Less than 24 hours after Jed York and the 49ers relieved GM Trent Baalke and HC Chip Kelly of their responsibilities they have officially began their search to fill both positions. Early Monday morning we began to hear word from the various insiders around the league about the candidates that the team is looking to interview.
Peter Schrager of Fox Sports and NFL Network’s Good Morning Football reported that the team setup a meeting with current New England Patriots OC and former Denver Broncos HC Josh McDaniels that will occur this upcoming weekend. Due to league rules assistant coaches that work for playoff teams with bye weeks can interview for HC positions this weekend. Lining up an interview with the most sought after assistant is a great first step in the process.
Adam Schefter tweeted soon after Schrager’s report came out that the team also secured a meeting with Patriots Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio. Caserio is a highly respected name in the scouting community and has been a key lieutenant for Bill Belichick. Caserio worked his way up the ladder in the Patriots organization, beginning as an coaching assistant in 2002 while also spending time as a personal assistant for the team. He also spent time as a WR coach, area scout and director of pro personnel before taking over his current position in 2008.
Peter King during his MMQB weekly article and Mike Silver during segments on the NFL Network indicated Jed York’s desire for the GM and HC to be a true partnership and not what some have called a “forced marriage”. That is why the interviews with Caserio and McDaniels make sense, not only have they worked together during their time in New England but they were also teammates at John Carroll University.
Following the reports of the team’s interest in Caserio and McDaniels, Matt Barrows reported that the team also secured a meeting with KC Director of Player Personnel Chris Ballard. Ballard spent 12 years in the Bears organization before coming over to the Chiefs. Ballard is highly respected for his abilities as an evaluator and is viewed as a key cog in the level of consistent success that the Chiefs have had the last few years. Alex Marvez of Fox Sports in a Facebook post confirmed the interest in Ballard and stated that organization allowing him to pick his own HC will be the selling point to him. Unfortunately for the 49ers Ian Rapoport reported that Ballard turned down the interview with the team, citing his comfort level in KC and his relationship with Chiefs' GM John Dorsey.
Matt Maiocco complied a list of candidates for both positions that sources tell him the 49ers are interested in interviewing. Ballard, Caserio and McDaniels are obviously on that list as is Anthony Lynn who was the OC for the Bills for most of the season and took over as interim HC for the Bills’ season finale. Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reported that they have requested an interview with Lynn, Mike Rodak, who is the Bills’ reporter for ESPN confirmed the story and stated that he would take the interview. Also on the lists were Seahawks’ OL coach Tom Cable, co-directors of player personnel Trent Kirchner and Scott Fitterer. A notable name on the list is current ESPN analyst Louis Riddick, who today argued that the GM position is more attractive than fans and the media perceive it to be. He went on to state that the clean slate and the resources that they will have to work with will be the key selling point to candidates.
Maiocco during his post game segment on CSN Bay Area was posed the question about whether or not Kyle Shanahan was an individual that the team was targeting. He stated that to his knowledge he was not and he was not aware of any interest the team had in him and presumably his father Mike Shanahan. The elder Shanahan had previously indicated that a GM position was not what he was looking for and that a position such as VP of operations was more appealing to him, which is why the 49ers are not interested in bringing him into the fold. Jed York during his post season press conference indicated that the team was not looking to hire such a position and that the GM and HC positions working together would be the power structure that he was looking to maintain.
That information seemed to be premature as Ian Rapoport just reported within the last hour that between Friday and Saturday of this week Kyle Shanahan would be interviewing with a group of teams including the 49ers.
The 2 key points that Jed York stressed in his press conference was that he was looking for a GM and HC that would work closely together and that they would be responsible for resetting the “championship culture”. That clear communication up and down was needed in order to succeed and that they would have everything they would in terms of finances and tools to rebuild the organization. Although this is a process that has been messy and heavily criticized the candidates that they have pinpointed are the correct pool of available individuals that they could pull from. The process will take time but given the status of the organization they have all the time in the world to get it right.