The 49ers must be thrilled to add Mike Solari as their offensive line coach in a move announced Thursday.
Skeptical or curious 49ers fans should know Solari earned high marks from the late Bobb McKittrick, one of the 49ers' most acclaimed assistant coaches from their glory years. Solari coached tight ends and served as assistant offensive line coach for the 49ers from 1992 to 1996. McKittrick died in 2000.
"I went up to visit Bobb when he was sick, and he had worked closely with Mike on George Seifert's staff," then-Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said in 2008. "He just said Mike's a special guy and he was really very impressed with Mike early on."
Back in 2008, when the Seahawks still had enough talent to consider a playoff run, Holmgren viewed Solari's hiring in Seattle as a huge step toward that goal. Injuries doomed that Seattle team, accelerating a rapid decline. That Solari's tenure in Seattle was a disappointment affirmed talent shortcomings without reflecting too negatively on his coaching, in my view. That was my read on the situation based on Solari's reputation around the league and the coaching I've witnessed firsthand at practices.
Solari is a natural fit for the 49ers on several levels. He already knows the NFC West inside and out. His mentality should fit well with the mindset 49ers coach Mike Singletary has instilled in San Francisco. The fact that Solari worked extensively with 49ers offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye in Kansas City stands as another positive for the 49ers.
This move was clearly in the works. The 49ers allowed their line coach, Chris Foerster, to speak with the Redskins about a job on Mike Shanahan's staff. Foerster took that job Thursday and the 49ers announced Solari's hiring within hours. This hiring falls into the no-brainer category.