49ers

Kyle Shanahan, 49ers look to fill two vacant spots on offensive staff

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AP

Kyle Shanahan, 49ers look to fill two vacant spots on offensive staff

MOBILE, Ala. – Coach Kyle Shanahan has filled out his defensive staff, but he is still contemplating the moves he must make to finalize the list of 49ers offensive assistants.

“Even though it was unfortunate to lose two good coaches on offense, I do look at it as an opportunity to see if we can improve in any other areas,” Shanahan said Tuesday at the Senior Bowl.

“(But) it’s going to be tough to get guys specifically who are better than those two.”

Former quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello is the new offensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos under coach Vic Fangio. And former assistant offensive line coach Adam Stenavich is the new Green Bay Packers offensive line coach under first-year coach Matt LaFleur.

Initially, the 49ers denied the Broncos permission to speak with Scangarello. The 49ers denied passing game coordinator Mike LaFleur and run game coordinator Mike McDaniel opportunities to be non-playing calling offensive coordinators of other teams.

“I needed more time to talk about it,” Shanahan said of immediately filing the paperwork to deny the Broncos permission to interview Scangarello.

“The initial reaction (was) I don’t want to lose good coaches, at all, and you don’t have to. But it’s very tough to keep a coach back when he’s getting a huge promotion. It’s a tough position that we’re in because I want to do right by people, always. But my No. 1 job is to do what’s best for the 49ers. That’s what you got to always think about, and losing good coaches is not what’s best for the 49ers.”

Shanahan said he spoke with Fangio and Broncos general manager John Elway to be assured that Scangarello had a strong chance to get the job and his role would constitute a promotion. The 49ers informed the Broncos they could interview Scangarello, and he was hired last week.

Teams are allowed to deny assistant coaches under contract for any job that is not an opportunity to be a head coach.

The 49ers dened LaFleur opportunities with Green Bay and Minnesota. Although Mike LaFleur would have worked for his brother with the Packers, Shanahan said it was more difficult to deny Minnesota because it was a better job. Matt LaFleur will call the plays in Green Bay.

The club denied Arizona from speaking with McDaniel. New Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury will call the plays.

“It wasn’t a promotion,” Shanahan said of those jobs. “Mike and Mike, I gave them the coordinator title before the year started. That’s what they do for us. They are under contract, so that one was a very easy one for me.

“I listen to every one. I would not feel guilty or bad. I know the situation they’re in here and what we’ve done together for a long time. I know how important they are here and what they do here. Why would I let them go do that for someone else?”

Mike LaFleur and McDaniel will be presented with contracts for one-year extensions in the offseason. If the coaches sign the extensions, the 49ers again would have the opportunity to deny them the possibility of assistant coaching positions with other teams next offseason.

In the meantime, LaFleur and McDaniel will run the offense this week and share in the play-calling for the South squad at the Senior Bowl. Both assistants are also candidate to replace Scangarello as the team’s quarterbacks coach. Shanahan noted the 49ers have two strong in-house candidates.

He also has the option of considering other coaches from outside the curent staff.

The 49ers have made two changes to their defensive staff. Former Denver defensive coordiantor Joe Woods replaces Jeff Hafley, who takes over as Ohio State's co-defensive coordinator. Kris Kocurek takes over as defensive line coach. The 49ers fired Jeff Zgonina when Kocurek became available after the Miami Dolphins fired their coaching staff.

Neither Woods nor Kocurek are in Mobile this week. That was a perk Shanahan said he gave them to help convince them to sign with the 49ers.

“That was part of my recruiting for them,” Shanahan said. "I threw that out there before they said yes. If they’d said yes (immediately), I wouldn’t have thrown that out there."

NFLPA votes to recommend no preseason games for 49ers, 31 other teams

NFLPA votes to recommend no preseason games for 49ers, 31 other teams

Will we be seeing any 49ers preseason games in 2020?

The NFL Players' Association doesn't want to participate, as it voted unanimously to recommend there be no preseason games this season in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

As ESPN's Dan Graziano notes above, the NFL reportedly wants to cut the preseason in half by eliminating Weeks 1 and 4. If that ends up being the case, the 49ers will open the 2020 preseason against the Raiders at Levi's Stadium on Aug. 21.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Apprehension on the part of the players is understandable given the ongoing off-the-field issues playing out across the country. Cases of the novel coronavirus have spiked around the nation as states began reopening, with many opting to reverse course and pause the process, including in California.

There is palpable risk for anyone going back to work or traveling across state lines, especially with how many individual people are necessary to the operation of even a preseason NFL game, with or without fans.

[RELATED: NFL rumors: 49ers' Raheem Mostert requested pay raise this offseason]

However, players on the bubble of rosters benefit greatly from the opportunities afforded to them in preseason games, as starting lineups rarely get more than a quarter of action -- if that -- in three out of the four games.

Losing two preseason games or even four will be a detriment to those players fighting for roster spots, but clearly the health and safety of players, coaches and all the other staff involved in an NFL gameday should take precedent.

49ers' Kendrick Bourne 'likes' tweet about David Njoku trade rumors

49ers' Kendrick Bourne 'likes' tweet about David Njoku trade rumors

Kendrick Bourne just wants to see the 49ers offense be the best that it can be.

After NBC Sports Bay Area's Brian Witt published a story Friday arguing that San Francisco should make a trade and pair Njoku with All-Pro tight end George Kittle, Bourne was one of the hundreds who "liked" the tweet (screenshot H/T Brian Witt).

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Njoku requested a trade from the Cleveland Browns on Friday, his agent confirmed to ESPN's Adam Schefter. His frustration likely comes from Cleveland's decision to sign tight end Austin Hooper to what currently is the largest salary at the position (Kittle is expected to change that) and that the Browns selected a tight end in the fourth round of this year's NFL draft (Florida Atlantic's Harrison Bryant).

Njoku has one more season remaining on his initial rookie contract. Cleveland already has exercised his fifth-year option for 2021, when he'll make just over $6 million in base salary.

[RELATED: Tom Brady's Joe Montana, Jimmy Garoppolo connection made him 49ers villain]

Kittle's contract situation likely will keep the 49ers from making any major investments for the time being, as the tight end's new deal is expected to reset the free-agent market at the position.

The Browns' reported asking price of a first-round pick would make this a quick conversation for general manager John Lynch, who hasn't shown much willingness to part with any high draft picks in years past.

Nevertheless, fans will continue to clamor for anyone who can help make coach Kyle Shanahan's offense one of the NFL's best.