San Francisco 49ers

Report: 49ers defensive coordinator job expected to go to Mangini

Eric Mangini, who previously jumped from defense to offense with the 49ers, now is expected to go back to defense -- as the team’s coordinator.
Eric Mangini, who previously jumped from defense to offense with the 49ers, now is expected to go back to defense -- as the team’s coordinator. The Associated Press

A week after the 49ers dismissed Eric Mangini as their tight ends coach, they appear poised to bring him on as their defensive coordinator.

The Bee first reported the team’s interest in Mangini earlier this week. ESPN today reported the 49ers were expected to name him their new defensive coordinator.

Mangini spent the last two years on the offensive side of the ball. His background before 2013, however, has been on defense, especially with defensive backs. Mangini, 44, was the Patriots’ secondary coach (2000-04) before being promoted to New England’s defensive coordinator in 2005.

He then served as a head coach for five years, first with the New York Jets (2006-08) and then the Cleveland Browns (2009-10). He spent two years as a television analyst before joining Jim Harbaugh’s staff in 2013.

His addition would bring the known hires on defense to two. The 49ers and ex-Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver agreed to a deal on Wednesday. Tarver will coach the team’s linebackers and has the additional title of senior offensive assistant.

The 49ers had considered Vance Joseph as a potential defensive coordinator. Joseph, however, is currently Cincinnati’s secondary coach and the Bengals have blocked him from interviewing with other teams, specifically the 49ers and Broncos.

Mangini did not make a mark as a tight ends coach. The 49ers’ offense was decidedly more wide-receiver heavy in 2014 than it had been in previous seasons. Vernon Davis, the team’s top tight end, had just 26 catches for 245 yards and two touchdowns. Vance McDonald, a second-round pick in 2013, had two catches for 30 yards and finished the season with a back injury.

Mangini will have a difficult act to follow on defense.

The 49ers last week parted ways with defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who immediately found a job with the Bears. Chicago also signed Ed Donatell to coach the defensive backs. Under Fangio, the 49ers finished no lower than fifth overall in total defense over the past four years.

Something to consider: 49ers defensive players liked playing under Fangio because the schemes were simple and allowed them to play with abandon. Mangini, meanwhile, hails from the Bill Belichick school of defense that calls for scheme-heavy game plans that vary from week to week. Both men prefer 3-4 schemes.

The 49ers also are expected to sign former Jets special-teams coach Thomas McGaughey, 41, who worked alongside new head coach Jim Tomsula with the Scottish Claymores of NFL Europe in 2002. Tomsula coached the defensive line and McGaughey worked with special teams and defensive backs.

It’s not known who the 49ers will land at offensive coordinator. They could be waiting to see how things play out with Colts assistant Rob Chudzinski. His contract expires next week, which could allow the 49ers and Rams -- the only teams that still need to hire offensive coordinators -- to meet with Chudzinski.

Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at

Related stories from Sacramento Bee