Cable, Harbaugh and challenges that await

Kevin from Sylmar, Calif., thought Jim Harbaugh and the San Francisco 49ers should have shown up on John Clayton's list featuring coaches most affected by the lockout.

Mike Sando: I had the same thought and mentioned it to John when we spoke on the phone Friday. He was looking beyond the obvious head coaching changes for situations that might not have gotten as much consideration this offseason.

Seattle Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable showed up on the list. He's installing new terminology for the running game while trying to break in two rookie starters and a young center, Max Unger, coming off an injury-shortened season.

The 49ers would be my choice within the division simply because they have so many new coaches. They also have more talent overall than Seattle, however, and I suspect Harbaugh will get more from that talent than his predecessors even coming off a lost offseason.

Both of these teams will commit to the running game through young offensive lines. The 49ers are ahead of the Seahawks in this regard. They have an elite running back if Frank Gore is healthy. Their starting offensive line returns pretty much intact. They have a Pro Bowl tight end.

Let's put it another way: Would you rather be in Cable's position or in Harbaugh's position heading into this season, regardless of salaries?

I wouldn't expect immediate results from either, particularly if the lockout drags on. They are not alone in the NFC West. The Arizona Cardinals have a new defensive coordinator, Ray Horton, while the St. Louis Rams have a new offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels.

Cable arguably inherits less ready-made talent than any of them, although the team does expect quick contributions from right tackle James Carpenter, guard John Moffitt and one of the most promising young tackles in the league, Russell Okung.