linked to the 49ers’ job. However, he has received strong backing from Manning and other Denver offensive players in the past two years. The Chicago Bears are are interested in Gase and could begin pursuing Fox as well. The Atlanta Falcons also have interviewed Gase.

Manning and the Broncos’ high-powered offense scored 606 points and made it to the Super Bowl last season, but they were throttled by the same Seattle defense Gase would have to face twice a year if the 49ers hired him. The Broncos also lost 26-20 in overtime in Seattle this past season. The Broncos combined for 63 rushing yards in both games and turned the ball over six times (three interceptions, three fumbles).

The Broncos’ offense also was outplayed in Sunday’s divisional playoff loss to the Colts. Indianapolis’ defensive backs played tight, press coverage on Denver’s receivers, and Manning was unable to beat the Colts’ secondary deep. The Broncos finished with 288 yards on offense.

Gase has spent the past six seasons in Denver, first as the team’s wide receivers coach (2009-10), then as quarterbacks coach (2011-12) before being tapped to run the offense last year. Before that, he was an offensive assistant with the 49ers who worked closely with Mike Martz, then San Francisco’s offensive coordinator.

Several other Denver assistants also have been aides with the 49ers, including Denver’s quarterbacks coach, Greg Knapp, its special-teams coordinator, Jeff Rodgers, and offensive assistant Chris Beake.

The 49ers have interviewed at least seven other candidates. Two of them, Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, are still in the playoffs.

A third, Rex Ryan, was hired by the Bills this week. Ryan, in turn, hired 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman for the same role in Buffalo, a league source said Monday.

Like every 49ers assistant coach, Roman still is under contract with the team. Once he signs his new deal in Buffalo, however, the 49ers won’t owe him any of his 2015 salary.

The question now becomes how many assistants Roman will take with him to Buffalo. He’s believed to have an interest in 49ers receivers coach John Morton, a longtime friend of Jim Harbaugh who did not follow Harbaugh to the University of Michigan.

Tim Drevno will run Harbaugh’s rushing attack, and former Jacksonville Jaguars coordinator Jed Fisch will operate Michigan’s passing game.

Roman also may pursue offensive-line coach Mike Solari, who has been with the 49ers since 2010. Whether Solari – and other assistants – remain will depend on whom the 49ers hire to run their offense.

The defensive staff could return largely intact. Should current defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, whom the 49ers interviewed Dec. 30, be promoted to head coach, he is expected to elevate secondary coach Ed Donatell to coordinator. Donatell also likely is Jim Tomsula’s choice for coordinator should Tomsula, the team’s defensive-line coach, get the job.

Fangio, however, has not received a second interview. He likely will bolt if the 49ers hire a defensive-minded head coach. It’s unknown what he would do if the team went with an offensive-minded coach like Gase. Fangio is under contract for the 2015 season and is in line to be one of the highest-paid coordinators in the league.

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