Earlier in the day, offensive coordinator candidate Rob Chudzinski came off the market as he was promoted by the Indianapolis Colts from special assistant to the head coach to associate head coach.
Fewell, meanwhile, was wooed to bring his resume as former New York Giants defensive coordinator to Santa Clara and take over a secondary that helped the Niners lead the NFL with 23 interceptions last season.
Former secondary coach Ed Donatell was released by the Niners in the wake of Jim Harbaugh’s departire and followed defensive coordinator Vic Fangio to the Chicago Bears.
A day after the San Francisco 49ers’ tight end posted a picture of Rob Chudzinski and wrote “All I want for Christmas … is to meet #robchudzinski #OC,” Indianapolis announced a promotion for the former special assistant to the head coach, to associate head coach.
“We’re excited to keep Chud in our family,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said in a statement. “He’s been a critical part of our operation, and we’re looking forward to sharing even more success in the future.”
Besides the Niners, the St. Louis Rams also had expressed interest in Chudzinksi for their vacant offensive coordinator position, but Colts general manager Ryan Grigson denied both teams permission to speak with him last week.
So where do the 49ers look now for an OC?
Well, in house there are three assistants with such experience in tight ends coach Tony Sparano, who did the job with the New York Jets in 2012, offensive line coach Chris Foerster, with the Miami Dolphins in 2004, and quarterbacks coach Geep Chryst, with the San Diego Chargers in 1999 and 2000.
The Niners, though, have yet to officially announce any hires to new coach Jim Tomsula’s staff. And former Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan, who was the Niners’ OC the last time they won a Super Bowl, in 1995, also has been linked to the opening.
Still, the longer the search takes, the more credence is lent to the notion that the Niners had no true plan in place for assistants when the promotion of Tomsula from defensive line coach to head coach was announced on Jan. 15.
He also Tweeted out a picture of his new workplace.
Plus, 49ers free safety Eric Reid offered his congratulations to McGaughey.
We're building a great coaching staff! Congrats @CoachTMcGaughey on getting the ST Coordinator job. Was my coach at LSU so that says it all— Eric Reid (@E_Reid35) January 27, 2015
Following is the most up-to-date tracker of assistants linked to Tomsula’s staff:
Offensive coordinator: Rob Chudzinski appears to be the leading candidate after "front-runner" Lane Kiffin announced he was returning to Alabama. Two-time Super Bowl-winning coach Mike Shanahan, who was the 49ers' offensive coordinator the last time they won the Super Bowl, and Marc Trestman were also linked, though Trestman was hired as Baltimore’s offensive coordinator and Indianapolis has blocked teams from interviewing Chudzinski, whose contract with Colts reportedly ends next week. 49ers quarterbacks coach Geep Chryst is also considered an option.
Offensive line: Chris Foerster, the 49ers’ offensive line coach in 2008 and 2009, reportedly is returning to the same position, though he ran more zone schemes in Washington and the 49ers' personnel dictates power blocking.
Assistant offensive line: Eric Wolford, the former head coach at Youngstown State, is purportedly joining Foerster, after reportedly accepting a job at Oklahoma State.
Quarterbacks: Chryst, the 49ers' quarterbacks coach since 2011, is reportedly set to return, though the exact capacity is not yet known. He was linked to the Chicago Bears' offensive coordinator position before they hired Adam Gase.
Tight ends: Former Oakland Raiders interim head coach Tony Sparano is set to come down I-880.
Running backs: Tom Rathman will reportedly return in the same capacity.
Offensive assistant: Ronald Curry, with the 49ers since 2013, has been wooed by Buffalo, though the 49ers reportedly denied the Bills permission to interview him.
Special teams coordinator: McGaughey Tweets that he is the new special teams coordinator after Brad Seely, released by the 49ers, was hired by Oakland for the same position. McGaughey worked with Tomsula in NFL Europe.
Defensive coordinator: The 49ers are set to name Eric Mangini to this position. The ex-49ers tight ends coach was the New England Patriots' defensive coordinator in 2005, and head coach of the New York Jets (2006-08) and Cleveland Browns (2009-10). San Francisco was denied permission by Cincinnati to speak with Bengals secondary coach Vance Joseph, whose NFL coaching career began with the 49ers as a secondary coach.
Senior defensive assistant/linebackers: Former Oakland defensive coordinator Jason Tarver has been hired. He ran a 4-3 defensive scheme in Oakland, but is a 3-4 strategist at heart.
Secondary: Former New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell reportedly has an offer in hand from the 49ers but is also considering Washington after former secondary coach Ed Donatell was released by the Redskins and followed Vic Fangio to the Bears.
Unless, of course, the 49ers have simply been biding their time, awaiting Indianapolis Colts special assistant Rob Chudzinski’s contract to expire to make a move on him. Chudzinski’s contract reportedly expires this week.
Thing is, the 49ers are not the only team still without an O.C.; the St. Louis Rams also have a vacancy there, and the Colts have denied both teams permission to interview Chudzinski.
In fact, the Rams might be weary of waiting for Chudzinski as the St. Louis Post Dispatch has reported the Rams are scheduled to give former Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett a second interview today.
And as far as 49ers tight end Vernon Davis is concerned, he already has his top O.C. candidate in mind as he took to Instagram Monday to post his feelings, along with a mug shot of Chudzinski, writing, "All I want for Christmas…is to meet #robchudzinski #OC."
Christmas, though, was a month and two days ago. Might the 49ers be too late in this chase? Stay tuned.
Host Paul Gutierrez (San Francisco 49ers reporter) and co-hosts Coley Harvey (Cincinnati Bengals reporter) and Mike Wells (Indianapolis Colts reporter) are joined by two other NFL Nation reporters to discuss the big game.
Kevin Seifert (NFL Nation writer) takes us behind the multi-step process that goes into the pregame checking of football inflation, and the impetus behind the league allowing quarterbacks to play with their own footballs. He also chats briefly about the Super Bowl's head referee, Bill Vinovich, and what we might be able to expect from his mixed crew.
Jeff Legwold (Denver Broncos reporter) shares his thoughts on covering the Super Bowl after having been in the press box of each championship game since Super Bowl XXVIII in Atlanta in 1994.
Be sure to watch NFL Nation TV live on ESPN.com this Friday at 1 p.m./10 a.m. PT as we catch up with Legwold and ESPN Insider's Mike Sando, who will fill us in on the Hall of Fame selection process that will occur this weekend.
Also, be sure to give the show's podcast a listen following each taping.
Listen to this week's podcast here.
Source says Fewell already has an offer from the 49ers to be their DB coach. Might have other options...— John Keim (@john_keim) January 26, 2015
Fewell interviewed with the Niners over the weekend after he was released by the Giants following five seasons as their defensive coordinator. He was replaced in the Meadowlands by Steve Spagnuolo.
The Giants had the NFL’s No. 29-ranked total defense in 2014, No. 18 against the pass.
The Niners, meanwhile, led the NFL with 23 interceptions.
Former secondary coach Ed Donatell followed defensive coordinator Vic Fangio to Chicago for the same gigs with the Bears under their new coach, John Fox.
The 49ers, one of two teams without an offensive coordinator, along with the St. Louis Rams, have yet to announce any hirings to Tomsula’s staff, though an updated tracker can be found here and Eric Mangini is in line to become the defensive coordinator.
Hey, even ESPN NFL analyst Jeff Saturday said the Niners were the team with the most talent on its roster to NOT make Super Bowl XLIX.
A Pro Football Focus project, though, took it a step further by analyzing the 28 teams that played in conference championship games from the 2007 through 2013 seasons and found that “on average, 40 percent of those rosters were composed of good/elite players (you had to play 250-plus snaps to qualify)."
Using that methodology, PFF determined how many above-average players stood between your team and contending for this year’s Super Bowl.
And when applied to the Niners, it found they were a mere six such players away. But that does not factor in injuries or importance of position, so to speak.
It is interesting fodder -- PFF determined there was only one elite player on the Niners’ roster, and it’s a head-scratcher, unless you factor in only what happened this season as a bubble -- and you can find the entire project, with my takes, here.
Host Paul Gutierrez (San Francisco 49ers reporter) and co-hosts Coley Harvey (Cincinnati Bengals reporter) and Mike Wells (Indianapolis Colts reporter) will be joined by EPSN NFL Insider Kevin Seifert and Jeff Legwold (Denver Broncos reporter).
Seifert, who has covered the world of NFL officiating with aplomb, will break down the process of inflating and inspecting footballs and how officials are involved in the process. He’ll also give us a scouting report on the officials assigned for Sunday.
Legwold, who covered the Broncos in last year’s Super Bowl, will then give us a day-by-day breakdown of the week and how teams attempt to stay focused with so many outside distractions.
Also, the crew will discuss the Pro Football Focus project that examined how many above-average players each NFL team was from contending for this year’s Super Bowl.
Viewers are encouraged to log in and ask the panelists questions as well as contribute in the chat feature.
NFL Nation TV will have a second show this week on Friday at 1 p.m. ET, 10 a.m. PT.
In the end, Staley and Bethea came out on the short end as their squad, Team Carter, fell to Team Irvin, 32-28.
But 49ers players took to social media during the week to share their experiences. It was Staley’s fourth Pro Bowl selection and the third for Bethea, who was a replacement for Seattle Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor.
Staley re-tweeted Pro Bowl teammate Greg Olsen’s pic here:
And Staley tweeted out his own shot here:
Lineman meeting pic.twitter.com/jaERUFiWpF— Joe Staley (@jstaley74) January 25, 2015
Bethea, meanwhile, did most of his posting on Instagram:
Lane Kiffin will return to Alabama next season and remain the team's offensive coordinator, the Crimson Tide announced Saturday.
Kiffin had been a front-runner for the San Francisco 49ers' offensive coordinator job, sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter last Sunday.
"We're very pleased and happy that Lane is going to be staying here at the University of Alabama with us," coach Nick Saban said in a statement released on Twitter. "He's done a fabulous job and is one of the finest offensive coaches in the country. He is going to have plenty of opportunities in the future and we want to continue to help him develop as a coach so when he leaves here, he'll be in a very good situation. Our offense was extremely productive last season and we look forward to building on some of the good things we did on that side of the ball with this year's team."
Under Kiffin, first-year starting quarterback Blake Sims completed 64.5 percent of his passes for 3,487 yards and 28 touchdowns this past season. Wide receiver Amari Cooper became a Heisman Trophy finalist, catching 124 passes (an SEC single-season record) for 1,727 yards and 16 scores.
As a team, the Crimson Tide were 16th in points per game (36.9).
"I made a comment at the [Allstate] Sugar Bowl that I would be back this fall at Alabama and that is definitely the plan," Kiffin said. "This time of year, there are lots of things out there regarding other coaching opportunities, but I want to reaffirm my commitment to the University of Alabama, coach Saban, and our team.
Kiffin, the former head coach of the Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Volunteers and USC Trojans and current offensive coordinator at Alabama, confirmed Saturday he would be staying in college rather than returning to the NFL, via the Alabama football team's official Twitter feed.
Last week, ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported Kiffin was the “front-runner” to land the gig on new Niners coach Jim Tomsula’s staff. But with Kiffin staying in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to where will the 49ers shift their focus?
Indianapolis Colts special offensive assistant Rob Chudzinski, a former head coach of the Cleveland Browns, has also been a target of the 49ers, but they, as well as the St. Louis Rams, have reportedly been denied permission to interview Chudzinski.
“I’m not going to get into specifics, but it’s ultimately my job to make sure that good people stay in this building and don't just walk right now,” Colts general manager Ryan Grigson said Friday. “So we’ll address that and do our best to keep good people here.”
Reports, though, have Chudzinski’s contract expiring next week.
The Niners have also been linked to Mike Shanahan for the offensive coordinator opening, and the two-time Super Bowl-winning coach of the Denver Broncos was the team’s play-caller the last time the 49ers won the Super Bowl, 20 years ago.
Niners quarterbacks coach Geep Chryst also could be considered an option.
As of Saturday morning, following is the most up-to-date tracker of assistants linked to Tomsula’s staff:
Offensive coordinator – Lane Kiffin is a “front-runner” for the postion. Rob Chudzinski, Mike Shanahan and Marc Trestman were also linked, though Trestman was hired as Baltimore’s offensive coordinator and the Indianapolis Colts have blocked teams from interviewing Chudzinski, whose contract with Colts reportedly ends next week. 49ers quarterbacks coach Geep Chryst is considered an option.
Assistant offensive line coach – Eric Wolford, the former head coach at Youngstown State is purportedly joining Foerster, after reportedly accepting a job at Oklahoma State.
Quarterbacks coach – Chryst, the Niners’ quarterbacks coach since 2011, is reportedly set to return, though his duties are not yet known. He was linked to Chicago Bears’ offensive coordinator position before they hired Adam Gase.
Tight ends coach – Former Oakland Raiders interim head coach Tony Sparano is set to come down Interstate 880.
Running backs coach – Tom Rathman is reportedly set to return in the same capacity.
Offensive assistant – Ronald Curry, with the Niners since 2013, was wooed by Buffalo, though Niners reportedly denied permission for the Bills to interview him.
Special teams coordinator – Former New York Jets special teams coach Thomas McGaughey is linked to the Niners’ opening after Brad Seely, released by the Niners, was hired by the Oakland Raiders for the same position. McGaughey worked with Tomsula in NFL Europe.
Defensive coordinator – The 49ers are set to hire Mangini, who was the 49ers' tight ends coach last season. He was the New England Patriots' defensive coordinator in 2005 and was head coach of the New York Jets (2006-08) and Cleveland Browns (2009-10). He was denied permission by Cincinnati to speak with Bengals secondary coach Vance Joseph, whose NFL coaching career began with the Niners as a secondary coach.
Senior defensive assistant/linebackers – Former Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver was hired. He ran a 4-3 defensive scheme in Oakland, but is a 3-4 strategist at heart.
Secondary – Former New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell is reportedly a candidate after former secondary coach Ed Donatell was released and followed Vic Fangio to the Bears.
But would that necesarrily be a trade up?
According to an annual survey compiled by the Dallas Morning News ... sure.
The 49ers finished the 2014 season as the No. 23-ranked special teams unit in the NFL, while the Jets were 20th.
“The NFL’s 32 teams are ranked in 22 kicking-game categories and assigned points according to their standing (one for the best through 32 for the worst),” the Morning News explained, hence, a lower score was better for teams.
The Jets had 404 points, the Niners 414.
What especially hurt the Niners was their inability to stop opponents from converting field goals, as the 100 percent make mark of their foes was worst in the league.
The Philadelphia Eagles had the best special teams in the league with 201.5 points, 26.5 points better than the second-place Buffalo Bills. The Eagles tied a league record with seven special-teams TDs while blocking an NFL-high six kicks.
The Green Bay Packers were last with 450 points.
And where did the Super Bowl teams finish?
The New England Patriots were third (233.5 points) and the defending champion Seattle Seahawks were 17th (393.5).
Meanwhile, Seely is headed up I-880 from Santa Clara to take over the Oakland Raiders special teams, which finished 22nd, one spot ahead of the 49ers, with 411 points.
ESPN NFL analyst Mel Kiper Jr. did just that with last year's draft. He went back over all 32 teams' 2014 selections and re-graded everyone's picks.
A year ago he gave the San Francisco 49ers a post-draft grade of "A."
"I really thought this was a fantastic draft at the time, and while I still really like it, the issues are that we don't know if they have a starting wide receiver out of this class, and that's a position of need," Kiper wrote. "While they got contributions in several places from this group, it was a disappointing season for the 49ers measured against their expectations."
An 8-8, non-playoff season essentially cost Jim Harbaugh his job.
Kiper mentioned the likes of defensive back Jimmie Ward and running back Carlos Hyde as good gets and referred to linebackers Aaron Lynch and Chris Borland as steals in the draft but wanted to see more out of center Marcus Martin and receiver/returner Bruce Ellington.
"This is another good draft that gets dinged slightly because the team took a step back, particularly on offense," Kiper wrote.
So, what is Kiper's re-adjusted grade on the Niners' 2014 draft? It's Insider so you'll have to click here.