S.F. des­per­ately needs to hire leader who can re­vive mori­bund at­tack

San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition - - SPORTING GREEN - By Eric Branch

The 49ers re­ceived two pieces of great news Wed­nes­day when the Bron­cos hired Mi­ami de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Vance Joseph as their head coach and the Bills did the same with Carolina de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Sean McDer­mott.

The trans­ac­tions mean the 49ers, who had some level of in­ter­est in both coaches, will be forced to go of­fen­sive as they be­gin a re­build that will hinge on their abil­ity to iden­tify and groom a young quar­ter­back.

Bar­ring an un­fore­seen devel­op­ment, the 49ers’ next head coach will have an of­fen­sive back­ground.

With Joseph and McDer­mott off the board — and Wash­ing­ton of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Sean McVay (to the Rams) and Buf­falo of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor An­thony Lynn (to the Charg­ers) get­ting new jobs Thurs­day — the 49ers’ three known

re­main­ing can­di­dates are Seat­tle of­fen­sive line coach Tom Ca­ble and of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tors Josh McDaniels (New Eng­land) and Kyle Shana­han (At­lanta).

Ca­ble is sched­uled to in­ter­view Sun­day, but none of the three can be hired un­til his re­spec­tive team is elim­i­nated from the play­offs. .

The 49ers, of course, hired of­fen­sive-minded Chip Kelly last year and fired him af­ter a 2-14 sea­son.

So what will be dif­fer­ent with the next of­fen­sive hire? The new head coach won’t work with gen­eral man­ager Trent Baalke, whose pro­longed inat­ten­tion to the 49ers’ skill po­si­tions helps ex­plain why they’ve ranked 31st in to­tal of­fense the past two sea­sons and don’t have a young, in-devel­op­ment quar­ter­back on the ros­ter.

In other words, the next head coach, un­like Kelly, won’t be doomed to fail — at least in the­ory.

Con­sider the 49ers scored the fewest points (238) in the NFL in 2015 and Baalke did lit­tle to bol­ster the life­less at­tack for Kelly. In free agency, Baalke signed one of­fen­sive starter, guard Zane Bea­dles, a re­place­ment for Alex Boone, and then came last year’s head­scratch­ing draft. The 49ers didn’t se­lect a quar­ter­back, run­ning back or wide re­ceiver un­til the sixth round.

It was, in many ways, a typ­i­cal draft for Baalke. Af­ter as­sum­ing gen­eral­man­ager du­ties in 2010, he drafted six de­fen­sive backs in the first three rounds and five play­ers from these po­si­tions: quar­ter­back, run­ning back, wide re­ceiver and tight end.

Nin­ers CEO Jed York ref­er­enced the odd mar­riage the day af­ter fir­ing Kelly and Baalke.

“In my vi­sion of Chip and Trent work­ing to­gether, I think it’s clear that Trent prob­a­bly has more of a de­fen­sive mind,” York said. “You know, pair­ing him with an of­fen­sive­minded guy, hav­ing those guys be part­ners and work­ing to­gether and be­ing able to scout play­ers that fit Chip’s sys­tem and be­ing able to do things that build a de­fense …”

The new regime pre­sum­ably will place an em­pha­sis on up­grad­ing an of­fense that hasn’t wowed the NFL in more than a decade. The 49ers, Ti­tans and Dol­phins are the only teams that haven’t ranked among the league top 10 in ei­ther points or yardage in the past 13 sea­sons.

It’s a galling statis­tic for a fran­chise whose fiveSu­per Bowl dy­nasty was built on of­fen­sive in­no­va­tion. And it’s why Hall of Fame quar­ter­back Steve Young has called for the team to hire a head coach who can reignite what fu­eled the glory days.

“Please don’t bring in a de­fen­sive guy into San Fran­cisco,” Young said on KNBR last week. “Don’t bring in an of­fen­sive guy to Pitts­burgh. Don’t bring in an of­fen­sive guy to Chicago. It’s just, there are places that have a her­itage and it just doesn’t res­onate.”

It ap­pears Young will get his wish given the 49ers’ re­main­ing can­di­dates.

The 49ers are the only team still seek­ing a head coach af­ter the Rams made McVay, 30, the youngest head coach in mod­ern NFL his­tory and the Charg­ers hired Lynn.

It could be set­ting up as an ideal sit­u­a­tion for the 49ers in the opin­ion of for­mer NFL quar­ter­back Chris Simms, who has ties to McDaniels and Shana­han.

Simms played for Den­ver in 2009 when McDaniels was the Bron­cos’ head coach. He then worked un­der McDaniels as a low-level New Eng­land of­fen­sive as­sis­tant dur­ing an 18-month stint that be­gan in 2012. Simms spent 2004-05 in Tampa Bay with Shana­han, who was an of­fen­sive as­sis­tant.

“To me, when you talk about of­fen­sive minds in foot­ball, it’s (New Or­leans head coach) Sean Payton, Josh McDaniels and Kyle Shana­han,” said Simms, an an­a­lyst for CBS and Bleacher Re­port. “I would say those are the three guys at the top of the list for my money right now.”

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