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GRANT COHN: What Greg Roman needs to be coaching timber

  • Greg Roman's use of tight end Vernon Davis has brought him criticism. (Associated Press)

We're in a football lull right now, but the 49ers are always in season.

So, let's dissect their most recent move, signing their promising offensive coordinator, Greg Roman, to a two-year extension through 2015.

Roman is a good offensive coordinator. From 2011 to 2012, the 49ers' offense ranked third in rushing yards and ninth in points per game.

Jim Harbaugh thinks Roman is great. This offseason he told Yahoo! Sports, “He's basically revolutionized offense as we know it.” Move over, Bill Walsh and Sid Gillman and Mike Shanahan, because Harbaugh says Roman already has surpassed you.

Roman has expressed interest in being a head coach, but he's not one yet. Most media members believe an NFL team will hire Roman to be their head coach sooner than 2015. Some insiders expected Roman to become a head coach this past offseason.

Eight teams had head-coaching vacancies, but none hired Roman. He was available for head-coaching interviews during the 49ers' playoff bye week, but none of those eight teams interviewed him. After the bye week, NFL rules prohibited teams from interviewing Roman until the 49ers lost in the playoffs, which happened in the Super Bowl, and no team wanted to wait around that long to hire a head coach. That's what he claims.

“It's a little bit of irony,” Roman told Yahoo! Sports, “the more you win the less chance you have of getting those jobs.”

Is he correct?

Here are nine coordinators who were hired to be head coaches right after they went to the Super Bowl: Mike Shanahan, Bill Belichick, Norv Turner, Romeo Crennell, Ray Rhodes, Dave Wannstedt, Buddy Ryan, Ted Marchibroda and Bill Arnsparger.

If you're good enough, teams will wait for you.

Apparently Roman is not yet good enough, nor is he a student of history.

What performance-based issues could NFL teams have that made them wait and see on Roman?

Here are five.

1. He's a running-game coordinator. The 49ers generously call Roman their offensive coordinator, but he's really their running game coordinator. He draws up the running plays and game-plans the rushing attack every week. John Morton, the wide receivers coach, is the passing game coordinator. He draws up and game-plans the passing plays. And quarterbacks coach Geep Chryst is the red zone coordinator. He draws up and game-plans the offensive plays in the red zone.

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