49ers' York will let future GM hire head coach

49ers' York will let future GM hire head coach

Dec. 27, 2010MAIOCCO ARCHIVE49ERS PAGE 49ERS VIDEOMatt MaioccoCSNBayArea.comSANTA CLARA -- Team president Jed York will hire the next 49ers' general manager. The general manager will hire the head coach.Those were the key points of York's press conference today in which he formally introduced defensive line coach Jim Tomsula as 49ers interim head coach after firing Mike Singletary on Sunday evening.NEWS: 49ers fire head coach Mike Singletary

The 49ers had big plans for the season. York believed they would win the NFC West and be a Super Bowl contender. But the 49ers' 25-17 loss to the St. Louis Rams on Sunday knocked the 49ers to 5-10 on the season and out of playoff contention.

REWIND: Rams end 49ers' playoffs hopes with 25-17 win
"When that (the expectation) was not realized, I wanted to make sure we were setting ourselves up for the remainder of this season, but more importantly for next season," York said. "And when we look at next season, there are a lot of things that are uncertain, (specifically) the labor issues."I'm not sure when our players are going to be back next season, so I wanted to make sure that we didn't have a coaching turnover going into that. I wanted to make sure that this week and immediately following our last game we're focusing on the players."Tomsula apologized to York for not wearing a suit to the press conference on Monday. He was watching film Sunday when York informed him of his desire to make Tomsula the interim coach. Tomsula did not go home.Tomsula said his No. 1 priority is to win Sunday's season finale against the Arizona Cardinals. One of the first questions was whom would be the 49ers' starting quarterback."We won't drag all that out," he said. "Later on today, we'll sit down with the personnel department and all the coaches and go through all those things and look at the entire roster go through normal protocol and we'll have an answer on that."Here are some more of what Jed York had to say at today's press conference:--He hopes Tomsula remains with the 49ers for a "long, long time," but acknowledges that decision will rest with the future head coach.--York said he would consult his uncle, Eddie DeBartolo, through the process of hiring a general manager. He said he will also talk to the New England Patriots chair Robert Kraft and president Jonathan Kraft.RELATED: 49ers FAQ's: First GM, then coach, then QB
"My uncle is probably the best person out there and there are a lot of others I will talk to," York said. "He's the person I'll get the most advice from."But, ultimately, he said, "I'll be the one hiring the general manager."--York plans to interview several candidates, beginning this week, who are not currently employed in the NFL. Those individuals are off-limits during the regular season. Former Broncos general manager Ted Sundquist has been confirmed as a candidate, Comcast SportsNet has learned. Sundquist is expected to meet with York this week.--Niners vice president of player personnel Trent Baalke is a candidate, York said. Baalke filled a GM-type role with 49ers for the past nine months after former general manager Scot McCloughan's departure."I know what Trent has done with us," York said. "And it's a lot easier to evaluate somebody when they're here working with you. we need to go out and evaluate a lot of other people."--York said the 49ers will not necessarily look for "big names" to fill the roles of general manager and head coach."I've spoken to a lot of people that have been in and around the game this season to get their feedback on how to build a team," York said. "I think when you look at teams that have been successful out there, it's not about hiring the flashiest name as your head coach or GM or both. It's about making sure the GM and head coach are really working together. you need your general manager, and your general manager is a person who is going to live and die with the coach."--The 49ers struck out with Mike Nolan and Singletary. Nolan has been a very competent defensive coordinator. Singletary was a Hall of Fame linebacker with the Chicago Bears, who was never a coordinator.RELATED: Statement from Mike Singletary
"I wouldn't say we're looking strictly at an offensive-minded head coach, but I think we've had a lot of problems on the offensive side of the ball," York said. "So if it's not an offensive-minded head coach, it has to be somebody who has experience in dealing with the NFL and in dealing with putting together a staff."So I wouldn't say we're only looking at offensive-minded people, but if it is a defensive-minded head coach, it has to be somebody who understands how to put an offensive staff together."--York said the pool of head-coaching candidates will include those who might find themselves out of a job at the end of the season."Obviously, some coaches who aren't retained will be potential candidates for us," York said. "There are a lot of coaches on the street who are potential candidates for us. There are a lot of guys who have been coordinators and been successful, so there's a broad array."But that's not me putting that list together. I'm not going to say, 'You're the GM but you can't hire this guy as head coach.' The GM will hire the head coach."

What rookie CB Ahkello Witherspoon did to earn role in 49ers' defense


What rookie CB Ahkello Witherspoon did to earn role in 49ers' defense

SANTA CLARA – Rookie cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon did not win the right to suit up for the 49ers’ first four games. Behind the scenes, he made it his mission to earn a contributing role.

“He really started to get better with his coordination with his feet from the bump-and-run coverage and from playing ‘off.’ There’s always a light that goes on,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “And we felt that for a couple weeks from Ahkello. Once he did that, he definitely earned the right to be out there.”

The plan was for Witherspoon to rotate into the action and share time with starters Rashard Robinson and Dontae Johnson. But he played just six snaps on Oct. 8 against Indianapolis before sustaining a concussion. Witherspoon returned to action last week and played 34 of the 49ers’ 74 snaps last week at Washington. He showed enough to coninue getting significant playing time.

“He’s earned the right to play,” 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said. “He works his tail off in practice. He’s so deliberate in his approach. Whether it was scout team, whether it was team reps, whether it was walk-through, it didn’t matter.”

Witherspoon, the 49ers’ third-round draft pick at No. 66 overall, had a pedestrian training camp. Taking his lumps in August showed him what he needed to do to get into real games in October.

“I really turned up my focus, my intent every day in practice,” Witherspoon said. “What I did in camp wasn’t good enough to be a starting corner in this league, and that’s what I learned.

“I really focused on being aware of what it takes. That’s something I implemented these last four weeks -- that every day focus and competing on every single ball, and taking the mindset that no ball’s caught on me. I think that’s really helped my game, and helped these coaches trust me, as well.”

Witherspoon expected Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins to attack him. But of the 25 plays he was in coverage last week, Witherspoon saw only three passes come his way. He surrendered two receptions for 33 yards, according to Pro Football Focus.

“Just being a rookie, I thought it was going to come, where they were going to be taking that one shot,” Witherspoon said. “I kept waiting for it to happen, but it didn’t happen. Going up against a smart quarterback, I know he saw me out there.

“There were a few times he looked my way in coverage. I wasn’t perfect in coverage, but I think he was looking. And I thought I did a good job.”

Witherspoon (6 foot 3, 195 pounds) is comfortable lining up on either side of the field, which he did during his college career at Colorado. He said he has not put on much weight but he has added more muscle, which has allowed him a better chance to compete physically against bigger NFL receivers.

Witherspoon fully expects to be challenged on Sunday when he is expected to see considerable playing time against the Dallas Cowboys at Levi’s Stadium. Witherspoon figures Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott will be paying particularly close attention any time Dez Bryant lines up on his side of the field.

“They’re going to be looking at the ‘rook,’ ” Witherspoon said.

Said Shanahan, “They’re going to try to do that with all our DBs, so I don’t think it even matters who’s out there. They’re going to attack when we’re in single safety, which we are the majority of the time. They’re going to go outside and keep going out there until you stop them.”

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Watch Kyle Shanahan's full sit-down interview with Matt Maiocco on "49ers Game Plan," which is scheduled to air Saturday at 9 p.m. on NBC Bay Area (Ch. 3).

49ers wide receiver Pierre Garçon handed hefty fine


49ers wide receiver Pierre Garçon handed hefty fine

The NFL fined 49ers wide receiver Pierre Garçon $24,309 for unnecessary roughness in last week’s game against Washington.

Garçon, who was not penalized on the play, lowered his helmet and struck Washington safety Montae Nicholson at the end of an 8-yard pass reception in the second quarter.

In 2013, the NFL passed a rule that bans the ball carrier from initiating contact with the crown of his helmet in the open field.

Nicholson’s helmet flew off and he remained on the ground for a couple of minutes. He was evaluated for a possible concussion and shoulder injury. However, Nicholson was cleared and he returned to action.

After the play, Garçon and Washington safety D.J. Swearinger exchanged words, and Swearinger took a swipe at Garçon’s facemask. Swearinger was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct.

The NFL fined Swearinger $9,115 for unnecessary roughness.