Gase study: Dolphins coach benefits from not getting 49ers' job

Gase study: Dolphins coach benefits from not getting 49ers' job

SANTA CLARA – While the 49ers enter Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins on a franchise-worst-tying nine-game losing streak with first-year coach Chip Kelly, the Dolphins are riding a five-game win streak with their first-year coach.

Does the name Adam Gase sound familiar?

It should. The 49ers narrowed their list after the "mutual parting" of coach Jim Harbaugh to two finalists in January of 2015. And for a while on the eve of when the decision was made, all signs pointed to Gase.

General manager Trent Baalke spent 8 ½ hours with Gase in the Denver area for a second interview with the then-Broncos offensive coordinator. Then, Baalke had an hours-long dinner with then-Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, who gave Gase a resounding recommendation.

Gase received a midnight phone call from Jed York, a source told CSNBayArea.com. Neither Baalke nor York made a job offer or any promises, but Gase had every reason to feel good about his chances of becoming the 49ers’ next head coach based on the tenor of those conversations, according to sources.

But the next morning, Gase got a return phone call from Baalke, who informed him the 49ers had decided to hire Jim Tomsula.

Gase, 38, speaking on a conference call with Bay Area reporters on Wednesday, took the high road when discussing the coaching interviews with the 49ers. Gase worked for the 49ers in 2008 as an offensive assistant under then-offensive coordinator Mike Martz.

“I know it was a great experience for me, as far as going through that process and getting to spend the time with all of those guys,” Gase said. “It was a really beneficial learning experience for me, as far as going through not just the initial interview but that follow-up interview. Spending all that time with Trent was a really, really valuable experience for me and extremely helpful for me when I went through that next round of interviews -- just the dos and don’ts of what to do, the expectations.

“I owe those guys a lot just for the fact they did give me that second interview. And the amount of time I spent with Trent was very valuable because nobody else gave me that second interview that interviewed me the first time. It made it so much easier for myself when I went through that next round the year afterward to know what to expect and understand the process of the second interview.”

After the 49ers passed on Gase for the head-coaching job, Tomsula put the full-court press on him to join his staff as the offensive coordinator, Gase confirmed what CSNBayArea.com originally reported last year. Tomsula met Gase at the Denver airport before Gase’s flight to Chicago to meet with John Fox.

Gase ended up following Fox, the former Denver coach, to the Bears. Tomsula settled for promoting Geep Chryst to offensive coordinator for his first and only season.

Gase said Tomsula was always good to him when they worked together on the 49ers’ staff in 2008. He said the decision to go to the Bears was not as easy as it appeared.

“It was very tough for me, as far as deciding to go to Chicago because I thought that was the best move for me at the time,” Gase said. “I have a lot of friends in that (49ers) building. And I have a lot of people I respect. And, obviously, my respect for the York family is very, very high. I want the best for those guys all the time.

“That was a tough decision for me because any time I can help Jed York win games, that’s why that was a very hard decision, as far as even not getting the head-coaching job, just saying I’m going to do something else, as far as a coordinator’s job. That was a tougher decision than what most people realize because of the respect factor I have for those people and that organization.”

It certainly worked out well for Gase – not so well for the 49ers.

Tomsula was fired after a 5-11 season. Kelly is 1-9 after winning the season opener against the Los Angeles Rams.

The Dolphins hired Gase one year after the 49ers passed on him. After a 1-4 start, the Dolphins are 6-4 and in the thick of the AFC playoffs race with one of the bright young offensive minds – and head coaches – in the NFL.

NFL draft rumors: Nick Bosa early favorite to land with 49ers at No. 2


NFL draft rumors: Nick Bosa early favorite to land with 49ers at No. 2

Within the past week, the 49ers sent representatives to the pro days of Alabama, Ohio State, and Kentucky.

The 49ers own the No. 2 overall pick in the draft. If they hold onto that selection, there appear to be only three players who warrant serious consideration:

--Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams met with 49ers general manager John Lynch and vice president of player personnel Adam Peters early in the week in Tuscaloosa.

--On Wednesday, Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa had a late lunch with Lynch and Peters in Columbus.

--Two days later, Kentucky outside linebacker and edge rusher Josh Allen spent some time with 49ers area scout Steve Rubio, who also attended Ohio State’s pro day and dined with Bosa.

None of the top players worked out, each opting to stand on his marks from the testing at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis last month. Williams, Bosa, and Allen are scheduled to make visits to Santa Clara to meet with the 49ers before the draft.

The consensus opinion at this stage appears to be that Bosa will end up with the 49ers. But a lot can happen between now and April 25, when the first round of the NFL draft is held in Nashville.

First, the 49ers can only select Bosa if the Arizona Cardinals pass him up to choose Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray with the No. 1 overall pick.

The 49ers could still entertain the possibility of trading back to acquire more picks, but there would have to be a team willing to pay the price to move up.

[RELATED: John Lynch says free agency set up 49ers for the draft]

While in Columbus, Lynch said the 49ers are still in the preliminary stages of their draft evaluations. He said the team filled holes in free agency, which enables the 49ers to select the player they evaluate to be the best in the draft, regardless of position.

“We’ve done a lot of work on those guys,” Lynch said. “We’ve done a lot of work on the entire draft class, but it really gets hyper-focused now. We’ve condensed a lot of information. Now the coaches come up and we put it all together.”

Kwon Alexander will fill Reuben Foster's void, John Lynch believes

Kwon Alexander will fill Reuben Foster's void, John Lynch believes

49ers general manager John Lynch acknowledged that he signed Kwon Alexander to fill the void left by former 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster, who was released last season. 

In an interview with 49ers.com, Lynch spoke about how he and his staff brought back several familiar faces to the linebackers room. He was also very frank about what the team lost in Foster as a player. 

“Let’s be honest,” Lynch said. “We had a void that we thought we had filled with Reuben Foster. Things transpired there. We had a void there and that stinks but you can’t just sit there and pout, you gotta say ‘OK, let’s do something.'

“We needed a dynamic football player at that position. It’s a very critical position in our scheme and this became the guy. Kwon became the guy that we wanted to be that guy.” 

Alexander has many of the same on-field characteristics as Foster. He’s known as a hard hitter who flies around the field, making players think twice about going across the middle. He may make some mistakes in the game, but his passion and heart are recognized by his teammates. 

“I think what stood out to us with Kwon,” Lynch said, “he’s a dynamic football player. He’s a tone setter. You need tone-setters on your defense. 

“I think he’s a guy that when you watch him, when you talk to people who played against him, people who played with him, he’s exactly that. His type of play running all over the field, hitting people, getting the ball, it’s contagious. We need that.” 

The 49ers' admiration for Alexander grew as they did more research on him. They understand it may take some time before he returns to 100 percent health.

[RELATED: Kwon Alexander overcame tragedy, adversity]

“The more we watched him the more we liked,” Lynch said. “We knew he was coming off an ACL injury but we got comfortable with the medical part and also got comfortable with 'Hey, we are going to wait as long as it takes.' This is a long-term investment. He’s doing very well in his rehab.” 

The staff ideally would like to see Alexander lined up next to Fred Warner, who had a stand-out rookie season. They also brought back Elijah Lee, special teams contributor Mark Nzeocha, and signed ex-Panther David Mayo to a two-year contract to fill out the linebackers room.