Colts announce interviews with GM candidates, including 49ers finalist

Colts announce interviews with GM candidates, including 49ers finalist

The Indianapolis Colts will interview six candidates for their vacant general manager position, including five individuals who met with the 49ers.

Minnesota assistant general manager George Paton, who is a finalist for the 49ers’ job, has an interview scheduled with the Colts, the team announced on Wednesday. Colts owner Jim Irsay announced the firing of general manager Ryan Grigson on Saturday.

Irsay said he was committed to retaining head coach Chuck Pagano for the 2017 season.

Paton and Arizona vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough are scheduled for second interviews with the 49ers on Saturday in Atlanta. Presumptive coach Kyle Shanahan, the Falcons’ offensive coordinator, is expected to take part in the general manager interviews to help select the 49ers’ next general manager.

The 49ers are not allowed to officially hire Shanahan until after Super Bowl 51 on Feb. 5, but the general manager position could be filled before then.

The Colts' list also includes Kansas City director of football operations Chris Ballard, who declined to interview with the 49ers. League sources tell CSNBayArea.com that Ballard expressed a desire to remain with the Chiefs.

The Colts will also interview in-house candidate Jimmy Raye III, the team’s interim general manager and vice president of player personnel. Raye interviewed with the 49ers on Jan. 8 but did not make it to a second round of interviews.

Green Bay director of football operations Eliot Wolf and Seattle co-diretors of player personnel Trent Kirchner and Scott Fitterer are also among the six candidates the Colts will interview.

Wolf removed his name from contention for the 49ers’ job last week when it became apparent that he wasn’t going to be hired, reported Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The Packers intend to give Wolf a new title and his third promotion and five years, according to the report.

Kirchner pulled out of the running, along with coach candidate Tom Cable, when both men became convinced the 49ers were targeting Shanahan and a GM candidate of his choosing, according to sources. The 49ers informed Fitterer he did not make the cut past the first round of interviews.

Shanahan showed patience with Beathard; Will now have to show more

Shanahan showed patience with Beathard; Will now have to show more

Kyle Shanahan is, self admittedly, not a patient person. As he watched quarterback C.J. Beathard run the scout team over the last couple of weeks -- how he visualized an unfamiliar play, went through his progressions and handled the defensive coverages -- the head coach saw rapid improvement every day. But he suppressed any urge to play the rookie before he was ready.

“I tried to wait for the right time for him and the right time for the team,” Shanahan explained.

Down 14-0 to Washington halfway through the second quarter with starter Brian Hoyer struggling, Shanahan knew Beathard’s time had come.

“I felt the team needed it right then,” Shanahan said. “It also made me more confident to do it because I thought he was ready for it, also.”

Moments after the game was over, Shanahan named Beathard the starter. Watching the game tape on the flight home only bolstered his decision.

“By no means was he perfect, missed a couple of things, but that always happens,” Shanahan said. “I thought he came in there, didn’t hesitate, competed. The moment was not too big for him. Made a few plays in rhythm, made a few off schedule plays and was a big reason we got back in that game.”

Beathard led the 49ers on two scoring drives and finished 19-of-36 with 245 passing yards, a touchdown and an interception, though it came on fourth-and-20 on his final pass attempt of the game. On his 45-yard touchdown pass to Aldrick Robinson, Beathard extended the play when the fifth year receiver wasn’t where he expected him to be.

“He was supposed to go to the post for a certain coverage, and they had a busted coverage, so he just hung out there which is why C.J. didn’t see it right away,” Shanahan explained. “We had enough protection where he could take a couple more hitches. He drove the pocket and saw where Aldrick was, and he didn’t hesitate. Made that throw with that arm strength.”

Shanahan smirked at his not-so-subtle dig at those who questioned Beathard’s arm strength during the draft process. He sees a quarterback who can make all the throws, and make them from the pocket, and scramble when he needs to. All he needs now, Shanahan contends, is experience.

“It’s about playing in the game and reacting to defenses, reacting to coverages, reacting to adjustments. He’s going to see a lot of things he hasn’t seen before, and that will change each week. It will probably change each quarter.”

Helping Beathard continue to grow through those experiences will require patience, but in this situation, it’s the kind the head coach can handle.

“You’re never going to get a quick answer. You see over time, but he’s got the ability to do it. He’s got the mental toughness to do it. I think he will get better the more he plays.”

Armstead to undergo surgery on broken hand, out indefinitely


Armstead to undergo surgery on broken hand, out indefinitely

Defensive lineman Arik Armstead will be out indefinitely with a broken hand, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan announced Monday.

“He’s going to need surgery, so it’s going to be some time,” Shanahan said of Armstead, the 49ers' first-round pick in the 2015 draft.

The 49ers will discuss placing Armstead of injured reserve, which would rule him out for at least eight weeks. The 49ers will also be without defensive end Aaron Lynch this week against the Dallas Cowboys. Lynch is week-to-week with a calf strain.

“The more guys you lose, the less you like that depth,” Shanahan said. “Losing Arik, which could be some time. We’ll have to discuss IR. We have to do that over the next couple of days. We know we’re going to have Lynch out, too, for at least a week or most likely more. That takes away two guys who were helping.”

The 49ers might make a roster move to add a defensive lineman to their 53-man roster. The 49ers also expect outside linebacker/defensive end Dekoda Watson to return to action this week after missing two weeks with a groin strain.