Steve Mariucci

Former 49ers coach Steve Mariucci laments T.O's absence at induction

Former 49ers coach Steve Mariucci laments T.O's absence at induction

Terrell Owens chose to commemorate his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday at his alma mater, the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. His second NFL head coach wished he hadn't.

Steve Mariucci, who now works as an analyst for NFL Network, coached the wide receiver with the San Francisco 49ers from 1996-2002. He said Owens deserved enshrinement into the Hall of Fame, but added he would have liked to see Owens take in the festivities from Canton, Ohio. 

"I only wish he were here with his family and friends, enjoying all of this emotion and praise and honor, and everything that he just won't be able to get in Chattanooga," Mariucci said on NFL Network's broadcast.  "But, he was appreciative. He was a great player, ... My last three years in San Francisco were his best years in the National Football League. He was first team All-Pro. He was such a dominating player. He had such big shoes to fill [for] Jerry Rice, and he did just that. So, congratulations to T.O. I wish you were here. Hopefully, next year you'll show up and enjoy it so these players can get to know you better."

Mariucci coached Owens longer than any other NFL coach, and told Niners Nation in 2016 that Owens' numbers left "no doubt" he belonged in the Hall of Fame. 

Owens doesn't seem to share the same feelings for his old coach. In January, he tweeted that Mariucci was the "absolute worst" coach he played for during his 15 years in the NFL.

Mariucci: Now, 49ers can build around Garoppolo

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USATSI

Mariucci: Now, 49ers can build around Garoppolo

The 49ers’ rebuilding project gained its most important piece with the late-October trade that delivered quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo from New England, former 49ers coach Steve Mariucci said.

Appearing on The 49ers Insider Podcast, Mariucci, now an analyst with the NFL Network, said the team is in a better position for next season than it would have been if a top rookie -- such as USC's Sam Darnold, UCLA's Josh Rosen, Wyoming's Josh Allen or Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield -- were to be drafted as the quarterback of the future.

“There’s clarity with at least one position in the building,” Mariucci said, “and that’s not to say C.J. Beathard doesn’t have a career in the National Football League. I believe he does. But, right now, it looks like Jimmy Garoppolo is the guy. And he’s a good guy. And he’s a worker. And he’s ready to do this.”

With back-to-back victories since Garoppolo took over the starting job from Beathard, the 49ers are currently in the No. 3 position in the draft. The 49ers can look to fill other positions now that quarterback is no longer a priority.

“With Jimmy Garoppolo, he’s so much further along than those young kids, having sat behind Tom Brady in New England and throwing the ball so much at Eastern Illinois,” Mariucci said. “He comes further along than any rookie ever will. And so that’s why it was such a good, solid move.”

Garoppolo has completed 66.7 percent of his pass attempts, averaged 9.0 yards per attempt with two touchdowns and two interceptions and a 92.7 passer rating since joining the 49ers.

“And the style of quarterback he is is a good fit for Kyle Shanahan’s offense,” Mariucci said. “You can move him around with some play-action, keeps and movements. He can extend plays with his legs. He’s not the quite the same athlete as Russell Wilson, but he’s still very mobile. He can do most everything.

“I just like the whole thing. It makes a lot of sense. Now, they can build their team around him.”

Mariucci: Lynch will not repeat mistakes of Millen

Mariucci: Lynch will not repeat mistakes of Millen

HOUSTON – Steve Mariucci has experience working as a head coach with a general manager who came straight from the broadcast booth after a lengthy playing career.

“Yes, I do,” Mariucci told CSNBayArea.com.

Mariucci knows why things went so poorly when Matt Millen took over as the Detroit Lions’ top football executive in 2001. And he also believes John Lynch has the temperament and self-awareness to avoid those mistakes in his role as 49ers general manager.

Two years into the job, Millen fired Marty Mornhinweg as head coach and hired Mariucci shortly after the 49ers were eliminated in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs.

Mariucci went 15-28 before Millen fired him after 12 games of their third season together.

Millen lasted seven seasons, during which time the team compiled a 31-81 record. Moreover, with a roster comprised mostly of players Millen acquired, the Lions went 0-16 the season after Millen was fired.

There are two major differences, as Mariucci sees it, in the comparison of Millen and Lynch, who is also coming directly from working as a TV analyst.

“Matt made all of the decisions,” Mariucci said. “John will listen.”

Lynch does not figure to make all of the decisions with the 49ers. It will likely be a collaborative effort with the 49ers under Lynch’s direction that will include much influence from presumptive coach Kyle Shanahan and newly hired vice president of player personnel Adam Peters.

“The only thing he doesn’t have is experience,” Mariucci said of Lynch. “But he’ll gain it as he goes. He’s one of those guys, if he doesn’t know something, he’ll ask. And he’s got a lot of friends in the business, and he’ll be a quick study.

“He’s a great worker. He will do whatever it takes. He’s one of those guys who won’t look at the clock. He’s going to say, ‘This needs to get done’ or ‘I need to learn this, and I’m going to leave no stones unturned.’ He’s got that in him. That’s why I believe in John Lynch.”

The 49ers announced the firings of coach Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke shortly after the conclusion of a 2-14 season, which included a franchise-worst 13-game losing streak.

Shanahan was involved in the process to hire Lynch as general manager on Sunday. Shanahan also took part in interviews last weekend with Arizona vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough and Minnesota assistant general manager George Paton while the Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator had a break in his preparations to face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 51.

“I don’t know Kyle as well as I know his dad,” Mariucci said of Shanahan. “But I know he’s good at what he does. He’s one of those guys who grinds and works. He’s been around it long enough to see how an organization should function.”

Lynch and Shanahan will both receive six-year contracts, sources told CSNBayArea.com. Shanahan will become the fourth 49ers coach in four seasons, following Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly, who both lasted only one year apiece.

“They’re giving them long-term contracts, which I think they need, because this is not a quick fix in San Francisco,” Mariucci said. “It’s going to be a gradual process. That’s what Chip Kelly understood it was going to be – a gradual process.

“They didn’t spend a lot of their $42 million in salary cap space, so they got to spend that and draft and acquire the right personnel. And that will happen over time.”