NFC West: Vic Fangio

The cynical view from the moment word began to leak well before the season opener that Jim Harbaugh’s coaching career with the San Francisco 49ers was on its deathbed was that Jim Tomsula was the clubhouse leader to replace him.

The pragmatic view was this: Tomsula’s candidacy depended upon his not only having to look for a new defensive coordinator since Vic Fangio would surely depart upon being passed over by a position coach but also Tomsula finding a strong offensive coordinator to right what went wrong with quarterback Colin Kaepernick & Co. this past season.

Perhaps more strange than Tomsula's elevation was the fact it was never revealed that he had a formal interview, in which Tomsula would assuredly be asked his plans for naming coordinators.

So who potentially fits, if Fangio is indeed gone, along with Greg Roman, who left to become Rex Ryan’s offensive coordinator with the Buffalo Bills?

Jason Tarver, the Oakland Raiders' former defensive coordinator whose contract expired this week, is a candidate for the same position with the 49ers, an NFL source confirmed.

Tarver coached with the Niners from 2001 to 2010 as an offensive quality control coach, assistant running backs/offensive assistant and outside linebackers coach. He served with Tomsula for four years and coached a young Patrick Willis before heading to Stanford for a year and then becoming the Raiders' defensive coordinator in 2012.

With degrees in chemistry, biochemistry and molecular biology, the Phi Beta Kappa member was known as a "mad scientist" and "baby genius" for his radical schemes in Oakland.

His Raiders defenses ranked 18th, 11th and 12th overall. Tarver, though, ran a 4-3 base defense in Oakland, and the 49ers have run a 3-4.

Current 49ers secondary coach Ed Donatell could also be a candidate, to at least keep the continuity theme going, as well as linebackers coach Jim Leavitt.

Offensively, Tomsula has been linked to former Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman, who was fired after going 13-19 in two seasons.

Trestman is known for a high-powered passing attack, at least when it works. With the Bears, the philosophy did not. Not with Jay Cutler at quarterback, though the Bears did beat the 49ers in Week 2, the regular-season debut of Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

Before joining the Bears, Trestman was a head coach in the CFL with the Montreal Allouettes. Before that, he had last been in the NFL in 2004 and was the Raiders' offensive coordinator the last time they went to the playoffs, in the 2002 season, and was the Niners' offensive coordinator in 1995 and 1996 under George Seifert.

But if Trestman brings a wide-open offensive attack rather than a ground-and-pound, power running game, that would seem to be counterproductive to the 49ers' current personnel, as witnessed last season while the Niners limped to an 8-8 record.

Former Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan has been linked to the opening in recent weeks, and the Niners interviewed Denver Broncos playcaller Adam Gase for the head-coaching gig. While both have a good reputation for developing quarterbacks, they also have wide-open philosophies. An out-of-box name to keep in mind, then, would be 49ers QBs coach Geep Chryst, who is already intimately familiar with Kaepernick.

Tomsula will be introduced to the media Thursday and is sure to be asked about his philosophies and potential candidates.
With the way the decimated San Francisco 49ers defense has nonetheless kept the team in games this season, coordinator Vic Fangio again ha become a name bandied about as a dark horse candidate for potential head coaching job openings.

And with the 49ers not in the playoffs this season, he would be available to talk sooner than usual. So would he like to go through the interview process, whether somewhere else or in Santa Clara should Jim Harbaugh be shown the door as expected?

“I’ve always thought, first off, wherever there are openings, it’s their opening and if they’re interested, you know, they’ll come to talk to you,” Fangio said Tuesday. “I don’t know. It’s not one of those type of jobs where you put in an application and go through a weeding-out process, you know?

“They know what they want to do most of the time, have a picture of what they want to do. If it fits, it fits. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.”

Asked if he had any idea as to what the 49ers front office is thinking, Fangio shook his head.

“No,” he said. “None. No.”

Six of the eight defensive players on injured reserve were either starters or projected starters.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. –- Justin Smith is entering the home stretch of his standout 14-year career.

He’s just not sure if he’ll return to the San Francisco 49ers for a 15th season…yet.

Smith
“To be honest, I haven’t given it any thought,” Smith said this week. “It will be something I think about after the season.

“Hopefully we can get this thing rolling, get back on track and make a run at it.”

Smith, who plays end in the Niners’ base 3-4 defense, is tied with linebackers Ahmad Brooks and rookie Aaron Lynch for the team lead in sacks with five. The 35-year-old Smith has also taken advantage of having a veteran’s day off on Wednesdays from practice and has been taking Thursdays off as well to keep him fresh.

It’s paying off, though defensive coordinator Vic Fangio insists the breaks are not the difference. Smith being healthy is the key.

“Last year, he was playing with half an arm,” Fangio said. “I forget which arm it was. I think it was his left. This year, he’s playing with a healthy body.

“I actually see a better player than last year because of the health. And I’m sure he’s down a decibel or two from where he was in 2011, but not very much. It would be a shame if he did retire for all of us because he’s still playing at a very high level. I expect him to make the Pro Bowl again, and expect you guys to lead the charge five years when he’s done playing to get him up in Canton.”

Yes, as in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, after five (and counting) Pro Bowls and a first-team All-Pro selection. A partially torn triceps late in 2012 hindered him before he suffered a shoulder injury in training camp in 2013.

This year? As Fangio said, Smith has been healthy. And rested come Sundays.

This weekend, the 7-5 Niners will try to steady themselves against the Oakland Raiders, who have the worst record in the NFL at 1-11.

“I know I’m going against Donald Penn,” Smith said, “and he’s a heck of a football player. Everybody else can take them lightly, but the players in the locker room know what we’re up against.”

And Fangio knows how tough the road would be next season if Smith decides to retire. So he’s already scheming to bring him back.

“If I have to go to Missouri and drink a beer with him, I’ll do that,” Fangio said.

Added rookie linebacker Chris Borland: “I’ll be on the same flight.”

The defense, with Smith leading the charge, is already on the same page.
San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio has a unique history with Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, one that goes beyond their time together with the Indianapolis Colts.

And yet, it might not matter as far as an advanced scouting report goes.

Manning
“Well, I’ve known him since he was a teenager, a young guy back in New Orleans,” Fangio said Thursday. “His dad was involved with the Saints and Peyton used to come around to our practices. Back in those days, there were no OTAs. If you had guys around, you maybe have a little skelly. And some of the times, he was a freshman and sophomore in high school, he came over and quarterbacked in those [scrimmages]. So, I’ve known him a long time.”

Wait, a teenaged Manning used to follow his father Archie to Saints unofficial offseason workouts and throw the ball around with the pros who happened to be in the facility?

“I said, now, there were no formal practices back then,” said Fangio, who was the Saints’ linebackers coach from 1986 through 1994. “OTAs did not exist. It might be 10, 15 guys hanging around. We’d have a little playground-type skelly. Not an OTA that you’re thinking that we have [now].

“I’d say [he was] 14, 15 [years old]. You just knew that he loved football. He was thrilled to be there with some other NFL players, but yet he was focused on the task at hand and he wanted to throw the ball good.”

Their paths crossed again in Indianapolis when Fangio served as the Colts’ defensive coordinator from 1999-2001.

“Vic is an outstanding coach,” Manning said in a conference call with Bay Area reporters on Wednesday. “I enjoyed the [three] years that he and I were together in Indianapolis.

“I used to enjoy talking ball with him and competing against his defenses in practice. It was always very competitive and the different places he’s been, his teams have always been very well coached.”

Fangio recalled a young Manning -- the No. 1 overall pick of the 1998 draft -- being a sponge.

“He would spend a lot of time at the facility,” Fangio said. “I’m talking day and night. Many times, I’d walk by the film room where he was watching tape, he’d pull me in and ask me what the defense was doing here, why they’re doing this or he’d come in my office and ask me. We would always have football conversations.

“He loves football. He really does. He’s 38 years old ... and he still loves the game, loves playing, loves preparing. I’m sure he’s studying just as he always has. He’s a true football junkie.”
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Vic Fangio is finally seeing the Tank Carradine the San Francisco 49ers drafted and he likes what he sees.

Carradine, a second-round pick in 2013, has been working this offseason after not playing last season as he recovered from a 2012 torn ACL. The former Florida State star defensive lineman (he has been working all at spots with the 49ers) was expected to be a top-20 pick before his injury.

Barring a setback, Carradine is expected to vie for significant playing time this season.

"This is the first time where he is physically ready," said Fangio, the 49ers' defensive coordinator, of Carradine. 'I think he is [recovered]. Last year during the season, I never felt he was there. And then there came a point in the offseason where he got better. He had a little cleanup done there [in January]. And it really, he turned a corner then. And his whole demeanor changed, and I think he's healthy now."

49ers coach Jim Harbaugh likes the progress Carradine is making.

"Excited to see him when he gets the pads on and play football in pads because you see the flashes and the strength and the ability," Harbaugh said. "Very excited for where he’s at right now."

Carradine said he is relieved that he is feeling good again. That wasn't the case last year as he struggled to recover as he watched his new teammates play.

"I was worried last year because I didn't feel like myself," Carradine said. "My knee was strong but I didn't feel like myself. I didn't know if I’d ever be the same again."

Carradine did everything a rookie would do but play. He went to meetings, he studied, he bonded with teammates. He asked veterans for pointers. He mentally prepared for the game. Now, it is time for him to get on the field.

 

49ers three-round mock

April, 22, 2014
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I plan on revealing a full seven-round mock draft for the San Francisco 49ers, who have 11 picks, on the day the draft commences.

For now, I am going to take a stab at the team's picks in the first three rounds; no NFL team has more. Yes, these choices are subject to change:

Summary: This is defense heavy, but with needs at cornerback and at pass rush, it may be necessary. Jason Verrett and Stanley Jean-Baptiste would be a strong cornerback combination for now and for the future. Verrett is a strong slot presence and Jean-Baptiste a bigger cornerback. Paul Richardson would fill the need for a speed receiver. Shayne Skov and Trent Murphy would be the first Stanford players taken in the Jim Harbaugh era. Harbaugh and 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio coached Skov and Murphy on the Farm. Skov could help fill in for NaVorro Bowman now and be a piece for the future. Murphy could be a developmental pass rusher to help the team navigate through the Aldon Smith situation. Ward is a potential standout at safety.
Vic Fangio is reportedly going to be paid handsomely for being one of the best defensive coordinators in the NFL.

The Sacramento Bee reported Fangio is adding one year to his deal and he received a raise. A league source said the deal is not official. The 49ers and Fangio have been talking about an extension and a raise for much of the offseason. The 49ers extended the deal of secondary coach Ed Donatell earlier this offseason.

When official, Fangio deal should run through 2015. That is how long head coach Jim Harbaugh has remaining on his deal. Fangio has been with Harbaugh since he came to the 49ers from Stanford in 2011.

Fangio’s defense has been one of the primary reasons why the 49ers have made it to the NFC title game the past three seasons.

Of course, the team has been in extension talks with Harbaugh and they may extend through the offseason.
Jim HarbaughChristian Petersen/Getty ImagesJim Harbaugh has reached the NFC title game in each of his three seasons, so why would the 49ers look elsewhere?

Coach Jim Harbaugh's situation in San Francisco has been one of the most talked-about stories in the league in recent weeks.

If a resolution on his contract isn't reached, it will likely hover over the franchise all season and would be a major story next January, when Harbaugh could leave the team, although Harbaugh told Sports Illustrated this week he is happy with all aspects of his job and doesn’t see any way he will leave the team before the end of his contract. Still, getting the contract done would ease a lot of issues.

We all know the backdrop: Harbaugh has led the 49ers to the NFC title game in all three of his seasons as coach. He got them to the Super Bowl after the 2012 season. He is entering the fourth year of a five-year contract that pays him $5 million per year. Harbaugh and the 49ers have been in discussion about a new deal for about a year, but are not close to an extension. Team owner Jed York recently told the Sacramento Bee he thinks contract talks will resume after the NFL draft in early May.

Things got interesting when the Cleveland Browns pursued a trade for Harbaugh. The 49ers were not interested, but that could change next year.

There have been rampant reports that Harbaugh has had trouble with some in the 49ers' front office, including general manager Trent Baalke. York, Harbaugh and Baalke have long downplayed the friction, indicating that they can coexist.

However, there is enough smoke here to think this situation go could south if a contract isn't agreed upon this year. Let's look at some issues that may be part of this story as it further develops:

The history: While it would be stunning to see the 49ers-Harbaugh marriage disintegrate after such a stellar start, similar breakups have happened before.

[+] EnlargeJimmy Johnson and Jerry Jones
AP Photo/Ron HeflinJim Harbaugh would not be the first successful coach to leave during a team's prime. Jimmy Johnson left the Cowboys after winning two Super Bowls because of fighting with owner Jerry Jones.
After winning two straight Super Bowls, Jimmy Johnson famously left the Cowboys in 1994 after fighting with owner Jerry Jones. Following the 1998 season, Mike Holmgren shocked the NFL when he left quarterback Brett Favre and a Green Bay Packers team in its prime after a seven-year run that included a Super Bowl win. Holmgren left for more power and much more money in Seattle. In 2002, the Raiders traded coach Jon Gruden to Tampa Bay for a massive amount of draft picks. The Raiders were burned as Gruden led the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl win against Oakland in his first season. In 2007, the Chargers sided with general manager A.J. Smith in his feud with coach Marty Schottenheimer even though the Chargers went 14-2 the season before.

If Harbaugh leaves the 49ers, it wouldn't be the first time a coach and team split despite success.

The highest-paid coaches: Harbaugh told Sports Illustrated he is not unhappy with his pay, but the man is underpaid considering his massive NFL success. Nine of the 32 NFL coaches in 2013 made at least $7 million. Only five of them had won a Super Bowl.

I'd think it has to bother Harbaugh that Chip Kelly earned $6.5 million in his first NFL season and NFC West rival Jeff Fisher made $7 million in St. Louis. Coaches' salaries are at a premium and, by NFL standards, Harbaugh is underpaid.

The best coaches without power: He is hypercompetitive and likes to be in control. So, Harbaugh probably isn't always thrilled to defer personnel decisions to Baalke. But I don't sense Harbaugh wanting to be the general manager and making every decision as he said. He is a coach.

I don't see this as a deal-breaker.

There are plenty of great NFL coaches who don't have total power, including Harbaugh's brother, John, in Baltimore. There's also Mike McCarthy in Green Bay, Mike Tomlin in Pittsburgh and Pete Carroll in Seattle. So, a lack of total power in the NFL really isn't a big deal anymore for coaches.

[+] EnlargeDavid Shaw
AP Photo/Matt YorkWould Stanford coach David Shaw be a candidate to follow Jim Harbaugh again?
Where could Harbaugh land? Harbaugh's situation could cause teams to adjust their plans late in the season. I could see many owners prematurely firing a coach to get a shot at Harbaugh if he goes into January unsigned.

But right now, the list of teams that may be making a change next year and may make sense for Harbaugh isn't very long.

Miami and Dallas would be among the biggest suitors. Miami tried to hire Harbaugh before he went to San Francisco. The team has deep pockets, a need for good public relations, and the Dolphins have a good young quarterback in Ryan Tannehill. Dallas has big bucks and Tony Romo. Harbaugh could like both places.

Other possibilities could include both New York teams and Atlanta (coaching Matt Ryan would surely be intriguing). A potential long shot could be Oakland. Harbaugh was an assistant in Oakland and he could stay in the Bay Area. But the Raiders have to find a quarterback and ownership would have to be willing to shell out financially to make it work. Plus, the 49ers would need to get a haul from the Raiders to trade him to their Bay Area rival.

If I had to give odds on the early favorite, I'd look toward Miami.

Who could replace Harbaugh? It's only logical to think that San Francisco ownership, in the back of its mind, is thinking post-Harbaugh just in case.

The chance of getting draft picks for a coach the 49ers can't come to an agreement with could interest the team next offseason. Also, the idea of front-office peace could be at the forefront as well, especially if things go haywire the rest of this year.

The first place the 49ers would likely look to replace Harbaugh is on the current staff. Because the team has been so successful, I could see the 49ers having interest in staying close to home. Offensive and defensive coordinators Greg Roman and Vic Fangio, respectively, would likely be on the 49ers' list. Defensive line coach Jim Tomsula is a favorite of the front office. He was a candidate when Harbaugh was hired and his players love him.

Here's another name the 49ers could look at -- David Shaw. He replaced Harbaugh at Stanford. I'm sure he wouldn't be afraid to do it again.

Shaw has been steadfast in his desire to stay at Stanford. But if he were ever to leave for the NFL, this would likely be an appealing situation. He and his family could stay in their house and he'd go to a near perfect NFL situation with a franchise quarterback in Colin Kaepernick.

There is plenty to unfold in this situation in the next several months. Harbaugh and the 49ers could end it all by coming to a contract extension. But as we have realized early this offseason, it's not that simple.
The NFL head-coaching hiring season is over. The Cleveland Browns were the last team to make a hire when they chose Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine.

The Browns did some investigating of San Francisco 49ers assistants as did some other teams. But in the end, Jim Harbaugh’s staff will remain, virtually the same. Here is a look at some 49ers’ assistants who could get interest in 2015:

Offensive coordinator Greg Roman: He interviewed in Minnesota and at Penn State this month. If the 49ers have another strong season in 2014, I can see Roman being a hot candidate.

Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio: It was reported Washington asked permission to talk to Fangio, but it never interviewed him. Fangio is a fantastic defensive coordinator. He is smart and timely, and he interacts well with his players. He deserves more interest.

Defensive line coach Jim Tomsula: He is a wild card. Tomsula hasn’t been a defensive coordinator in the NFL, but he is well respected. Minnesota interviewed him, and the Browns considered interviewing him. His name will likely be hot next year.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- As he dressed alongside NaVorro Bowman, after another dominant San Francisco 49ers defensive performance that propelled the team to its third straight NFC Championship Game, Patrick Willis looked up.

“This is the greatest sport there is,” the perennial Pro Bowl linebacker said. Bowman smiled and nodded.

[+] EnlargeNaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis
AP Photo/Marcio Jose SanchezLinebackers NaVorro Bowman (53) and Patrick Willis anchor a 49ers defense that has the team competing for the NFC championship on Sunday.
They are arguably the greatest pair of position players in the NFL.

As the 49ers have revisited their glorified past this season under coach Jim Harbaugh, it has been cemented by fierce, take-over defensive play. The team's five Super Bowl trophies may have been won by players like Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and Steve Young, yet their latest run at a dynasty is being paved on the other side of the ball.

It starts with Willis and Bowman.

“They are like two machines in the middle of our defense,” San Francisco rookie safety Eric Reid said.

The two inside linebackers are the heartbeat of the 49ers’ defense, which has shut out opponents in an NFL-high 35 of 78 quarters this season.

The defense is loaded with stalwarts such as outside linebackers Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks, defensive tackle Justin Smith, and safety Donte Whitner, but the personality of this unit starts with Willis and Bowman.

In fact, some believe the duo might be among the best linebacker tandems ever to play.

“They are historically good,” ESPN analyst Matt Williamson said. “They are there with [Jack] Ham/[Jack] Lambert, [Brian] Urlacher/[Lance] Briggs, [Willie] Lanier/[Bobby] Bell. [Willis and Bowman] are a truly rare and elite pairing.”

The 49ers came across this historic pairing unexpectedly. They drafted Willis, who will turn 29 later this month, with the No. 11 overall pick in the 2007 draft. He was considered a can’t-miss prospect out of Mississippi and has been first- or second-team All-Pro in his first six NFL seasons.

When the 49ers drafted Bowman three years later, they were just hoping to get a capable potential starter. He was taken in the third round out of Penn State in 2010. Running back Frank Gore recalls seeing Bowman as a rookie in camp and knowing the 49ers might have found the perfect complement to Willis.

“Even in training camp, OTAs, I just saw how fast he was,” Gore said. “How he could read and get to the ball. We have the same agent (Drew Rosenhaus) and I called my agent and I said, 'Man, you've got somebody right here, man. That’s a good pickup for you to represent.' "

Still, Bowman’s success was not instant. Harbaugh's staff came in 2011. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio told his new defense that only Willis and Justin Smith were guaranteed a spot. Everyone else had to go earn it. Bowman listened.

“No, because he really didn’t play much the year before,” Fangio said, when asked if he had big expectations for Bowman in 2011. "And all through that offseason, that was the lockout year, there was kind of an assumption that Takeo Spikes was going to come back here. And NaVorro probably would have been in the same role. In retrospect, it’s a good thing that Takeo didn't come back here because he would have been beaten out by NaVorro.”

Once Bowman, 25, got on the field, he and Willis instantly clicked. Both have been among the league leaders in tackles, and they have a unique chemistry. While Bowman was an All-Pro last season, he has taken his game to the next level as Willis dealt with hand and hamstring injuries early in the season.

Bowman, who came up with the 49ers' play of the year when he saved the final game at Candlestick Park in Week 16 by returning an interception 89 yards for a touchdown against Atlanta, is a candidate for the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award. Willis fully supports his younger teammate. Asked about Bowman's candidacy, Willis said “he has my vote.”

Perhaps what makes this combination so strong is that they are as in sync off the field as they are on it. They each had 11 tackles, tying for a team-high (Willis also had an interception), in the 23-10 win Sunday against Carolina that sent the 49ers to the NFC title game against Seattle. They conducted their postgame news conference together. Willis, a country kid from Tennessee, and Bowman, who hails from a high-crime area in Maryland just outside Washington, D.C., both are quiet by nature, and neither is overly flashy off the field. Bowman said the key to their success is discipline in the study room.

“We are students, we are in school,” Bowman said. “We learn every day.”

The 49ers will be counting on them for the long haul. Willis is signed through 2016 and Bowman through 2018, and Harbaugh knows these two are a key to the team’s success.

“The teamwork, the respect that they have for each other, the love, is shared by many people on the team,” Harbaugh said. "And that, as a coach, there’s nothing that makes you feel as good as to hear that. That’s the team, the team, the team. And it’s genuine. It’s not talk."

Neither is the impact of Willis and Bowman on the 49ers' success.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Carlos Rogers is missing practice for the fifth straight practice with a hamstring injury.

Rogers
The San Francisco 49ers cornerback said Thursday that he hopes to play Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. However, he must practice if he is going to play. San Francisco defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said he doesn’t expect Rogers to play against the Panthers if he doesn’t practice. That means Rogers must practice Friday before the 49ers fly to North Carolina.

Rogers has been running this week.

“I have to be smart,” he said. “I don’t know if I will be ready, but I am trying.”

All indications are that if Rogers can’t play, Perrish Cox will be the nickel cornerback. He played virtually the entire game at Green Bay over veteran Eric Wright. Fangio said the team went with Cox, who was signed earlier in the week, because he had a better week of practice than Wright.

Rotational defensive tackle DeMarcus Dobbs (knee) returned to practice after missing Wednesday’s session.

In other 49ers notes:

Fangio said he has had no contact with any teams about a head-coaching job. ESPN reported that the Redskins were interested in him. However, they hired Jay Gruden on Thursday.

Offensive coordinator Greg Roman called talk that he interviewed for the Penn State job “speculation.” The school reportedly will hire Vanderbilt coach James Franklin. Roman’s name has also been attached to the open Minnesota Vikings job.

In an Insider piece, Matt Williamson thinks 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick could be a weak link at Carolina. He certainly was the last time these two teams played. But will it happen again?

ESPN Stats & Information has a matchup to watch in the game.
Monday, San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh talked about the possibilities of losing some assistant coaches.

Mangini
Mangini
49ers’ offensive coordinator Greg Roman, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and defensive line coach Jim Tomsula are getting in head-coaching openings. Now, another member of Harbaugh’s staff could also attract interest.

Last week, the Miami Herald reported 49ers’ senior offensive consultant Eric Mangini could be a candidate as the Miami Dolphins’ general manager should then team make a change. Tuesday, the Dolphins announced they are mutually parting ways with general manager Jeff Ireland. Thus, now that Ireland is out, perhaps the Dolphins will show an interest in Mangini.

Last month, I spoke to Mangini, the former two-time NFL head coach, about his role in San Francisco and his future. He said he is open to anything in the future and enjoyed this season working with the 49ers.

I got the sense Mangini is enjoying being back in the game and is open to new things. So, perhaps if the Dolphins do pursue him, moving into the front office could appeal to him.

Losing Mangini, who has been helpful for the 49ers, would be less complicated for the 49ers than the three above-mentioned coaches because he isn’t in charge of a specific area and he has been with the team just a short period of time.
Jim Harbaugh's NFL coaching tree appears to be blossoming.

Sunday, Harbaugh became the third NFL coach (along with his brother John and Barry Switzer) to win a playoff game in his three seasons as a coach, and Monday, an expected development came to fruition as teams began to ask permission to talk to San Francisco assistants for head-coaching jobs.

Harbaugh
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Minnesota and Washington asked permission to interview offensive coordinator Greg Roman and that Washington asked permission to talk to defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. ESPN reported last week teams were doing background checks on defensive line coach Jim Tomsula. Monday, Harbaugh confirmed that the team has heard from other teams on all three men.

While this could mean Harbaugh will have to make big changes to his staff after the season, he seemed prideful that his assistants are getting noticed.

"Those guys are great coaches, all of them," Harbaugh said. "There's nobody that's got a better staff, in my humble opinion, than we do here ... Amazing staff. You wonder sometimes why it's taken this long. But, people are looking for coaches that ... if you want the one-year flash, sometimes seems like people hire that. But, here when you look at Greg Roman, Vic Fangio, Brad Seely, Jim Tomsula, and others that we have on our staff that are consistently good year after year, I think that's special. That's something special. And, I would be surprised if somebody's not hired as a head coach."

The favorite of the three to land a job this year is probably Roman, but it is not out of question that teams sit down with Fangio and Tomsula and get blown away by their knowledge and approach. While the focus in San Francisco is the playoffs, the changing of Harbaugh staff is certainly a story worth monitoring.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The arctic conditions awaiting the San Francisco 49ers in the wild-card round at Green Bay is the theme of the week.

The game-time temperatures are expected to be as low as minus-20. However, it's not the weather per se that has 49ers coaches concerned. It's the field conditions.

“To me it all depends upon what the footing's like,” said San Francisco defensive coordinator Vic Fangio when asked if the weather could affect the game plan. “It could be just a normal game that's played at a little slower pace. Or it could be where there's a lot of slipping and sliding going on then you have to adjust a little bit. You need to wait to see Sunday exactly see how the field affects the game.”

Added 49ers' offensive coordinator Greg Roman: “I think the number one thing is what condition will the field be in, even more than the weather. Both teams play in the weather, but how's the wind and what's the field like? That can certainly affect your decision making.”

Carlos Rogers doesn't practice

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Thursday, there was optimism that cornerback Carlos Rogers would practice in preparation for Sunday’s playoff game against Green Bay.

Rogers
San Francisco 49ers' defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said Thursday that the thought was Rogers would try to practice. However, during the short window while the media was able to watch, Rogers was working on a side field with a member of the strength team, and was not wearing practice clothes.

Rogers suffered a hamstring injury Sunday at Arizona. Both Rogers and Fangio said this week that the injury is not bad as initially thought.

A decision on Rogers’ availability might not happen until Sunday. Possible replacements include Eric Wright, Tarell Brown and Perrish Cox.

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