The NFL coaching landscape is beginning to take shape. Mike Shanahan might wind up taking one of the four remaining coaching vacancies with the San Francisco 49ers. If he is hired, it will continue the domino effect that took place during the last couple of days, as the coaching vacancies are starting to fill up.
The flurry of hires began over the weekend when the Miami Dolphins hired Adam Gase from the Chicago Bears. What followed was the Cleveland Browns hiring Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson to be their head coach.
Jackson was slightly criticized during the day for not taking an interview with the New York Giants. The Giants vacancy was seen as a better position than the Browns job, but perhaps he got an inkling that he would not be offered the job. It was not long ago that NFL.com reported that the New York Giants had promoted OC Ben McAdoo to be their head coach.
Where does that leave the two-time Super Bowl-winning Mike Shanahan?
Of the three teams that have filled out their openings, Mike Shanahan had an interview with the Dolphins. He did not get the job in South Beach, but there is a report that he has emerged as a strong contender for the San Francisco 49ers head coaching position.
SF Gate reported that Mike Shanahan is getting strong consideration for the San Francisco 49ers job.
According to the report, 49ers general manager Trent Baalke reached out to Shanahan not long after he interviewed former New York Giants boss Tom Coughlin. During their coaching search last season, Baalke, accompanied by other members of the 49ers front office, met with Mike Shanahan for a six-hour meeting in Denver. San Francisco wound up hiring Jim Tomsula as their coach, but it is very likely that Shanahan left a lasting impression.
The reason why the San Francisco 49ers are looking at coaches such as Mike Shanahan and Tom Coughlin is because they have a preference for an experienced voice inside of the locker room. The hiring of Tomsula was a risky move that appears to have been doomed from the start. The hiring came on the heels of a messy relationship with former coach Jim Harbaugh. Whoever took over the reigns from a coach with a favorable resume would have been in trouble. That is, unless they had hired Mike Shanahan, or someone of his ilk. It is not a surprise that the 49ers are going the direction that the reports suggests.
Hiring Mike Shanahan makes sense on so many levels for the San Francisco 49ers.
For beginners, he is a proven winner. His two Super Bowls came when he was coaching John Elway and the Denver Broncos. Just based on his experience in guiding one of the all-time great players in the NFL, Shanahan would gain instant credibility. That would be needed for a team that has gone through a ton of turmoil in the past year.
There was a mass exodus that took place after Harbaugh’s departure. Several players retired, while those who remained regressed. A coach with Shanahan’s experience would have given the 49ers some stability, as well as a coach they would want to play for.
#49ers source said team likes Mike Shanahan because of discipline, connection to Walsh Era. Would give organization great foundation.— Jason Cole (@JasonColeBR) January 13, 2016
Another thing about Mike Shanahan and the #49ers: Former players such as Steve Young and Ronnie Lott pushed very hard for him a year ago.— Jason Cole (@JasonColeBR) January 14, 2016
The only blemish on Mike Shanahan’s resume is his tenure with the Washington Redskins.
Coaching pocket passers is his specialty. In Washington, it was his failure to adjust to having a read-option style quarterback in Robert Griffin III that hurt him in the nation’s capital. If he were to get the 49ers’ job, he would have to decide what to do with Colin Kaepernick, another read-option QB. In order to get another crack at the NFL, Mike Shanahan may hedge his bets on coaching Kaepernick up.
It would not come as a surprise if he gets an offer from the team. The Mercury News reported that San Francisco started to revisit the idea of bringing in Mike Shanahan once one of their targets, Hue Jackson, turned them down to take the Brown’s offer. That fact that he is still on the radar bodes well for him.
As the coaching vacancies are filling up, the San Francisco 49ers seem primed to be the next team to make a hire. Judging from the various rumblings, they will likely go with a familiar name in Mike Shanahan.
(Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)