Candidates for 49ers’ next head coach

Check out this slideshow of coaches the 49ers should interview for their head-coaching vacancy.

This article has 150 Comments

  1. -Mora is too emotion
    -Koetter is a coordinator.
    -Jackson is talented, but I’ll never forget the ‘power grab’ press conference.
    -Bevell is coaching a talented roster with R.W. as his QB. He’s had plenty of questionable calls over the last couple of years.
    -Harbaugh is dedicated to Michigan, for the next three years or so…..

    This is a terrible list. Jackson is the only viable candidate. Harbaugh was hyper intense just like Carroll, Arians and Fisher. They need somebody that can step into the ring with those guys from a morale perspective. The NFC West has very good coaching.

    1. Big P,

      I rarely think your takes are way off base, but I think you’re way off base on Fisher. Look at his career record, it’s the very definition of mediocrity. 21 years, 169-155, .522 in the regular season; 5-6, .455 in the playoffs (no appearances since 2009).

      1. Ex,
        I was actually going to exclude Fisher from that category, I just didn’t feel like typing it. I agree with you 100%. I’ve long considered him to be the most overrated HC in the NFL. I’m not sure why he’s still employed as a HC and why he’s still so highly respected around the league. It’s gotta be the mustache. It’s the Ron Swanson look.

        1. Big P,

          Ha! That makes sense, given your history and his record, Fisher’s inclusion seemed a bit strange. I couldn’t agree more that Fisher is one of the most overrated HC’s in the NFL.

  2. 5 candidates and you give us 7 names? Hmmm.

    I really want an offensive mind as Head Coach. If you bring in a defensive specialist, like Mora, he might be able to hire a good Offensive Coordinator. But if the Coordinator is good he will be hired away. A great offensive mind should be able to find a good Defensive Coordinator.

    And, Yes. Mora is a hothead. Often barely under control.

    I want Payton!

    1. Heh I came here to ask the same thing. When did 5 become 9? Is it because a 5 is looks like an unfinished 9?

  3. Really? Only 5 candidates, Grant? And you included Harbaugh to rub it in, of course. It’ll be none of the ones you listed.

  4. Remember, the last time Hue was a head coach his owner died.. If he could pull that off here, i’d give him the job on that merit alone.

    1. I don’t see the Tomsula/Baalke type relationship with Payton.
      A coach with Payton’ pedigree will likely come in asking for his own staff and Jed (if he’s smart) will allow him that privilege.

      Also, Payton makes sense because he knows what type of QB is needed in this league to be successful. He is a headcoach that can improve the teams QB’ing issue more sooner than later.
      If Jed can hire SP, I believe that SP will want to exhaust all avenues to obtain J.Goff.

  5. Jed stressed several times during his presser they wanted a coach who could win SB’s…there’s nobody on your list who’s done that as a head coach. The prime candidate in my mind is definitely Sean Payton. He’s still under contract with the Saints, but is willing to leave to coach the Niners. He’s won a SB and is one of the top QB developers/coaches. The other coach with the SB pedigree is Tom Coughlin, but I’d have to go with Payton because he’s younger and has more football ahead of him.

    1. Jed stressed several times during his presser they wanted a coach who could win SB’s…there’s nobody on your list who’s done that as a head coach.

      Sean Payton, Mike Shanahan, and Mike Holmgren.

    2. Is Payton one of the top QB developers? He had Brees, who put up two very good years in San Diego before going to New Orleans. Brees is a first ballot HOF player. I like Payton but great QB’s cover up a lot of warts. I agree with you about Payton being the top choice. I just worry about coaches that had great QB’s coming to a situation without one. Drafting and developing is such a crapshoot. I hope whoever they choose can identify and develop a young prospect.

      1. Big P,

        I agree with you. It’s usually very hard to parse out who was responsible for what, when discussing a team’s success or failure. An NFL organization is such an interdependent endeavor, that it’s often an almost impossible task.

        Who was more responsible for the success of the 49ers in the ’80’s? Walsh or Montana? A cogent argument can be made for either. The truth is probably that they enhanced each other, like any good partnership.

        As for Payton, he makes me a little nervous, as do all the other candidates, for one reason or another. Nothing is guaranteed and at some point you just have to make a call.

        1. Ex, it was Walsh. He built that organization from the ground up and the Niners had success after Montana. I love Joe, and think he is one of the greatest of all times, but even he will admit that he could not have done as well without Lott. Rice and especially Bill Walsh.

          1. Seb,

            As I said, a cogent argument can be made for either Walsh or Montana (gun to my head, I would pick Walsh, too).

            You correctly point out that Rice and Lott, the 49ers of the ’80’s, would’ve been the same, and that’s exactly my point. It’s usually hard to single out one person as the most responsible for success or failure.

            1. I don’t know why any one would want Jeff Fisher as a head coach, he has never taken a team to the SB, and he is not a winner at all.

              1. Fisher did take the Titans to Super Bowl XXXIV, where they lost to the Rams’ Greatest Show on Turf. He does have a .522 winning percentage, but I agree: he’s not an exciting candidate. He’s only been to the playoffs six times in 20 full seasons as a head coach.

        2. Ex,
          I see Walsh as an architect that built an empire. Payton kind of seems like a hothead that rode a wave. Walsh would have had success with another QB, but Montana was the perfect QB for him. Walsh was the perfect HC for Montana. Walsh really did pull the strings and he was razor sharp in terms of lighting a fire under his players. He expected long term greatness. Payton seemed content after winning his only SB. The Saints have steadily eroded under his leadership through a series of terrible FA signings, draft busts and crippling contracts. I like Payton, but these are the realities to consider when assessing him as a HC. Harbaugh, without a Super Bowl, is a better HC but apparently was not worth the money he wanted. Payton makes ~$8 million and would require trade compensation. Just Jed being Jed. Stay tuned.

      2. Big P,
        I see your point. And yes, Payton came into the Saints job with a turn-key QB already in place.

        But he has been successful in surrounding Brees with some very good players that have also helped Brees along the way.
        Players like Goodwin (who had some great years with us), Graham (now w/Seattle), Colston, Brandin Cooks, Andrus Peat have been good decisions by Payton.
        The offense took a hit this year when they lost Mark Ingram for some games, but he also added to the offense when in the lineup.

        We need a headcoach that can assemble the right personnel to surround our (hopefully franchise in this years draft) QB.
        I would be ok with some of the other coaches mentioned as potential HC’ but Payton is my first choice.

  6. Interesting list…was it written in sarcasm?

    Personally, I’d love to see Sean Payton or Kyle Shanahan – and wouldn’t be upset if they gave Holmgren a shot (despite his age).

    Not a fan of bringing in Chip Kelly or Mike Shanahan – if they thought there were personality conflicts with Harbaugh, then there’s no way they can go with either of those two. Well, there’s actually a long list of guys I wouldn’t want to see as HC, but those are the two at the top of my list.

    PS – How have you all been? Personally, I’ve been too pissed off since the Harbaugh firing/Tomsula hiring and haven’t had anything substantial to contribute (other than unabashed negativity). Hoping they make better choices this time around and I lose the urge to drive to 49er headquaters and punch someone in the face for being an egocentric dumbass.

    1. A blast from the past…. My old ally in the fight against the plague that was DS. Hope all is well 49ergirl, love the avatar.

        1. No..please do not mention he/she who shall not be named!! It might come back after spending some quality time on it’s home plant…

    2. Thank you for the welcome backs :-)

      I’m surprised Jon Gruden’s name isn’t popping up more – he’s usually tops of the rumor mill list. Guess everyone’s conceded that he isn’t leaving ESPN anytime soon.

    3. “I’ve been too pissed off since the Harbaugh firing/Tomsula hiring and haven’t had anything substantial to contribute (other than unabashed negativity).”

      lol… I felt the same thing but I hardly contribute here anyway so I will not be missed like you. Welcome back!

  7. Here is my list.
    Mike Holmgren
    Sean Payton
    Vic Fangio
    Ken Norton
    Anthony Lynn
    Brian Billick
    Gus Malzahn
    Mark Helfrich
    I have 2 longshots.
    Lou Saben
    David Shaw

        1. Zombie Lou Saban! He’ll be cheap. They can pay him in brains.

          Do brains with CTE taste different? Zombie Lou Saban could tell us?

          1. Nice. Joke about CTE.
            NFL leaned on the producers to cut out a segment. It was about the time when Dave Duerson shot himself, but did not shoot hinself in the head so they could study his brain. I think Goodell’s last 3 words was Oh my God….

          2. Grimey,

            The downside is he’d have to be kept in Hannibal Lechter style restraints, or a cage anywhere he could take a bite out of someone. Come to think of it, that would be a pretty powerful motivator, “Listen, Armstead, get to the QB or we’ll set Coach Z on you!”

  8. Nice to read you again 49ergirl. I felt and still feel the same way as you. The only difference is I have no problem coming in here and spreading my unabashed negativity :p

    1. “The only difference is I have no problem coming in here and spreading my unabashed negativity :p”

      I’m glad you do. :)

  9. Grant on twtter you list Tom Clements as a top five realistic HC candidate but you don’t have him on your list of candidates the 49ers should interview. What about him do you not like?

  10. Some good names on the list, but I think they have to go offense with this hire. There needs to be a modern approach to the system and someone who can develop QB’s.

    Payton is the hot name but I think the love around here for him is probably more than he deserves. He’s a great offensive mind no doubt about it, but he’s had two losing seasons in a row, has routinely put one of the worst defenses in the league on the field, and got suspended for a year for turning a blind eye to bounties being placed on opponents. It’s not all wine and roses here. I’m not against the hiring of Payton, but there needs to be a good DC in place if they do go that route. The team would be more entertaining to watch, but wins are the most important part of the equation.

    I’ve been reading some negative views on Hue Jackson from some around here and I’m not sure why. He is a great offensive mind on par with Payton and while he doesn’t possess the HC experience you’d like, he has paid his dues as a Position Coach and OC. The two years he was in Oakland, their offense was top ten and they went 8-8 both years, one with him as HC. In the years before and after Jackson was there, the Raider offense was among the worst in the league. That is very impressive to me. The fact he’s had Andy Dalton playing like a pro bowler is also quite an achievement imo.

    The year he was HC in Oakland was a strange one to say the least. He had them playing well enough to contend for a playoff spot and then Al died making him defacto GM, and then he lost his QB to a broken Collarbone. The trade for Palmer didn’t work out because it’s pretty near impossible to get off the Couch and take a team to the playoffs in mid season, but that was the best team the Raiders have put on the field in the past 13 years. The PC at the end of the season was not his finest hour but my guess is he’s learned from that and will likely be better the second time around because of it.

    I’m open to a few candidates like these two and some others that have been thrown around, but ultimately the decision has to be made on who is best for the future and not what they’ve done in the past.

      1. I don’t think they quit on him. They didn’t play well in a couple of late season games, but they were in some close ones right down to the end that year. It was a stressful season and it took it’s toll on everybody by the final game.

      2. I don’t think they quit on Jackson – the team was extremely dysfunctional with Al running the show and got worse when he died mid season. Nobody knew what was going to happen – I always thought Hue was a victim of timing. The team improved under him – first Raider coach who did more good than harm since Gruden.

        Sad when you think that the 49ers are not only the most dysfunctional team in the Bay, they’re near the top of the league in that category.

      3. I totally agree with you. Something is missing with Hue Jackson. I don’t consider him a good candidate. Perhaps a competent OC but what evidence do we have that he can lead anything. The list has to start with Payton.

  11. I really like the idea of Chip Kelly as HC. For weeks now I could not wait to see Kaep get traded to Eagles to see what happens. He tried to trade for Kaep in the 2015 offseason. Look at what they are doing in Carolina with Cam…he can do the same thing with the 49ers with Kaep!

  12. Who needs a coach or players for that matter?

    “The 49ers were one of the leagues’ lowest-valued franchises, ranking 30th on the Forbes list in 2008 at $865 million. The 49ers closed out Candlestick Park at the end of the 2013 season with a third consecutive trip to the NFC Championship game. Based in large part on the team’s move to Levi’s Stadium, the 49ers are now valued at fifth in the NFL with an estimated worth of $2.7 billion.” … Matt Maiocco

  13. A quarterback guru needs a disciple. I think Goff is the perfect disciple.

    If reports are rue, the 49ers are the only team in contention for Payton. Does this increase the 49ers bargaining leverage?

    1. I think it would Brodie. If there is no one else offering anything, and Payton has let them know he doesn’t want to be there anymore, it puts the Saints in a tough position. I can’t see them forcing Payton to honor his contract if he has checked out mentally.

      1. Much of the talk has been about Payton’s worth, with little focus on leverage.

        49er Leverage

        – Imagine how awkward it would be for the Saints to have Payton on staff next season.
        – If reports are true, the 49ers are the only team contending for Payton.
        – If the Saints dally too long, they have less time and fewer choices finding their next HC.

        Saints Leverage
        – The 49ers are under pressure from an upset (and overcharged) fan base to make a big name hire
        – The 49ers are in dire need of an offensive minded HC that can work with quarterbacks
        – Jackson is a hot commodity that could be snapped up if the 49ers dally too long.

        To me its leverage (at least as much as value) that will determine compensation.

    2. Goff and Payton would be a dream come true. Unfortunately, it’s looking more and more likely that the Browns will take him at #2. A backup plan would be to sign Brees if Payton comes to the 49ers and draft a QB next year.

      1. What would it take to trade up with the Titans? If the Browns think Lynch is close to Goff, they could be interested in a trade up too.

        Trade up costs at the very top of the draft varies wildly year to year. 2013 was cheap. Below charts. 2012, 2014, 2015 were very expensive years to trade up.

        1. Too much Brodie. We’d have to sate their hunger for Tunsil or Bosa, and I honestly don’t see making such a move as worth it.

      2. I was thinking about Brees, but he would cost around $20 million per year. Still, it should result in a major/brutal transformation of the offense and most likely the receiving/TE corps.

  14. Josina Anderson ✔ @JosinaAnderson
    Source: #Bills assistant head coach/ running backs Anthony Lynn is scheduling an interview with the #49ers this week for their HC vacancy.

        1. Seb,

          Did you ever stop to think that maybe, just maybe, some of the things you suggest the team should do are blatantly obvious and generic?

          1. What’s your problem? When I write that Lynn should be a candidate and he appears the next day, I cant bring it up because you assume it was just a huge coincidence?
            Feel jealous that you did not think of it before me? Gedoverit.

            1. Now remember all, pro football insiders read all Seb’s posts. All. No insiders have a clue unless they catch a nugget from Seb. Seb is man enough to point that out. Seb knows he’s good, and is the source for all innovative thinking. Period.

              1. Cassie, I am glad that you follow my posts so assiduously. I hope you realize that I am dominating your thoughts so much that you feel compelled to haunt my posts.
                You really should have convinced your dad about that bait shop. This HC search might get messy.

              2. From that wonderful resource Wikipedia… Non-bizarre delusions are fixed false beliefs that involve situations that could potentially occur in real life… I’d suggest Seb falls into the non-bizarre basket of delusions.

            2. It’s not my problem Seb; it’s yours. As in you are truly delusional if you think anybody associated with the team reads your posts and makes decisions based on things you say. It’s irrational behavior that was funny when you were making suggestions like multiple laterals or thinking that telling a QB to look another direction was something no one had thought of, but now I’m beginning to suspect that you are really not all there.

              1. I will just remember that Jed himself said he sees the criticisms on social media. Maybe your beef is with him.

    1. Payton hopefuls will be happy. Satisfies the Rooney Rule right off the bat. More signs they could be zeroing in on the man from New Orleans.

        1. That meeting is put on hold which could mean
          A. He is signing with Miami or
          B. We already have Payton and just need to satisfy the rules and conditions

  15. Seems like the beat writers all had the same column idea today with possible HC lists. Inman came up with some interesting names. Todd Haley was on his list and I hadn’t really thought of him. He was always viewed as a hot head, but is another guy who can really coach offense and he’s been with the Steelers long enough now that maybe he is capable of bringing some of that here. He’d be down my preferred list of candidates, but he’s an option to look at. Lynch had David Shula on his and he’s interesting too although I don’t think his offensive prowess is as strong as the others. He really relies on Cam for everything they do.

    1. Haley is better off as an OC. His last two head coaching gigs were disastrous endeavors.

  16. If Sean Peyton is to be the HC it’s going quite interesting how he views Kap. Here is a guy who’s philosophy often times incorporates bubble screens and throws in the flat to set up the opportune deep shot. Areas where Kap really struggles. He’ll want to draft a qb for this, right?

    1. “bubble screens and throws in the flat to set up the opportune deep shot”

      Lynch and Goff fit that description.

    2. No, I bet Payton is salivating over the chance to utilize Kaep properly that accentuate his strengths. Payton is smart enough to do that.

  17. I think that we will get an offensive coach who comes from the Parcells branch of coaching. Baalke comes from that tree and has never been enamored of the West Coast offense. That is why I think Payton is his first choice.

    1. Speaking of coaching trees, I guess the Tomsula tree was never to be, like an anemic Christmas tree left unsold, languishing in a windswept parking lot in San Pablo…

  18. I think the biggest question will be who on the list can work with the new HC as an OC?
    What’s your best combo?
    My short list would be Payton and Bevell.
    Let’s spend the money (Jed said so) and get the best!

    1. Darrell Bevell may be the most overrated OC in the league. When your offense relies on the QB to scramble or the RB to run over guys then you are not scoring by design. Bevell should be left right where he is.

      1. Houston,

        This is akin to Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump agreeing on campaign finance reform, but I couldn’t agree with you more. Bevell runs a one read, college style passing offense. NO BEVELL.

    2. There was a time when the Seattle fans were out for Bevell’s blood. I’m not sure if the play calling has improved or if it’s mostly RW. It seems like their offense improved once they stopped feeling the need to give Lynch and/or Graham the ball (because they were injured).

  19. I wonder what the rules are for cash compensation in head coaching trades. Is it OK. Would it be non-salary cap cash if the 49ers gave up some bucks for Payton?

  20. Payton is supposed to have a PC tomorrow, I believe it is at 1:00 PM central but am not sure. We should know a lot more after that PC.

    1. Good point. She can mitigate your Dad’s stiff public persona, and maybe also play a McVay-type of role, except she will dress in leather and use the whip to make front office behave more reasonable and stop leaks?

  21. From PFT:

    Updating an earlier item, ESPN’s Dianna Marie Russini reports Mike Shanahan’s interview with the 49ers is “on hold.”
    The sides are apparently having phone chats, however. Shanahan bombed with the Redskins and will be 64 in August. If he’s going to return to coaching, it should probably be with a roster further along than San Francisco’s.

    1. I did not put Shanahan on my list because of his Washington tenure.
      Shanahan had Elway for years but failed until he got an elite RB.

    2. Shanahan’s time in Washington featured a washed up McNabb his first year, Rex Grossman his second year and then RGIII. The two years with RGIII, they were a top ten offense even in year two when Griffen was coming back from knee surgery. Shanahan knows how to run an offense that is effective in both the run and pass. He is a lot like Payton really. They both are great offensive minds and play callers who don’t always find a good enough DC to compliment them.

      1. After 5 years as HC, he won 2 SBs, then had 14 years of mediocrity. Not the most stellar record. The Washington Years were regrettable, and the owner did not help.
        Just do not think either Shanahan has the fire and drive to win it all.

  22. – Miami Dolphins have ‘expressed interest’ in Sean Payton

    Another hat in the ring. Sounding a little like January 2011 with Miami and San Francisco bidding for the next splashy head coach.

      1. I’m not fully buying their Hue stock.They want that big name on deck just as much as they do success. I’m thinking internally they want to shift the pressure of next season off of themselves and onto the next coach. My guess they will go payton-kelly-shanahan-[insert big name]-then hue

    1. I think Miami will go for that Shula pedigree, but may have to wait until after the SB.
      Payton grew up a Niner fan, and his daughter lives in the Bay area.

  23. Here’s what we know so far:

    Jed’s admittedly made a mistake and swears he really does want to return the team to the SB. Shanahan’s interview is on hold, Payton is holding a press conference tomorrow, and the team is interviewing candidates who satisfy the Rooney rule so they can hire the coach they really want who isn’t a minority candidate. It can only mean one thing:

    Tomorrow the team will announce Geep Chryst is the new HC and he’s bringing back Jimmy Raye as the OC (and maybe Manusky for DC). Then, with dramatic flare, Jed will drop the mike after making the announcement, flip his the middle finger to fans and dare them to come up with more creative banners to fly across the field next season.


    1. I’ve already got one. Actually two. The first banner would have a picture of him flying the bird with another plane flying behind it with WE DON’T WANT ONE MORE YEAR WITH YOU JED.

      1. Or a line from The Who…Won’t Get Fooled Again…”Meet the new boss, Same as the old boss. Nah, Jed wouldn’t get it.

  24. I didn’t expect JimmyT to get the whole $14M, then something occurred to me. Is it possible that JimmyT signed a nondisclosure agreement with the Yorks during his exit interview to never divulge the extent to which he demonstrated his “loyalty” to the York family during his years with the 49ers?

    Just asking.

  25. Grant, MWDynasty, MWNiner, Rocket, Jack, Coffee, BigP, AES, and Ricardo

    Thank you for the kind words, I really did miss you and the rest of the guys, too. I Look forward to an entertaining off season and plan to intermittently spew sarcastic/snarky comments all summer (except when I’m on vacation, lol!)

    That said, I didn’t miss dealing with the whackos (and there’s always at least one, isn’t there?).

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