49ers block offensive assistants from interviewing with other teams

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The 49ers will not lose a key member of their coaching staff next week.

On Friday, the team denied the Denver Broncos’ request to interview 49ers quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello, according to ESPN. The Broncos wanted to interview Scangarello for their vacant offensive coordinator position. But the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement allows teams to bar assistant coaches from interviewing for other team’s assistant coaching jobs.

ESPN initially reported the Broncos would hire Gary Kubiak to be their offensive coordinator, and pair him with head coach Vic Fangio, whom the Broncos hired on Jan. 9. But Kubiak reportedly backed out when the Broncos instructed him to hire young position coaches he didn’t know well.

Scangarello, 46, has been the 49ers quarterbacks coach since 2017 — he came to the 49ers with head coach Kyle Shanahan. That year, Scangarello identified quarterback Nick Mullens as a talent when Mullens left Southern Mississippi, urged the 49ers to sign him as an undrafted free agent and refined Mullens’ skill set the past two years.

On Oct. 31, 2017, the 49ers traded for Jimmy Garoppolo, and Scangarello prepared him to play and taught him the 49ers offense in just one month. Garoppolo won all five of his starts.

In 2018, Garoppolo tore his ACL in Week 3 during a 38-27 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Five weeks later, Mullens made his NFL debut, started the 49ers’ final eight games and posted a quarterback rating of 90.8 — second best among quarterbacks in 2018 who had made 16 or fewer starts during their careers.

Only Baker Mayfield, the top draft pick in 2018, had a higher quarterback rating than Mullens among quarterbacks who had less than a full season of starting experience. Mullens’ shocking success speaks well for Scangarello’s ability to identify talent and develop passers.

Scangarello grew up in Roseville and began his coaching career at UC Davis in 1998. From 2012 to 2014, he was the offensive coordinator for Northern Arizona, then left in 2015 to join the Atlanta Falcons as an offensive quality control coach under Kyle Shanahan, their offensive coordinator at the time.

In 2016, Scangarello became the offensive coordinator at Wagner College, a small school in Staten Island, New York which plays football in Division I FCS (formerly Division I-AA). That season, Wagner’s offense scored an impressive 26.1 points per game under Scangarello’s direction. The season before he arrived, Wagner scored just 14.3 points per game. He made a giant impact.

Since Scangarello joined the 49ers in 2017, he has coached quarterbacks Brian Hoyer, C.J. Beathard, Garoppolo and Mullens. Hoyer and Beathard struggled, but Garoppolo and Mullens played well and are two of the most intriguing young quarterbacks in the NFL. They boost Scangarello’s resume.

Scangarello is not the only 49ers assistant who’s in demand.

On Thursday, the 49ers denied the Arizona Cardinals’ request to meet with run-game coordinator Mike McDaniel for their offensive coordinator vacancy. The Cardinals fired head coach Steve Wilks on Dec. 31, and replaced him with former Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury, who has yet to fill out his staff.

Like Scangarello, McDaniel came to the 49ers in 2017 with Shanahan. McDaniel also worked with Shanahan on the Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Browns, Washington Redskins and Houston Texans.

Those two have worked together for 11 seasons. McDaniel is 35 — four years younger than Shanahan.

In 2018, despite losing starting running back Jerick McKinnon before the season began, the 49ers rushing attack under McDaniel gained 1,902 yards — 13th most in the NFL.

He and Scangarello cannot leave the 49ers until they receive requests for head coaching interviews. The 49ers can’t block those.

Notes

On Friday, the 49ers fired head athletic trainer Jeff Ferguson, who had been with the organization since 2006. This move comes one week after the 49ers fired strength and conditioning coach Ray Wright, who came to the 49ers in 2017 with Shanahan and GM John Lynch.

“Following a thorough evaluation,” Lynch said in a statement, “we have determined that now is the right time for a reboot in the structure and protocols of our health and performance areas. On behalf of our entire team, Kyle and I would like to thank Ferg and Ray for the dedication and passion they brought to the 49ers organization.

“We would like to specifically recognize the contributions Ferg has made to the 49ers over the last 13 years, as he was always ready to extend a caring hand to our players, staff and their families. Both he and Ray are tremendous people whom we respect deeply.”

The 49ers finished the past two seasons combined with 34 players on the injured reserve list.

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