49ers

Source: 49ers GM post down to three candidates

Source: 49ers GM post down to three candidates

The 49ers are expected to fill their vacant general manager position early this week, a source with knowledge of the search told CSNBayArea.com on Sunday.

Team executives Jed York and Paraag Marathe, along with presumptive head coach Kyle Shanahan, met with Minnesota assistant general manager George Paton and Arizona vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough in Atlanta.

The search also includes a third candidate with whom Shanahan is believed to be comfortable working, according to another source. ESPN analyst Mark Dominik has widely been speculated as an individual who could emerge in consideration for the 49ers’ general manager position. The 49ers have discussed Dominik, a source said last week, but there has been no formal interview.

Dominik and Shanahan overlapped for two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2004 and ’05, when Shanahan was the team’s offensive quality control coach. Dominik worked as director of pro scouting for the Buccaneers from 1997 to 2008. From 2009 until he was fired at the conclusion of the 2013 season, Dominik served as Tampa Bay's general manager. The Buccaneers were 28-52 in Dominik’s five seasons as GM.

Paton took part in an informal dinner Friday evening with Shanahan and the 49ers representatives. Paton and Shanahan interviewed at length on Saturday. Based on the extended period of time he spent with Shanahan, Paton appears to be a favorite. Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn worked with Paton with the Miami Dolphins and is believed to have recommended Paton to Shanahan.

Paton is also one of six individuals who interviewed with the Indianapolis Colts to replace general manager Ryan Grigson. The Colts' search ended on Sunday when the club announced the hiring of Kansas City director of player personnel Chris Ballard for the job.

McDonough interviewed with the 49ers and Shanahan after Paton’s meeting ended on Saturday.

The source said the 49ers could have a new general manager in place by the middle of the week.

York announced the firings of coach Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke shortly after the 49ers’ final game on Jan. 1. The 49ers tied the organization’s lowest win total with a 2-14 record, including a franchise-worst 13-game losing streak.

The 49ers are prohibited from officially hiring Shanahan, Atlanta’s offensive coordinator, until the Falcons finish the season on Feb. 5 against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 51.

Shanahan spoke with Paton and McDonough in the face-to-face meetings about how much control in personnel the positions would wield – both contractually and functionally, according to a source.

The source said Shanahan has never insisted on control over the team’s roster but wants a voice in all personnel decisions. The 49ers are expected to enter the offseason with approximately $80 million in salary cap room. The 49ers also have a scheduled 10 draft picks, including the No. 2 selections in each round. The 49ers are also expected to pick up a compensatory selection.

How Seahawks' Russell Wilson beat 49ers' pass rush with play-action

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AP

How Seahawks' Russell Wilson beat 49ers' pass rush with play-action

The 49ers got to Russell Wilson in Monday night's 27-24 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

Wilson was sacked a season-high five times at Levi's Stadium, posting his second-worst passer rating of 2019 (86.9) and a season-low 43.6 QBR. He also threw his second interception of the season and fumbled for the first time since Week 4. 

Yet Wilson did just enough to remain effective in spite of that pressure, showing why he is an MVP frontrunner when he led the Seahawks to their game-winning field-goal drive in overtime. Wilson also employed plenty of misdirection to keep the 49ers' dominant pass rush at bay, according to NFL Next Gen Stats. 

On the season, the 49ers have pressured QBs on 29.7 percent of dropbacks. That 17 percent pressure rate on play-action plays would be 30th-best in the NFL if extended over a full season, just behind the Cincinnati Bengals (17.1 percent) and just ahead of the Oakland Raiders (15.9 percent). 

For reference, those two teams have combined for five fewer sacks (30) than the 49ers have all season. 

Wilson's play-action success could give opposing teams something of a blueprint, and that could trip up the 49ers in their own division down the stretch. In addition to playing the Seahawks once more, the 49ers also will play the Los Angeles Rams in Week 16 at Levi's. Rams coach Sean McVay loves using play-action, and the Rams were far more efficient last season on play-action passes than traditional ones. The Rams have taken a step back this season and the 49ers kept LA's offense in check in Week 6, but play-action remains a big part of the Rams' offense and the 49ers will have to be ready for it.

[RELATED: 49ers ready to focus on Cardinals after tough Seahawks loss]

It doesn't stop with the Seahawks and Rams. Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray is known for his play-action abilities, too, while Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers also have been better in play-action this season. The 49ers play Green Bay and Arizona in each of the next two weeks. 

San Francisco has a difficult slate of QBs remaining on its schedule, including ones who succeed where Wilson did Monday night. That's one additional area the 49ers will have to shore up down the stretch. 

49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo's 'bad night' surprised NBC Sports' Peter King

49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo's 'bad night' surprised NBC Sports' Peter King

Despite the 49ers not suffering their first loss until Week 10, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo hasn’t exactly set the world on fire with his play in 2019.

He has done enough to lead his team to victories in all but one game this season, but the 49ers haven’t had to ask much of their signal-caller thanks to a dominant defense and a highly-potent running game.

His first chance to make a statement against a great team in prime time didn’t go as expected, as Garoppolo was just above a 50 percent completion percentage and had his worst QB rating (66.2) of the year in Monday night’s 27-24 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

"At one point, I remember looking up at the TV, and I said, 'I cannot remember Jimmy Garoppolo playing with happy feet like this,'" King told Mike Florio and Chris Simms of Pro Football Talk. "Look, this is whatever, like his 18th NFL start, so we don't really know him yet, but that was a bad night for Jimmy Garoppolo and for 49ers fans who want to love him, who want to have faith in him."

The 49ers might have fallen in the team’s first true test of 2019, but there are plenty of worthy opponents on the horizon for San Francisco.

[RELATED: Why 49ers fans should be optimistic after loss to Seahawks]

After hosting the Cardinals in Week 11, San Francisco will take on Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in a recently flexed matchup on "Sunday Night Football," followed up by trips to Baltimore and New Orleans in consecutive weeks.

So there will be ample opportunity for Jimmy G and his squad to rebound in front of a prime-time audience.