49ers Rumors

49ers Notes: Shanahan, Lynch, Garoppolo

The trade that sent Jimmy Garoppolo from New England to San Francisco has turned out to be one of the most important swaps in recent NFL history, with Tom Brady‘s former backup set to start in Super Bowl LIV. Despite other suitors believed to be in the mix for Garoppolo in 2017, Bill Belichick alerted Kyle Shanahan he was willing to part with the former second-round pick for a second-rounder. The 49ers quickly accepted but did so after initially being willing to offer the Patriots more for the then-fourth-year passer, Seth Wickersham of ESPN.com reports. But Belichick, despite previous refusals to trade Garoppolo, was not posturing when he indicated he would take a Round 2 pick for his contract-year quarterback.

It ended up costing the 49ers only the No. 43 overall selection in 2018 to land their starting quarterback. While this process was murkier on the Patriots’ end, it helped the 49ers construct a rebuild that has them in their seventh Super Bowl.

A week away from the 49ers’ Super Bowl matchup with the Chiefs, here is the latest out of San Francisco:

  • Going back to when this rebuild began, Shanahan did not mince words about the state of the 49ers during his interview for their top coaching job. Early in the then-Falcons OC’s 2017 interview, he told team CEO Jed York the roster left over from the Trent Baalke era at that time was “horrible,” Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area notes. This led to a gradual rebuild that did not get far off the ground before this season, with the 49ers going 10-22. But York was on board with the process, viewing 2019 as the first real season on which the Shanahan-John Lynch regime could be judged, Maiocco adds. York gave the HC-GM duo six-year contracts because of the team going through three coaches in three years from 2014-16.
  • Lynch’s hire came about because he cold-called Shanahan with an offer to pair with him in San Francisco, Wickersham adds. A recommendation from Mike Shanahan, who coached Lynch in Denver, helped seal the deal for his son. Lynch had spoken at length with Kyle Shanahan on the phone in preparation for games he would call as a broadcaster, per Wickersham, and hoped for a chance to return to football. Shanahan did not have much familiarity with the other finalists for the 49ers’ GM job — Vikings assistant GM George Paton and Cardinals VP of player personnel Terry McDonough — and the decision to hire a GM out of the broadcast booth has helped the 49ers return to the Super Bowl.
  • Despite dealing with a dislocated shoulder that induced pain preventing him from walking off the field last weekend, Tevin Coleman has received good news about his status for Super Bowl LIV.

Latest On 49ers RB Tevin Coleman

Tevin Coleman suffered a dislocated shoulder during the NFC Championship Game, but with two weeks to recover, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan previously said that there’s a “good chance” the running back plays. Coleman himself provided an update on Thursday, telling NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco that he’ll absolutely play if he’s cleared.

“I feel good,” Coleman said. “Still working, still trying to get my range of motion back. Just listening to the doctors and trying to get back…It’s weak. I’m not all the way there.

“I’m still working with the doctors and see what they tell me, listening to them and see how I feel next week…I’m going to try my best to get out there and play. This is the Super Bowl. I don’t want to sit out for that.”

Coleman also provided some more details on the injury, noting that his shoulder was out of its socket for nearly 30 minutes. The 26-year-old said the pain was so intense that he couldn’t walk, requiring the use of a cart. The running back also noted that he’d prefer to play without any type of harness, as he predictably doesn’t want his movements to be restricted in anyway.

While Coleman is a major part of the 49ers offense, the team is lucky to have incredible depth at the position. While Raheem Mostert and Matt Breida out-gained Coleman on the ground this year, the former Falcon still rushed for 544 yards and six touchdowns.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers Making "Late Push" To Keep Joe Woods

  • Joe Woods is the favorite to become the Browns defensive coordinator, but the 49ers won’t let that happen without a fight. Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune tweets that San Francisco is making a “late push” to retain their defensive backs coach/passing game coordinator. Woods has coached in the NFL since 2004, and he served as the Broncos defensive coordinator between 2017 and 2018.

49ers Hopeful For Tevin Coleman Super Bowl LIV Return

Tevin Coleman left the NFC championship game early, but the 49ers expect he will be ready to play in Super Bowl LIV.

Kyle Shanahan described the running back’s dislocated shoulder as being of the Lethal Weapon variety, with staffers able to pop Coleman’s ailing shoulder back into place (via Matt Barrows of The Athletic, on Twitter). While this process was quite painful for Lethal Weapon 2-era Martin Riggs without the threat of any tackling, Shanahan expects Coleman to have a “good chance” to suit up for his second Super Bowl.

I don’t want to speculate too much, but usually a week to rest it and usually gets back in and I expect him to have a chance to play,” Shanahan said Monday. “Can’t hold me to that. We’ll find out more, but I expect him to have a good chance to play.”

The 49ers have thrived on the ground despite their highest-paid running back, Jerick McKinnon, missing a second straight season. While Raheem Mostert and Matt Breida out-gained Coleman on the ground this year, the former Falcon rushed for 544 yards and six touchdowns this season. He returned from a high ankle sprain earlier this season but missed much of the 49ers’ historically dominant rushing day Sunday.

Mostert’s 220 rushing yards rank second in NFL playoff history, and Breida averaged 5.1 yards per carry during the regular season. San Francisco’s second-ranked rush offense may have the option of all three backs facing the Chiefs, however. Coleman gained 35 scrimmage yards and caught a touchdown pass in Super Bowl LI.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns To Hire Joe Woods?

49ers defensive backs coach Joe Woods is on track to become the Browns’ next defensive coordinator, sources tell ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). All that remains, Schefter hears, is figuring out a contract. 

The Browns, reportedly, were down to Woods and incumbent Steve Wilks as of last week. Today, the Browns told Wilks that he’s out, as Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com tweets. Barring something unexpected, Woods will get the job.

Woods, 49, has history with new Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski  – Woods was a Vikes assistant between 2006-2013. All in all, Woods comes with 16 years of NFL coaching experience for five different teams. Before he hooked on as the Niners’ LBs coach, he spent four years with the Broncos, including two as their DC.

While Woods’ two Broncos defenses were solid, the 49ers’ rise from 23rd to second in pass-defense DVOA has obviously been key to the NFC No. 1 seed’s success. The 49ers’ Richard Sherman-led secondary has become a much better unit compared to last season, when Sherman did not play at a Pro Bowl level. Woods also oversaw the Broncos’ dominant No-Fly Zone secondary that helped the team to a championship in 2015, working under Wade Phillips.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns Hire Chad O’Shea As WR Coach; Latest On OC/DC Search

The Browns have hired former Dolphins OC Chad O’Shea as their new WR coach and passing game coordinator, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports. O’Shea lasted one year in Miami and drew some criticism for installing an overly complex offense, and he was recently fired in favor of spread offense guru Chan Gailey.

But despite the talent limitations on Miami’s offense, the team did perform reasonably well down the stretch and actually ranked in the top-10 in passing offense and top-15 in scoring offense after Ryan Fitzpatrick reentered the starting lineup in Week 7. As such, O’Shea’s dismissal came as something of a surprise, though recent reports indicated that, while he is an excellent receivers coach, he is not a great coordinator.

O’Shea spent 10 years as the Patriots’ WR coach, so he comes to Cleveland with plenty of experience. He will also have a great deal of talent to work with, and he will be tasked with continuing to get the most out of Jarvis Landry while also helping Odell Beckham Jr. return to prominence. As passing game coordinator, he will also help develop game plans for Baker Mayfield, who struggled in his sophomore campaign but who still has plenty of potential.

As for the Browns’ vacant offensive coordinator post, Rapoport says the team has interest in 49ers passing game coordinator Mike LaFleur and run game coordinator Mike McDaniel. Cleveland had some interest in both men for their head coaching post but never requested interviews with them. The Browns may not request OC interviews either, because San Francisco is unlikely to grant such requests. The Browns may also go without an official OC given new head coach Kevin Stefanski‘s offensive prowess.

Unlike LaFleur and McDaniel, 49ers passing game coordinator/defensive backs coach Joe Woods is not under contract through 2020, so he can join the Browns if he so chooses. We recently heard that Cleveland had narrowed its defensive coordinator search to Woods and incumbent Steve Wilks, though Rapoport says Wade Phillips remains a possibility as well.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Packers Activate S Raven Greene From IR

The Packers made one final transaction before Sunday’s NFC Championship matchup against the 49ers. Green Bay activated safety Raven Greene from the injured reserve, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN. Greene was placed on injured reserve after hurting his ankle in a Week 2 matchup against the Vikings. The Packers had one open spot remaining on their 53-man roster so no corresponding move was necessary.

It is unclear whether Greene will play a prominent role in his first game since Week 2, but he will give defensive coordinator Mike Pettine another option to deploy against the 49ers potent offense. Prior to the injury, Greene had played a hybrid safety/linebacker and had received starter’s reps. In fact, he did start in Green Bay’s first game of the season before coming off the bench in Week 2.

In just his second professional season, Greene has appeared in 10 games amassing 12 tackles, one for loss, two passes defended, one sack, one quarterback hit, and one forced fumble.

Fine Updates: Simmons, Fisher, Williams, Bosa

The NFL will not fine Titans defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons for conduct during Tennessee’s 28-12 victory in the divisional playoff round, according to Jamison Hensley of ESPN. After the contest, Ravens offensive guard Marshal Yanda accused Simmons of spitting on him during the contest. Per Hensley, the NFL found no evidence to substantiate those claims.

For what it’s worth, Simmons did not deny spitting on Yanda when he was asked about it on Wednesday. Had the NFL prooved that Simmons had indeed spit in his opponent’s face, he would have been subject to an unsportsmanlike conduct fine of $14,037.

A few other players were unable to avoid hits to their checkbooks:

  • Chiefs offensive tackle Eric Fisher went viral online after he celebrated by pouring beer over himself during Kansas City’s divisional round victory over the Texans. While the NFL shared Fisher’s celebration on its official Twitter account, it appears the NFL’s marketers and executors of the codes of conduct are not on the same page. Fisher was fined $14,037 by the league on Saturday, when the league announced this week’s round of fines, according to Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk.
  • Fisher was not the lone Chiefs player to receive a fine for a celebration, running back Damien Williams received a $10,527 fine for taunting, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com. After he scored his third touchdown in last week’s game, he placed the ball directly in front of a Texan defensive lineman, which cost the team a fifteen-yard penalty and now will cost Williams more than ten thousand dollars.
  • Defensive end Nick Bosa was fined $28,025 for an illegal blindside block in the 49ers 27-10 victory over the Vikings in last week’s divisional round, according to Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk. Normally a defensive player would not be subject to such a fine, but after his defensive teammate, Richard Sherman, intercepted one of Kirk Cousins passes, Bosa got overzealous in a block on offensive tackle Brian O’Neill that forced O’Neill to leave the game for a couple of series.

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/15/20

Today’s reserve/futures deals:

Baltimore Ravens

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

  • DB DaShaun Amos

Houston Texans

Minnesota Vikings

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

49ers Add T Leonard Wester On Reserve/Futures Deal

Leonard Wester agreed to a Jaguars deal in April but did not end up playing this season. The veteran tackle will have a chance to return to action in 2020. The 49ers signed him to a reserve/futures deal Tuesday.

A Division II success story out of Missouri Western, Wester caught on with the Buccaneers and played three years with the franchise in a mostly reserve capacity. The 6-foot-6 blocker started one game in 2018 and appeared in 27 from 2016-18 with the franchise.

The Jaguars cut the 27-year-old lineman after the preseason’s conclusion, doing so after the Bucs non-tendered him as a restricted free agent. Wester played a career-high 116 snaps in 2018; he caught a touchdown pass in 2017.

The 49ers have their starters in place, in Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey, and drafted Justin Skule in the 2019 sixth round. They are also carrying second-year tackle Jaryd Jones-Smith on their practice squad. Wester retains practice squad eligibility.