Kyle Shanahan’s coordinators are intact for a fourth straight season, and that makes ideal continuity for a 49ers coaching staff plotting another Super Bowl run.
A year from now, those assistants could land promotions elsewhere, and Shanahan will have to adapt to the NFL’s hiring practices that got revised Tuesday.
The NFL’s quest to diversify coaching staffs and front offices led to these changes:
— Teams can not block an assistant from interviewing elsewhere for a coordinator role, something Shanahan did last year with Mike LaFleur and Mike McDaniel, his pass-game and run-game coordinators, neither of whom expressed a desire to indeed leave his staff.
— Assistant general manager positions are open to pursue for non-high-level, non-secondary executives. Currently behind general manager John Lynch are Adam Peters and Martin Mayhew, vice presidents of player personnel who are both strong candidates to become GMs, as are Ethan Waugh (director of college scouting) and Ran Carthon (director of pro personnel).
— Teams must submit reporting structures for their staffs. Shanahan’s have not been vague, although perhaps more media sessions will ensue with LaFleur and McDaniel, and special teams coordinator Richard Hightower, who are obligated to speak weekly per league rules regarding coordinators; defensive coordinator Robert Saleh is the only one who’s spoken weekly during the season.
Whereas Saleh and Hightower are minority coordinators, Shanahan’s staff is further diversified, including the 2016 hiring of female assistant Katie Sowers. Shanahan and Lynch are midway through six-year contracts, and CEO Jed York said before the Super Bowl he’d consider extending their contracts.
Under the NFL’s new Rooney Rule standards, clubs must interview at least two external minority candidates for head-coach openings, one minority candidate for coordinator vacancies and one external minority candidate for senior football operations or general manager positions. Minorities and female applicants must be included in front-office and other staff searches, as well.
“While we have seen positive strides in our coaching ranks over the years aided by the Rooney Rule, we recognize, after the last two seasons, that we can and must do more,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “The policy changes made today are bold and demonstrate the commitment of our ownership to increase diversity in leadership positions throughout the league.”
A 49ers assistant has left to become a coordinator each of the past two offseasons: Rich Scangarello (Denver Broncos 2019 offensive coordinator) and Joe Woods (Cleveland Browns 2020 defensive coordinator).
Saleh was a finalist for the Cleveland Browns head-coach opening earlier this year. LaFleur and McDaniel attracted interest from the Green Bay Packers and Arizona Cardinals for coordinator roles last year but were blocked from interviewing, because neither job came with a promotion to play-calling duties.
“Both of them could run their own offense right now, probably could have years ago,” fullback Kyle Juszczyk said Tuesday. “… It’s going to be a bummer for us when we lose one of them, They’re going to be really hard to replace because they’re so valuable and important to this offense and contribute so much to what we do as a team.”
The NFL also announced that every team must offer a fellowship program for former players as well as minority and female participants, a practice the 49ers employed for over 40 years in what’s become known as the Bill Walsh NFL Diversity Coaching Fellowship.
This content was originally published here.