SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- We have a somewhat surprising new name to add to the five coaching candidates who already have interviewed for the vacant San Francisco 49ers head coaching position -- former New York Giants longtime coach Tom Coughlin.
Here’s an updated look at the six prospective candidates as the Niners have requested permission from the Giants to interview Coughlin, who resigned last week after 12 years with the team.
Tom Coughlin: At 69 and turning 70 before the start of next season, Coughlin is older than either Mike Holmgren, 67, and Mike Shanahan, 63, and neither of those two have been granted interviews by the Niners, so yeah, he’s an intriguing candidate. He does meet the criteria of being a veteran coach -- he’s been a head coach either at Boston College, with the Jacksonville Jaguars or the Giants every year but two since 1991 -- and has a championship pedigree with two Super Bowl rings in New Jersey. Beyond that, Coughlin, who also has interviewed with the Philadelphia Eagles, has a connection to Niners general manager Trent Baalke’s mentor, Bill Parcells. The Niners could do worse than to hire Coughlin as a “bridge” coach to settle down the football side of things in Santa Clara, though the Niners would be revisiting a fourth coaching search since 2011 in that event, and where’s the stability there?
Hue Jackson: The man in charge of the No. 15-ranked offense in the NFL this past season spent five hours interviewing with the Niners on Sunday and then more time interviewing with the Cleveland Browns before calling it a night without an offer from either team, according to the NFL Network. Now, the New York Giants want to get involved with Jackson. It’s called leverage and right now, Jackson, 50, seems to have all of it. And here’s something else to chew on: If Marvin Lewis pays for the Bengals’ playoff meltdown with his job, might Jackson be the logical candidate to ascend as Cincinnati’s head coach?
Chip Kelly: The former Philadelphia Eagles coach met with the 49ers on Thursday, and he could be the most intriguing candidate given the way he might be able to use quarterback Colin Kaepernick in his wide-open offense. Then again, wouldn’t the Tennessee Titans be a better fit for Kelly, 52, given his previous relationship with Marcus Mariota at Oregon? The addition of Coughlin, though, would seem to signal that the Niners are not all that interested in Kelly.
Anthony Lynn: The Buffalo Bills assistant head coach/running backs coach interviewed with the Niners on Thursday. The Bills had the No. 1 rushing offense in the NFL this season, averaging 152.0 yards per game, and while Lynn, 47, may not really be seen as a top candidate, he might be in line for an assistant position. What would that mean for longtime running backs coach Tom Rathman?
John DeFilippo: The Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator interviewed on Friday. He has been a coordinator for only one year and the Browns were 25th in total offense, but they did drop 481 yards, including 230 on the ground, while racking up 28 first downs against the 49ers on Dec. 13. And while he may be a long shot, DeFilippo, 37, has cut his NFL assistant teeth as a quarterbacks coach, working with the likes of JaMarcus Russell, Mark Sanchez, Terrelle Pryor, Derek Carr and Johnny Manziel. So you think he’d be intimidated by the prospect of dealing with Colin Kaepernick? Maybe DeFilippo, who is from CEO Jed York’s hometown of Youngstown, Ohio, finds a home as the Niners offensive coordinator.
Dirk Koetter: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator interviewed with the Niners on Saturday in what may have been more of an informational sitdown given that Koetter, 56, is seen as the natural successor to the fired Lovie Smith in Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers had the No. 5-ranked total offense in the league last season, and Koetter has a history of working with quarterbacks, from Blaine Gabbert with the Jacksonville Jaguars to Matt Ryan with the Atlanta Falcons to last year’s No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston in Tampa Bay.