The 49ers anticipated all of the changes to their coaching staff this offseason except for when quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello accepted the offensive coordinator position at the University of Kentucky.
Coach Kyle Shanahan countered that unexpected departure with a surprising move of his own.
Brian Griese started 83 games over 11 NFL seasons as a quarterback. He spent the previous 13 years as an analyst on ESPN, including the past two on "Monday Night Football."
Although he never coached, Griese told some people in Denver he was interested in the 49ers’ job vacancy. That word was relayed to Shanahan, who gave Griese a call and set up an interview.
“I deal with the quarterback a ton,” Shanahan said at the NFL Annual Meeting in Palm Beach, Florida. “(Offensive passing game coordinator) Bobby Slowik deals with the quarterback a ton. We’re always working with the quarterback.
"I thought it was neat to bring in somebody who could bring something a little bit different. We kind of have a partnership in there, where we can all offer a little bit different stuff.”
Griese played five seasons (1998 to 2002) with the Denver Broncos when Mike Shanahan was head coach. Kyle Shanahan developed a relationship with Griese during two seasons together with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Shanahan served as an offensive quality control coach on Jon Gruden's staff.
“I personally think he was the smartest football player I’ve been around, the way that he prepared, how organized he was,” Shanahan said of Griese. “He’s as detailed of a guy I’ve ever been around. And I thought he could bring something different to the quarterback position.”
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What Griese can bring to young quarterback Trey Lance is the experience of playing in the NFL, and an ability to relate to the experiences he will encounter after taking over for Jimmy Garoppolo as the 49ers’ starter.
“I love that Trey has someone that has been through the battle,” Shanahan said. “I can tell him about it and what I’ve seen with guys, but someone who’s actually had to go through the ups and downs and that pressure, having a good game, then throwing a pick that loses the next game, how to deal with the media, how to deal with an NFL season.
“It’s hard to find a player always that’s done it at such a high level that’s willing to go through that commitment and stuff, and Brian seems all on board.”
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