49ers

Shanahan will keep OC duties, tries to convince Rathman to remain

Shanahan will keep OC duties, tries to convince Rathman to remain

SANTA CLARA – Kyle Shanahan has spent the past nine seasons as an NFL offensive coordinator.

Nothing will change in 2017 in his first season as 49ers head coach.

Shanahan, 37, will call the team’s offensive plays. He will not have an assistant coach under him with the title of “offensive coordinator,” he said on Thursday during his introductory press conference at Levi’s Stadium.

“I plan on calling the plays, which is usually an offensive coordinator’s duties,” Shanahan said. “I don’t think it’s that important to name an offensive coordinator. I didn’t think it was the most important thing right now.

“I don’t know if it’s always going to be like that, but especially in this first year, I think it’s important to set that tone.”

Shanahan said he has yet to finalize the contracts for any of the assistant coaches on his staff. He is expected to bring at least three assistants with him from the Atlanta Falcons, including running backs coach Bobby Turner, and offensive assistants Mike McDaniel and Mike LaFleur.

The addition of Turner leaves the status of long-time assistant coach Tom Rathman in question. Shanahan said he wants to retain Rathman on his staff in another role.

“I talked to Tom today,” Shanahan said. “I made a commitment to Bobby Turner a long time ago that if I got a head-coaching job I was going to take him with me, regardless of where that was. And Bobby is a life-long running backs coach, just like Tom. Bobby is going to come here and be the running back coach.

“I love Tom Rathman. He’s a hero of mine, and I know what kind of coach he is. I’m trying hard to get him to be here in whatever other role he wants. But I know Tom. Tom is a running backs coach. I’m going to try my hardest to keep him here. It’s definitely going to be up to him. But I’m going to have to do some convincing.”

Turner spent 15 seasons on Mike Shanahan’s staff with the Denver Broncos. Kyle Shanahan’s design for the run game run game is based on what his father did with the Broncos’ zone scheme.

Rathman was a fullback with the 49ers from 1986 to ’93, during which time he was a starter on two Super Bowl-winning teams and seven NFC West champions.

He was hired Steve Mariucci’s coaching staff in 1997. He spent six seasons with the 49ers before going with Mariucci to the Detroit Lions for three seasons. He served as Lane Kiffin’s running backs coach with the Raiders in 2007 and ’08.

Rathman returned to the 49ers in 2009, where he has worked under Mike Singletary, Jim Harbaugh, Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly.

Jed York has full trust in John Lynch, Kyle Shanahan despite two losing seasons

Jed York has full trust in John Lynch, Kyle Shanahan despite two losing seasons

PHOENIX – Jed York “mutually parted ways” with Jim Harbaugh after the 2014 season to begin a string of three consecutive years in which the 49ers fired their head coach.

He canned Jim Tomsula after the 2015 season, during which the 49ers won five games.

York went back to work just 12 months later. He pulled the plug on Chip Kelly’s tenure with the 49ers after a 2-14 season as part of an organizational overhaul that included the firing of general manager Trent Baalke.

Yet, things are a lot different after two losing seasons with coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch in charge.

York is actually showing some patience.

Since York signed Shanahan and Lynch to six-year contracts in 2017, the 49ers have won just 10 games. But instead of being on the hot seat after two seasons, Shanahan and Lynch have earned even more confidence from York.

“And I wanted to send the message to them and send the message to our fans, send the message to our players on the roster and potential free agents going forward that these guys,” York said of the six-year contracts.

“We’re probably not going to get it all right in the first year, first two years, but this is something we’re going to try to build and I believe we have a very good foundation. I think the future is bright for us.”

Does York feel as good about Shanahan and Lynch now as he did the day he hired them?

“I feel even better,” York said Sunday at the NFL owners meeting.

York said he has confidence that his coach and GM will continue to work in unison to build the 49ers into a contender. He said his trust in them is borne from watching them work together to formulate their plans for free agency and the draft.

After the 2016 season, York set forth to put together a team in which there was cohesion between the head coach and general manager. The previous coach-GM tandems were often at odds.

Two rough seasons later, York is not disappointed with the Lynch-Shanahan union. He said he is pleased with the chemistry that has been formed.

“I see that in spades,” he said. “It’s just awesome to watch those guys work together.”

York said he was willing to show more patience with Shanahan and Lynch because of the decimated roster they inherited and the realization that there would be a learning period as neither man had previous experience in his respective role.

“You don’t know what you don’t know when you’re in those positions,” York said. “And I think it’s been interesting to watch these guys really come together and show they’re a stronger bond today than what they were two years ago and it’s only getting stronger.”

[RELATED: 49ers were aggressive in pursuit of Odell Beckham Jr.]

York has not exactly exhibited patience during his time calling the shots with the 49ers. But he said something is different with Lynch and Shanahan.

“I have a lot of patience with these guys,” York said. “I think there are reasons we’ve had the records we’ve had the last two years. And I feel very, very good about the team those guys are putting together.”

Jimmy Garoppolo's offseason plan has included rehab, recruiting free agents

Jimmy Garoppolo's offseason plan has included rehab, recruiting free agents

PHOENIX — Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is embracing his role as the leader of the franchise as he looks toward the start of the 2019 season.

49ers CEO Jed York spoke at the NFL owners meeting about Garoppolo like a proud parent.

He has been keeping an eye on his quarterback’s rehab and reports that he sees Garoppolo developing into a true leader. He said the two of them chat regularly.

“I’m not going over film with Jimmy,” York said, “so I don’t think we have to worry about anything from that standpoint. I see Jimmy, whether it’s in the lunch room or if I’m down in the training room or if we’re working out.”

Garoppolo has been working out with 20 to 25 teammates at the club's Santa Clara facility, York said. He is not allowed to throw passes to teammates at the team's training complex, a team spokesman said. Garoppolo has future workouts with his teammates scheduled for the Los Angeles area.

“It’s great to see that,” York said. “The team is really, really jelling and watching them come together as a unit, that’s what you need. It’s not a collection of individuals. It’s a team.”

Garoppolo’s involvement doesn't stop there, though. 

He was very active during free agency, playing the role of recruiter by calling some players the 49ers were interested in.

“I know he called the guys who we were interested in on the first day or so of free agency and expressed his interest in getting guys here,” York said. “I’m fairly certain that he called Kwon (Alexander) during that negotiating window when you can start talking to people.”

York explained that this is a new aspect of Garoppolo’s role as the face of the franchise.

“Those are things that he wants to do,” York said. “That’s where it’s different when you come in and you’ve been a backup, now being the guy. It’s hard when you’re the guy, you’re the highest-paid player, but you’re not playing for (the) team.”

Obviously, York would have preferred to have Garoppolo on the field for the entire season in 2018, but he sees the positives that came from Garoppolo's season-ending knee injury.

“I think he was able to learn a lot of the cerebral things,” York said, “and a lot of the things that come with that leadership position over the last year, which really excites me for him going forward.”

[RELATED: 49ers were aggressive in pursuing Odell Beckham Jr.]

York said Garoppolo is ahead of schedule on his path back to the football field after sustaining a torn ACL in Week 3 against the Kansas City Chiefs. Garoppolo looks as if he has added some muscle to his frame while going through his daily rehab, York said.

“He’s just grinding every single day to get better personally and to get better as a team and understanding how important it is to do those things as a team leader,” York said.