49ers Mailbag: Which GM best pairs with McDaniels?


49ers Mailbag: Which GM best pairs with McDaniels?

The 49ers are on Day 4 of their coach-general manager tour as they sort through a lengthy list of candidates for both jobs.

Before we get to answering questions posted on Facebook for 49ers Mailbag, here is where the search stands:

Wednesday, Jan. 4
Buffalo interim head coach Anthony Lynn (coach)

Thursday, Jan. 5
Green Bay director of football operations Eliot Wolf (GM)
Green Bay director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst (GM)

Friday, Jan. 6
Minnesota assistant general manager George Paton (GM)
Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan (coach)

Saturday, Jan. 7
New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels (coach)

Sunday, Jan. 8
Indianapolis vice president of football operations Jimmy Raye III (GM)

Monday, Jan. 9
Washington offensive coordinator Sean McVay (coach)
Carolina assistant general manager Brandon Beane (GM)

Tuesday, Jan. 10
Carolina defensive coordinator Sean McDermott (coach)
ESPN analyst Louis Riddick (GM)

Sunday, Jan. 15
Seattle offensive line/assistant head coach Tom Cable (coach)

Monday, Jan. 16
Seattle co-director of player personnel Scott Fitterer (GM)
Seattle co-director of player personnel Trent Kirchner (GM)

Miami defensive coordinator Vance Joseph (coach)

* * *

Q: How are the Niners going to determine a good GM/HC pairing if they are hiring them at the same time? Shouldn't they hire a GM first?‬ (Dustin Heron)
A: That’s exactly how they plan to determine a good coach-GM pairing, by hiring them together.

Here’s what Jed York had to say during his press conference on Monday:
”We need to be open and flexible to structure. We need to make sure that the head coach and the general manager know each other, have a good understanding for each other. Doesn’t mean that they had to have worked together in the past, but they have to have a good respect for each other and a good understanding and know that they have similar visions and philosophies on building a football team.”

Remember all that talk that York might be demoted or stripped of power? Well, the opposite appears to be true. Although he was involved in the previous coaching searches, York ultimately left the decisions to GM Trent Baalke.

This time, York wants to sign off on both hires and determine for himself if he believes the coach and general manager will be able to work together and pull in the same direction.

Q: Which would McDaniels prefer? Caserio or Riddick?‬ (Isaac Lopez)
A: The 49ers’ job is certainly more intriguing to Josh McDaniels now than it’s ever been because he would have a major voice (the voice?) in the hiring of the team’s general manager.

He declined to interview with the 49ers in 2011, shortly after the Denver Broncos fired him as head coach after less than two seasons. Two years ago, McDaniels interviewed with the 49ers, but he was not sold on the job – most likely because he had continued questions about the structure with Baalke as general manager.

What makes this a good situation for McDaniels now is that he will be coming into a situation where he and a general manager of his choosing (or at least a GM with whom he feels comfortable) will have carte blanche to build the roster and do everything they deem necessary to turn the franchise around.

The 49ers are expected to have $80 million in cap room and 10 draft picks, including the No. 2 pick in each round.

It looks as if Nick Caserio is opting to remain as New England’s top personnel guy under coach Bill Belichick. ESPN analyst Louis Riddick has made it known what he thinks of McDaniels, and it’s safe to assume they know each other. Riddick has to be considered a strong candidate for a position he's already stated he would accept.

Minnesota assistant general manager George Paton is highly respected within NFL circles and could remain in the picture regardless of which way it goes at head coach. And although Green Bay executive Eliot Wolf does not know McDaniels, those who know both of them believe they would fit well together.

Q: Will all Chip Kelly and Trent Baalke guys be let go? Will new HC/GM determine new DC?‬ (Alex Tran)
A: The head coach and general manager will be completely free to choose their staffs. On Monday, York said he spoke to the coaching staff and those in football operations.

Said York:
“I let them know that the new general manager and the new head coach are going to make the final decisions on who’s here and who’s not. Those folks are all under contract. They are going to have the ability to go somewhere else and there are no tampering charges. They are free to talk to anybody else.”

So, yes, the takeaway is that Jed York and Paraag Marathe are conducting these interviews. According to York, he will make the hires and then step out of the way and give the coach and general manager all the support they feel they need to build the roster to their specifications.

Jeff Garcia: Jimmy Garoppolo's ill-advised decision robs him of valuable experiences

Jeff Garcia: Jimmy Garoppolo's ill-advised decision robs him of valuable experiences

Jeff Garcia faced the same situation many times over the course of his 11-year NFL career -- and, before that, five seasons in the CFL.

Through experience and knowing his own physical abilities, Garcia could determine after breaking the pocket when to slide or when to try to pick up additional yards. There certainly were times when Garcia was accused of putting his body at unnecessary risk.

But what seems clear to everyone also is obvious to Garcia: Jimmy Garoppolo should have simply stepped out of bounds Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.

“It’s one of those things where we talk about the intelligence of the quarterback and growth and maturity at that position, and I think it’s just one of those things, where with time and experience, he’s going to learn to make better decisions in those types of situations,” Garcia said on the 49ers Insider Podcast.

Garcia, a four-time Pro Bowl quarterback and Pro Football Hall of Fame nominee, is an analyst on NBC Sports Bay Area.

On a third-and-goal from the Kansas City 20-yard line and the 49ers trailing by two touchdowns with more than five minutes to play, Garoppolo scrambled to his left, got around the corner and ran along the left sideline. Garoppolo advanced the ball inside the 10-yard line. Then, with four defensive players surrounding him, he made the regrettable decision to attempt to cut back inside for additional yardage.

Garoppolo’s left knee gave out as he tried to change direction. A split-second later, Chiefs defensive back Steven Nelson leveled Garoppolo with a high hit. Initially, some 49ers players and coaches feared Garoppolo sustained a concussion.

Instead, Garoppolo grabbed at his left knee. He will undergo surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament, which will require a six- to nine-month recovery period.

“As much as I want to be supportive of him as a competitor, because I know that feeling of wanting to do whatever you can for your team,” Garcia said. “You want to show your physical and mental toughness, but you also have to know your limitations. And I think in that situation, as much as trying to get 1 or 2 extra yards was probably on his mind, he has to understand that he’s not a typical running quarterback. That’s not his strength.”

The season-ending injury will have a major impact on the remainder of the 49ers’ season. But it also could have a carry-over effect for Garoppolo, who turns 27 in November and will enter his sixth NFL season in 2019.

“He’s still raw. It was only his 10th start in the National Football League,” Garcia said. “He hasn’t even completed an entire season at this point, and you just wish he would’ve had a different mindset at that point.”

Garcia said Garoppolo’s mindset should have been to get some yardage back in order to make a fourth-down play manageable. He accomplished that goal. Then, he should have gotten out of bounds to save time and avoid a hit to his head or his throwing shoulder.

Garcia said the remainder of the team will continue to develop and improve over the course of the season, but Garoppolo will miss out on the valuable experiences of going through 16 regular-season weeks of meetings and practices.

Then, there’s the valuable experiences that comes with the decision-making that is required for a quarterback through running approximately 1,000 offensive plays during the course of a season.

“The team is young and they’re going to continue to grow and evolve and mature in all the other aspects of the team,” Garcia said. “That’s what you were counting on with Jimmy, to be able to take this year, get a full season under his belt playing the position.”

Instead, it will be backup quarterback C.J. Beathard, a third-round draft pick last year, who will have the opportunity to get the bulk of the experiences this season. Beathard takes over in Week 4, beginning with the game Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers.

“And now it’s back to square one, back to a young quarterback who was drafted last year and got some games, some starts, which is a positive thing,” Garcia said. “But he’s not the franchise guy, and that’s where so much was put into Jimmy being the guy for many years to come, and now there’s a major setback once again.”

Kyle Shanahan would've liked Jimmy Garoppolo to step out of bounds

Kyle Shanahan would've liked Jimmy Garoppolo to step out of bounds

Immediately after Jimmy Garoppolo suffered his season-ending knee injury Sunday, 49ers fans asked one question: Why didn’t the quarterback just step out of bounds on that fateful play in Kansas City?

Well, NBC Sports Bay Area 49ers insider Matt Maiocco asked Kyle Shanahan that very question during his press conference Monday. The 49ers coach’s answer was as lengthy as it was revealing.

“I think everyone’s [response] is the same after it happened. ‘Why didn’t you just get out of bounds?’ “ Shanahan said. “I think it’s a reminder to all quarterbacks and coaches. Just turn on the tape any Sunday, and you’re going to watch 15 plays by quarterbacks jumping over people, not getting out of bounds, doing a little extra to move the chains where it’s a hell of a play and everyone’s glad they did it. Then, you see some guys get out of bounds, and you’re like, ‘Yeah, that’s what you’re supposed to do.’ 

"Then, you have something like this that you’re reminded of why you do coach that and why quarterbacks should do it. But, those guys are competitive guys who want to do whatever they can to win the game. You’re not assuming just by going and staying in bounds you’re going to tear your knee up. Sometimes, you get hit a lot harder because of that, which is what I thought happened until I heard later.

“But, I think that’s something that Jimmy will probably look at differently going forward because I know he’ll remember this the rest of his life. Nothing against him. I think this happens with everyone. Like I said, you see it every Sunday.

“I think it’s just a reminder for everyone why that is the obvious coaching point and why you need to stick with that.”

Shanahan is right that Garoppolo won’t soon forget his decision. It cost him the remainder of this season, and now he’ll have to look forward to rehab and 2019.

“He’s down, just as everyone would expect,” Shanahan said. “Jimmy was real excited about this year, and we were real excited to go through it with him. Got to go through a few games, but I know he was very disappointed. I know it was hard for him last night, it was hard today, and it’ll be hard over these next few weeks.

“But, Jimmy is a tough person. He’ll bounce back from this, and he’ll be ready to go next year.”

NFL coaches likely will show their quarterbacks video of the play, hoping to avoid the same fate the 49ers now face. Shanahan, though, is confident in what Garoppolo will be when he returns next season and what C.J. Beathard can be in the interim.

“Quarterbacks can come back from knee injuries. They do it all the time,” Shanahan said. “I don’t think this will affect him going forward. Yeah, he’ll have a long recovery. He’ll have to heal. But, right when the offseason starts, I think he’ll be there. ...

“So, I’m still very excited about Jimmy and the future of him here, and I feel fortunate that we have a backup quarterback that we have a lot of confidence in.”