49ers

Source: 'Good chance' 49ers GM post down to final two

Source: 'Good chance' 49ers GM post down to final two

The 49ers’ coaching search is down to one candidate.

And that candidate, Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, is scheduled to meet Saturday with two 49ers’ general manager candidates before he takes off for Super Bowl 51 the next day. The 49ers are prohibited from officially hiring Shanahan until after the Falcons' final game, Feb. 5.

A source close to the 49ers’ search said there is a “good chance,” the team will hire Arizona vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough or Minnesota assistant general manager George Paton.

But, the source told CSNBayArea.com, “It’s not a lock.”

On Jan. 2 while discussing the decision to fire coach Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke after the 49ers’ 2-14 season, CEO Jed York said he wanted to match a coach with a general manager from outside the organization to change the culture of the club.

York and Paraag Marathe, the 49ers’ chief strategy officer and executive vice president of football operations, interviewed nine candidates for the general manager post. Only McDonough and Paton remain from that original list. But others could be considered for the GM job if there's a question of chemistry with Shanahan.

Shanahan has never worked with McDonough or Paton. Moreover, Shanahan has minimal or no history with either man, according to sources.

McDonough and Mike Shanahan, Kyle’s father, have spoken often through the years. McDonough is believed to have told the 49ers his No. 1 choice for a coach with whom to be paired was Kyle Shanahan, based on his offensive mastery. McDonough played a role in building the Cardinals’ defense, which has ranked in the top five the past two seasons.

After going 13-3 in 2015, Arizona was one of just two NFL teams that ranked in the top 10 on offense and defense this season. Super Bowl-bound New England was the other.

Falcons coach Dan Quinn appears to be a common thread between Shanahan and Paton. There were reports two years ago Quinn and Paton were attempting to land together as a coach-GM package deal. Quinn and Paton worked together with the Miami Dolphins.

Paton, who has turned down GM interview requests from the New York Jets and Miami in recent years, is also a candidate for Indianapolis' opening, the Colts announced on Wednesday.

Paton has been situated mostly in the pro scouting side during his NFL career. He has worked closely with Vikings general manager Rick Spielman the past 10 years in Minnesota and previously in Chicago and Miami.

In the event Shanahan and the 49ers do not find a match in either McDonough or Paton, ESPN analyst Mark Dominik could become involved.

Dominik has been out of work since being fired as Tampa Bay’s general manager in 2013. The Buccaneers posted a 28-52 record in five seasons while Dominik was on the job. A source told CSNBayArea.com the 49ers have discussed Dominik, but no official interview has been scheduled.

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.