Linehan and Chudzinski: A great place to start (and end)

The NFL Network is reporting the 49ers are scheduled to interview Scott Linehan and Rob Chudzinski this weekend for their offensive coordinator position. The 49ers are saying the report is “speculation at this point.”

So here is my take on this . . .


Niners fans should be pretty darn excited.


These are two really good candidates for the job. In fact, I would list Linehan and Chudzinski as THE TOP TWO candidates of the available coaches. If the 49ers hired either of these men, they will have done very well for themselves.


Sure, Linehan did not fare well as Rams head coach. But Linehan is a proven coordinator, having experienced successes with the Vikings and Dolphins. (And, let’s remember, there are a lot of really good coordinators who have not been sensations as head coaches.)


Linehan had the impossible situation of following Mike Martz with the Rams – a team that was in obvious decline when he arrived. It was a nearly impossible situation. Following Martz this time – as O.C. with the 49ers – would not be as difficult. The personnel on the 49ers is better suited to Linehan’s more-standard style than Martz’s. And, I think the 49ers’ offense is young enough at certain key spots (offensive line and receivers) that it will be ascending, not declining.


As for Chudzinski, I’ve been on his bandwagon for more than a year. When it looked as if Mike Nolan’s job was in jeopardy toward the end of the 2007 season, I began making phone calls about possible head-coaching candidates. Chudzinski is someone who checked out repeatedly as a “rising star.”


He did a fantastic job in his first season (2007) with the Browns. The Ravens wanted to interview him for their head-coaching position last year, but he turned down their request to sign a lucrative contract extension with the Browns. Obviously, things did not go as smoothly this season, as the Browns struggled throughout the season with injuries and other problems.


The one concern with Chudzinski is that if he does a good job, he will immediately become a head-coaching candidate. But if he does a good job, will it be worth it to the 49ers to have had his services for a short period of time?


Meanwhile, Linehan will probably need a couple years to rebuild his stock to the point that he becomes a head-coaching candidate again.


If Linehan and Chudzinski walk through the doors of the 49ers’ Santa Clara facility . . . and if the 49ers can have their pick of which one to hire . . . I really don’t think they can go wrong.

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