- Bill Williamson, ESPN Staff Writer
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SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The San Francisco 49ers made a curious addition to their program this offseason when they hired two-time former NFL head coach Eric Mangini as an offensive consultant.
Mangini, who spent the past two seasons as an ESPN analyst, is a defensive specialist. However, he was brought in to help the offense deal with defenses. So far, the arrangement seems to be working.
Thursday, San Francisco offensive coordinator Greg Roman raved about Mangini. He credited Mangini for his help in the team’s 34-28 Week 1 victory over Green Bay. Listening to Roman talk, it appears Mangini has a bigger role than his title might suggest. He’s part of the mix, not just an occasional voice.
“He’s been great,” Roman said of Mangini. “Very, very thorough work put in, really on us and the opponent. And he contributed to the game plan last week, as he will every week. And during the game, he’s in the booth with us, helping us upstairs, helping communicate what’s going on and what just happened or whatnot between series. So, he’s doing a great job.
"Oh yeah, he’s part of our staff. And he’s up there, eyes on the defense, and between series we’ll get together and talk.”
Smart people do smart things. That’s what head coach Jim Harbaugh and company did by bringing in Mangini.
By working with the offense, he is giving the unit a strong feel on opposing defenses and how to exploit them. Mangini thinks like a defensive coordinator, but now from an offensive viewpoint. This could become a bigger trend in the NFL -- or put Mangini back on the map for a bigger role in the future.